The South Carolina Heart Valve Center

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a new treatment option for patients with severe symptomatic calcified native aortic valve stenosis (narrowing of the aorta) who have been determined to be inoperable or high risk for open-chest surgery to replace their diseased aortic heart valve.

The synthetic valve replacement device is made from cow tissue and polyester supported by a steel frame. The surgeon makes a small incision either in the upper leg or in the chest, and inserts a catheter,Edwards Sapien Aortic Valve outfitted with a deflated balloon. The catheter is guided into the chambers of the heart, where a small balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to open up the diseased aortic valve.

Another catheter, outfitted with a synthetic valve crimped around a deflated balloon, is moved into the dilated opening. After positioning the catheter, the surgeon inflates the balloon to expand the new valve and secure it into place. The procedure is performed under general or sometimes local anesthesia without the use of a heart-lung machine, and post-procedure recovery is typically a few days.

Watch a video about South Carolina's first TAVR patient, as well as animations of the TAVR procedure:

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