SEVERE AORTIC STENOSIS TRANSCATHETER AORTIC VALVE REPLACEMENT (TAVR)

CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF SEVERE AORTIC STENOSIS

Severe aortic stenosis is a when your aortic valve becomes diseased (stenotic). The valve leaflets become stiff and thickened and have a difficult time opening and closing. This makes your heart work harder to pump blood to the rest of your body. A diseased valve affects your health and limits your daily activities.

  1. In a healthy aortic valve, three thin leaflets open and close properly. 
  2. In a diseased (stenotic) valve, the leaflets become stiff and thickened, making your heart work harder to pump the blood to the body.

Healthy aortic valveDiseased aortic valve

Some causes of severe aortic stenosis include:

  • Age
  • Calcium buildup
  • Radiation therapy
  • Infection of the heart
  • Failing aortic surgical valve

Symptoms of severe aortic stenosis include, but may not be limited to:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Out of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SEVERE AORTIC STENOSIS

Medication

Certain medications may ease some of the symptoms of severe aortic stenosis.

Balloon Valvuloplasty (BAV)

A tiny balloon is inflated in the aortic valve to try to improve blood flow, but this treatment provides only temporary relief.

Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR)

Open-heart surgery is done to remove the damaged valve and replace it with an artificial valve. Patients usually need to stay in the hospital for a week or more, before beginning a long period of recovery.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

TAVR is less invasive than open-heart surgery. The doctor will make a small incision, insert a thin, flexible tube into an artery, and guide the heart valve to your heart to replace the function of your diseased valve or failing surgical valve.


Choosing the Best Treatment Option for You

Your heart team will conduct tests to help determine the best treatment plan for you. These tests will tell your doctor:

  • The shape and size of your heart
  • The structure of your artery system
  • If you have other medical problems

Common tests performed in the valve clinic include:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • CT scan
  • Echocardiogram
  • Carotid ultrasound
  • Blood tests
  • Physical exam
  • Frailty testing