A newer method to replace faulty aortic heart valves removes the need to cut open the chest and crack some ribs to get to the heart. McLeod Cardiologist Fred Krainin, MD, describes the TransCarotid Aortic Valve Replacement:
Here are Dr. Krainin’s key points about TAVR (TAH-ver):
TAVR is a procedure where patients with severe aortic stenosis can have their valve replaced non-surgically.
We do this on people who have severely diseased aortic valves and many of them are very symptomatic. They can’t walk out to their mailbox and back without feeling out of breath. Almost immediately after TAVR, they can feel an improvement. When we see them back in 30 days, they are amazed at how much better they felt.
Aortic stenosis disease does not occur overnight. It comes on over years. Many people, who suffer form it, are elderly and they just attribute the symptoms to old age. But when they realize that it wasn’t just old age, it was a degenerated aortic valve, they can actually have many more years of very healthy and productive life after this procedure.
To be considered a candidate for TAVR, you have to go through a process that involves meeting with a surgeon, a cardiologist and other members of our valve team. We do extensive testing and then we determine whether you’re a candidate for TAVR procedure. Some patients do require a full surgical valve replacement. For others, the best approach is to watch-and-wait for the time being.
We’ve been doing this procedure at McLeod for approximately a year and a half. Today, we did our 74th and 75th patients and by and large, our patients have done very well. I think we have a very safe program and we’ve gotten very good results.