Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
The New Gold Standard for Aortic Valve Replacement in Elderly Patients
How is it performed
TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) or TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) is a minimally invasive catheter based procedure for aortic valve replacement.
The most commonly utilized approach is via a small incision in the groin to access the artery in the leg (transfemoral). There exist other approaches – the best approach is decided by the people who make up the Heart Team that is dedicated to the management of such patients.
Whichever approach is finally used the technique remains the same. A catheter is inserted across the diseased aortic valve and it is opened – pushing the calcified leaflets to the side. A new valve is then guided over a wire and seated in place of the old valve using the calcified leaflets as a scaffold.
The procedure can be performed under sedation in centers with expertise in this particular technique. This is in contradistinction to surgical aortic valve replacement where the patient is put under anesthesia and the heart is stopped to remove the old valve and replace it.