Valve Replacement without a Surgery-TAVI/TAVR - Medx Health Assistance

Valve Replacement without a Surgery-TAVI/TAVR

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation/Replacement (TAVI/TAVR) is a minimally invasive, catheter-based heart treatment to replace damaged valves. Aortic valve stenosis is the condition of a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly, hindering the flow of the blood. TAVR is the replacement of such a valve with a new one. It is an advancement for the patients who were earlier unable to undergo surgical treatments like open-heart surgery, due to high or moderate risk of complications underlying various factors. Such patients had to earlier rely only on medication, however this treatment can improve survival while relieving the signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis.

Preparing for TAVR

The doctor should be informed about any medications that the patient has been taking. This is because the patient might be instructed to stop taking certain medicines. 

The patient needs to stop smoking before the surgery according to the doctor’s advice. Also, generally, eating and drinking has to stop 8-12 hours before the surgery.

TAVR – The Procedure

  • Like any other medical procedure, this procedure also begins with removing any ornaments and other valuables that may hinder the process and wearing sterile gowns.
  • Supplementary catheters will be inserted in the neck and wrist of the patient to monitor blood pressure and heart’s status or to withdraw blood samples for analysis. 
  • After the patient lies on their back, general anaesthesia or sedation is induced. Heartbeat and blood oxygen level are monitored throughout the surgery.
  • To perform the breathing function, the patient will be connected to a machine (ventilator), with a breathing tube inserted into the throat and windpipe.
  • To drain urine during the surgical procedure, a catheter will be introduced into the bladder as well.
  • To aid visualization of the valve, a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) probe will be inserted in the food pipe.
  • With a germ-killing solution, the surgical site in the groin is rinsed. The surgeons then make an incision to locate the femoral artery, which carries blood from the heart down into the leg. 
  • A thin tube/catheter is placed in the artery to reach the heart. Advanced imaging techniques are used to guide the catheter to the aortic valve, through the aorta. 
  • The artificial valve is encased within an expandable balloon apparatus, which is inflated to position the new valve appropriately. Few valves can expand without the use of a balloon.
  • The surgeon captures images and observes to be certain that the new valve is functioning properly, before the catheter is removed. 
  • Lastly, the artery and the incision in the groin area is closed with sutures.

 

This approach prevents cutting open the chest or having an incision in the heart or chest. Moreover, this technique injects less pain on the patient after the treatment, less scarring and quick recovery, as compared to an open-heart treatment.

After the procedure

The doctors might suggest the patient, to spend the night in the intensive care unit for monitoring after the procedure. The patient spends about two to five days recovering in the hospital. Regular check-ups are recommended to the patients after the transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Certain medications might be prescribed to the patient after the TAVR. For instance, one might require taking blood-thinning medications to avoid future blood clots. The doctors will explain how long one may need to take these medications. 

Artificial heart valves, including a transcatheter aortic valve, might catch infections. Bacterial infection can develop in the heart valve that arrives from the bacteria in the mouth. Patients should take some precautions to avoid such situations, like excellent dental hygiene, routine dental cleanings etc. The doctors may recommend a few medications prior to the certain dental procedure to avoid infections. 

Risks 

All medical procedures have some types of risks. Risks of TAVR might include the following among more:

  • Heart rhythm issues which might require pacemaker implantation.
  • Bleeding 
  • Stroke 
  • Issues with the new valves, such as the valve slipping out of place or leaking.
  • Complications of blood vessels.
  • Infection 
  • Kidney disease

 

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) can eliminate the signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis and improve one’s overall health and quality of life. Making healthy choices, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking, are always recommended by a doctor to such heart patients and a healthy lifestyle. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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