Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
For many patients with severe aortic stenosis, a condition where the aortic valve does not fully open or is narrowed often due to a build-up of calcium, open heart surgery has been the only option. However, some patients are not candidates for surgery, and face living with a potentially fatal condition.
Scott & White now offers a non-surgical alternative for patients with aortic stenosis called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). TAVR is a less invasive technology that allows the physician to place a new aortic valve in the patient’s heart while it is still beating.
The Edwards SAPIEN Valve is the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) therapy approved for use in the U.S. and is designed to replace a patient’s diseased aortic valve without the need for open-heart surgery or the use of a heart-lung machine. The valve was approved by the FDA in November of 2011 as a therapy for adult patients with severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis who have been told by physicians they are not candidates for traditional open heart surgery.
How the TAVR procedure is performed
During the procedure, a collapsible aortic heart valve is placed into the body by a catheter that is inserted through the leg and threaded up to the heart. With the use of imaging technology, the physician is able to thread the catheter up through the femoral body, ensuring proper placement. Once the catheter reaches the heart and diseased valve, the Edwards SAPIEN valve is expanded with a balloon, opening up the heart valve. The catheter is then retracted, leaving the balloon and leaving the aortic valve open and functioning.
Features of the Sapien TAVR valve
- Flaps of tissue (valve leaflets) that open and close to regulate blood flow in one direction are drawn onto the balloon-expandable stainless steel frame.
- During the procedure, the valve is compressed to the approximate diameter of a pencil and then delivered through the body.
- Once in place, the valve is intended to function like a normal, healthy valve and control blood flow.
While TAVR offers an alternative to open heart surgery, the procedure is not appropriate for everyone. Talk with your cardiologist or heart surgeon to determine if this is the right treatment for you.