Thousands of Americans over the age of 65 have faulty heart valves. Until recently, many could not get new valves because they were either too high-risk for open-heart valve replacement surgery, or surgery was simply not an option.

What is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)?

Physicians at the Heart & Vascular Institute were among the first in the region to offer an innovative surgical option called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), also known as TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation). TAVR is an FDA-approved treatment for patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve, the valve between your heart and the blood vessel (aorta) that carries blood to your body.

This operation allows patients with advanced aortic valve disease, who are not candidates for traditional open heart surgery because of high risk, the option of valve replacement with acceptable risks while avoiding the need for cardiopulmonary bypass.

What to Expect

TAVR is performed under general anesthesia through an incision in the groin. The doctor puts a catheter (tube) into a blood vessel and moves it through the blood vessel and into the heart. The artificial valve fits inside the catheter. The doctor then moves the new valve into the damaged aortic valve. The artificial valve expands and takes the place of the damaged valve. Specially Equipped Operating Room in Lancaster General Hospital is equipped with a state-of-the-art Hybrid Operating Room (OR), where cardiologists, vascular surgeons and cardiac surgeons work side-by-side to perform procedures that require both surgical and interventional cardiology expertise. TAVR is performed in the Hybrid OR, which provides the equipment, environment and space needed for this highly specialized procedure, which can involve six to eight physicians working together at one time.

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