TAVR

(Credit: St. Mary)

(Credit: St. Mary)

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TAVR is giving hope to patients too sick to have the open heart surgery needed to replace their narrowing aortic valve. Patients experiencing shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain or chest compression may be experiencing a dangerous narrowing of the aortic valve. If the symptoms occur and the aortic stenosis is not treated it could prove deadly. Dr. Rakesh Shah, an Interventional Cardiologist at St. Mary Health says half of the patients experiencing symptoms could possibly die within two years.

Dr. Shah explains that TAVR stands for transcatheter aortic valve replacement. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to place a new heart valve made of cow tissue inside the deteriorating existing heart valve. Instead of opening the chest, the valve is threaded through the body with a catheter entering the groin. TAVR is FDA approved only for patients too sick and too frail to undergo the more extensive surgical procedure.

 

According to Dr. Shah the procedure has progressed a lot in just the few years it’s been in use. The instruments used in the procedure are now smaller and better tolerated by patients. Physicians are able to complete the procedure in less time and complications have been reduced. In addition, patients are up walking and feeling better more quickly than when the procedure was first introduced.

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