Incisionless valve replacement(TAVR)
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), is a procedure used to replace the aortic valve in the heart without any incisions. The aortic valve controls the flow of blood from the left ventricle into the aorta, which then distributes oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. When the aortic valve becomes narrowed or diseased (aortic stenosis), it can reduce blood flow and lead to symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
How is the procedure performed:
TAVR is a significant advancement in cardiac surgery because it allows for valve replacement without the need for traditional open-heart surgery, which requires a large incision in the chest and the use of a heart-lung machine. Instead, TAVR involves the use of a catheter to implant a new valve. Instead of making incisions on the chest the surgeon inserts a catheter into a blood vessel and threads it through to the heart, guided by X-ray and echocardiography. The new artificial aortic valve is compressed and mounted on a catheter. It is positioned within the existing aortic valve. The new valve is deployed using a balloon or a self-expanding mechanism. It pushes aside the diseased valve leaflets and takes over the function of the aortic valve, allowing for better blood flow.
TAVR is recommended for individuals with severe aortic stenosis. It was initially intended for patients considered high-risk or inoperable candidates for traditional open-heart surgery. In recent years, the indications for TAVR have expanded to include intermediate-risk patients and lower-risk patients in certain cases.
– No incision: Result in less pain and quicker recovery..
– Faster recovery: Many patients can leave the hospital within a few days.
– As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved with TAVR, including the potential for complications during the procedure and the need for follow-up care and medications.
Types of TAVR Valves:
– TAVR valves come in various designs, including balloon-expandable and self-expanding valves. The choice of valve may depend on factors such as the anatomy of the patient’s aortic valve and blood vessels.
-The recovery period for TAVR is typically shorter than for traditional surgery, and most patients can return to their normal activities within a few days to weeks.
TAVR has revolutionized the treatment of aortic stenosis, providing a less invasive option for patients who were previously considered too high-risk for open-heart surgery. The decision to undergo TAVR is made based on the individual patient’s health, anatomy, and the specific circumstances of their aortic valve disease. Patients should have a thorough discussion with their surgeon to determine the most suitable treatment option. Dr.Nikhil says, “Though the risks in TAVR might not be that different than open surgery, the recovery is mind bogglingly fast!!!.”