During this minimally invasive procedure a new valve is inserted without removing the old, damaged valve. The new valve is placed inside the diseased valve. The surgery may be called a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).
Usually valve replacement requires an open-heart procedure with a “sternotomy”, in which the chest is surgically separated (opened) for the procedure. The TAVR or TAVI procedures can be done through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place.
While TAVR is not without risks, it provides beneficial treatment options to people who may not have been considered for valve replacement. A patient's experience with a TAVR procedure may be similar to a coronary angiogram in terms of recovery. You will likely spend less time in the hospital after TAVR compared to surgical valve replacement.
The TAVR procedure is performed using one of two approaches, allowing the cardiologist or surgeon to choose which one provides the best and safest way to access the valve: