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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a groundbreaking minimally invasive therapy for patients who suffer from severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis (AS), or narrowing of the aortic heart valve. The less invasive procedure provides a new lifesaving option to elderly or high-risk patients who could not otherwise tolerate open-heart surgery. The option also is available to those patients who are just considered high risk, in other words, individuals who could have open-heart surgery but who would not do well undergoing such an invasive procedure.

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute is one of a select group of medical centers across the country—and one of the first sites in South Florida—to offer this innovative procedure to patients who qualify.

Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute was selected to perform TAVR for a variety of reasons, including Memorial Regional Hospital advanced hospital facilities, our surgeons' vast experience in performing aortic valve replacement and our multidisciplinary 'heart team' approach, which is required for the effective screening of patients and subsequent TAVR surgery. This TAVR team comprises specialists from varying disciplines, including:

  • Cardiac Surgeons
  • Vascular Surgeons
  • Interventional Cardiologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Anesthesiologists

TAVR therapy is offered using two different valves, which include the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve, approved by the FDA in November 2011, and the Medtronic CoreValve, approved by the FDA in January 2014.

Multiple access sites for the transcatheter procedure can be used such as:

  • Femoral artery
  • Subclavian artery
  • Transaortic (ascending aorta)
  • Transapical (apex of the heart)

For example, the new prosthetic aortic valve is implanted via a catheter inserted in the femoral artery in the patient’s thigh and advanced to the heart using a specially designed and X-ray-guided delivery catheter. Positioned and implanted with an expandable balloon system or self-deployment system, the entire aortic valve is replaced without the use of incisions and without stopping the heart. The less invasive procedure provides a new lifesaving option to elderly or high-risk patients who cannot tolerate open-heart surgery.

The new treatment is not suitable for everyone. To determine whether TAVR is an appropriate therapeutic option, prospective patients must undergo an extensive series of screenings and evaluations, including:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT
  • EKG
  • Standard Echo
  • Transesophageal Echo (TEE) Cardiogram Scans