Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
More than 7% of Americans over the age of 65 are afflicted with aortic stenosis—or hardening of the aortic valve—and more than 1,000 of them are ineligible for traditional open heart surgery to repair it. Patients who are too old or weak to undergo surgery had few options, until the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure, which was recently approved by the FDA. The new procedure eliminates the need for open heart surgery and results in a shorter recovery time.
Transcutaneous valve replacement is a newly developed method of replacing malfunctioning heart valves without any large incisions and without use of the heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass). In a “hybrid” operating room with both surgery and X-ray capabilities, a multi-disciplinary team of cardiologists, surgeons, and anesthesiologists places a guidewire through the malfunctioning valve, either from the groin or through a small incision between the ribs in the chest. The new, replacement valve is compressed on a flexible tube (catheter), positioned inside the patient’s malfunctioning valve with imaging guidance, and then expanded to “replace” the malfunctioning valve. Until recently, this type of valve replacement was investigational. However, it is now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis. It is only being used in patients deemed “too sick” for a conventional valve surgery. Currently, only aortic and pulmonic valves can be treated in this fashion. UAB is one of a select number of sites offering this treatment.
If you think you may have valve disease, talk to your physician about your symptoms and ask if a referral to UAB Heart and Vascular Services may be right for you. Referrals may be made by calling MIST at 1.800.UAB.MIST (1.800.822.6478)
Patients can get more information, by calling UAB Healthfinder at1.800.UAB.8816 (1.800.822.8816) or by filling out our Make an Appointment form »
Patient Referral Fax Cover Sheet