For patients with severe aortic stenosis, a traditional aortic valve replacement requires a cardiac surgery team to open the patient’s chest to expose the heart for removal of the diseased valve and placement of the new one.
The Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure is minimally invasive, meaning that only small incisions are used. The TAVR valve consists of tissue that mimics the flaps of the natural aortic valve, which is attached to a wire mesh.
This replacement valve is crimped to the diameter of a pencil and inserted through an artery in the patient’s upper leg. It is placed in position through in the aorta with a special device called the RetroFlex 3 transfemoral delivery system.
This specially designed system, which is about half an inch thick, allows precise placement of the new valve into the beating heart, while minimizing damage to the aorta and the heart itself. Once in place, the wire mesh is expanded, and the TAVR valve begins working just as the natural one was meant to.
Some patients cannot have the TAVR valve implanted through the femoral route because of narrowings in the femoral arteries. For this reason, a secondary delivery route was developed using the Ascendra system, or the transapical system.
This involves making a small incision between the ribs of the lower left chest, isolating the apex or tip of the heart, and making a small apical incision in the left ventricle. Though that incision, the Ascendra delivery system is placed directly into the left ventricular cavity to reach the diseased aortic valve for replacement.
For more information about Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, fill out our contact form or call us at (813) 55-HEART.