Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

A New Type of Heart Valve Repair

Until very recently, most patients across the United States had only one option for repair of a heart valve: open heart surgery. Though this option saves lives, many patients cannot have this surgery because they are too weak or sick, for example.

Open Heart Valve

The new procedure is called “Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement,” or the TAVR procedure. It was approved for use by the Federal Drug Agency (FDA) in late 2011.

During the TAVR procedure, a team of experts replaces the heart valve using highly advanced techniques and equipment.

“TAVR” is short for Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement. “Aortic” refers to the main artery in the heart. “Trans-catheter” refers to using small tubes, or catheters, to thread very small surgical tools to reach the heart. Specialists who perform this procedure include cardiac, or heart, surgeons and interventional and non-interventional cardiologists.

"Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Implantation," or TAVI, is another common name for the same procedure.

A team of specialists including cardiac surgeons and cardiologists work together to diagnose, treat and provide on-going care for each patient. The UNC REX structural heart team was among the first in the nation to provide the TAVR procedure.

Who Needs the Advanced TAVR Procedure?

Aortic stenosis, or aortic valve stenosis, is a heart condition where the opening of the aortic valve is too narrow. This valve is in the major blood vessel of the heart. Most patients who have aortic stenosis need to have the valve replaced.

To replace the valve, open heart surgery is still the first choice for most patients. But for those who cannot have open heart surgery, the TAVR procedure is the latest and most advanced option. It some cases, it is the only option. So the team at Rex Healthcare is proud to be the first to offer it to our communities.

Learn more about open heart surgery at UNC REX Healthcare.

Causes of Heart Valve Disease

Aortic stenosis, or aortic valve stenosis, is a heart condition where the opening of the aortic valve is too narrow. The aortic valve is in the major blood vessel of the heart. With a narrow valve, the heart must pump much harder than normal to get blood throughout the body.

Closed Heart Valve

Some people are born with aortic stenosis. Others develop it later, after strep throat or scarlet fever. These illnesses can lead to rheumatic fever, which in turn causes this heart condition.

Aortic stenosis is not a common condition, but more men have it than women do. Over time, the condition makes the heart muscle weaker, and some people with the condition feel dizzy or tire easily. This is when the valve needs to be replaced, either through open heart surgery or through the TAVR , or the Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement, procedure.

Diagnosing Aortic Valve Stenosis

Symptoms of aortic valve stenosis include:

  • Becoming out of breath
  • Having chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Feeling weak, or a strong
  • Rapid heartbeat

Doctors might hear a heart murmur when using a stethoscope.

Doctors diagnose the condition in a variety of ways:

  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG, ECG (electrocardiogram)
  • Exercise stress test
  • Heart catheterization
  • MRI
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)

Replacing the heart valve can cure patients with this condition.

Procedure Information

Watch the demonstration videos below to get a better understanding of how the TAVR procedure is performed using the Edwards SAPIEN Valve.

TAVR Procedure Transfemoral Animation

In this animated demonstration, watch the Transfemoral Deployment of the Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve in the Calcified Aortic Valve.

Edwards SAPIEN Valve Deployment via Fluoroscopy

In this Clinical B-roll footage, you can see the deployment of the Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve during a TAVR procedure.

TAVR - Advanced Heart Valve Replacement at Rex Healthcare

Dr. Lance Landvater of Rex Cardiothoracic Surgery Specialists discusses the new trans-catheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure now being done at UNC REX Hospital in Raleigh.

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Joy recalls how the nurses and physicians at UNC REX Healthcare saved her life when she woke up with heart pain in the middle of the night.

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