Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive cardiac surgical procedure performed on high-risk patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis, which is a narrowing of the aortic valve. Approximately 250,000 Americans currently suffer from this condition, which can have debilitating symptoms that affect normal day-to-day activities.
Traditionally, open-heart surgery has been the most common treatment for severe aortic stenosis. However, patients with severe aortic stenosis are often elderly and have other complicated medical conditions that make it too risky to perform open-heart surgery. These patients previously had little or no treatment options but are now being considered for minimally invasive valve replacement at Northwell Health.
Northwell was one of the first health systems in the region to offer the TAVR heart valve procedure. Similar to a technique used to implant cardiac stents into clogged arteries, TAVR involves a physician guiding a catheter through an artery to the heart with an artificial valve attached. Using state-of-the-art imaging, the valve is checked for proper placement. The valve expands and is anchored inside the aorta and blood flow is restored.
TAVR, also known as transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), has shown to significantly improve survival and quality of life when compared to medical therapies and can serve as a successful alternative to traditional cardiac surgery.