TAVR is a treatment procedure for patients with aortic stenosis who are too ill to undergo traditional open-heart aortic valve replacement surgery. During a TAVR procedure, your doctor replaces your diseased aortic valve with a new valve. Instead of opening your chest, your doctor uses a catheter (small tube) to thread the valve through a small incision in the groin or the chest wall. During this procedure, your heart remains beating the entire time. Studies have shown that patients achieve better outcomes when they undergo a TAVR procedure than they do with medication alone.
Evaluation for TAVRThe first step is to complete a TAVR Assessment, so we can gather information about your heart health. Once the TAVR Assessment is complete, the TAVR team will be able to review your case and make a recommendation. You will not receive a new valve during the TAVR assessment. We will call to schedule you for either an office visit or a cardiac catheterization. During this visit, you should bring a list of your medications. Your assessment will include:
- Questions for you about your everyday life, what you can and cannot do for yourself, your living situation, and your heart symptoms.
- Medical checkup during which a doctor or nurse practitioner will ask you questions about your heart and your health.
- Cardiac surgeon consultation to review your chart and examine you to determine a best recommendation for conventional aortic valve replacement, TAVR or medications.
- Questions from you and your family about your treatment options.
Making a decisionOnce your TAVR Assessment is complete, the team will discuss all the information we have about you, your heart and your general health, to make a recommendation about the best treatment option for your severe aortic stenosis. If you and your physician decide you will have a TAVR procedure, you will need the following tests:
- Cardiac Echocardiogram (Echo): This ultrasound of your heart provides information about your heart valves and how well your heart functions.
- Cardiac Catheterization (Angiogram): A cardiologist will perform this test to study the function of your heart and heart valves and to measure pressures within the chambers of the heart.
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE): If the doctors need more information after your cardiac echocardiogram, you will be scheduled for a TEE, a more detailed echocardiogram that uses the esophagus to look at your heart.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: This painless 30-minute test uses X-ray technology and computers to give your doctors information they need about your heart and/or your leg arteries.