Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive treatment for aortic valve stenosis, a a condition that occurs when the heart’s aortic valve narrows through calcification. Aortic stenosis reduces or blocks blood flow to the rest of the body. The TAVR procedure is a preferred alternative to open-heart aortic valve replacement surgery, according to James Wu, MD, Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute.
“TAVR is ideal for older patients and those who can’t tolerate surgery. These patients usually go home the next day, or within 24 to 48 hours, whereas open-heart surgical patients are here for five days,” Wu says. “TAVR patients can also go back to normal activities of daily living within one to two weeks, compared to a much longer recovery period for postsurgical patients that can last anywhere from six weeks to two months.”
TAVR is also increasingly being done in younger and low-risk individuals. It is important to have a discussion about durability, ease of procedure and potential need for future procedures with the heart team.
“We have performed more than 1,500 TAVR procedures since the inception of the program in 2012,” says William Combs, MD, interventional cardiologist at Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute.