Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) or transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive heart procedure. This procedure is adhered to replace an aortic valve that fails to open properly (aortic valve stenosis).
People who are at intermediate or considerable risk of complications from surgical aortic valve replacement (open-heart surgery) go for TAVI. The decision to undergo TAVI or TAVR is determined by surgery specialists, who will work together to determine the best treatment option for you.
After undergoing this procedure, it improves the quality of life in patients who otherwise have limited choices for repair of their aortic valve. Consult your doctor to reduce your heart rate risks.
Need for TAVI
A person may need TAVI if he/she has progressive heart failure due to aortic stenosis. But the person isn’t a suitable candidate for a traditional open-heart aortic valve replacement surgery.
Aortic valve stenosis — or aortic stenosis — is caused when the heart's aortic valve thickens and calcifies. This prevents the valve from opening fully, which limits blood flow from your heart to the rest of your body.
A person suffering from Aortic Stenosis will experience chest pain, fatigue, fainting, leg swelling, and shortness of breath. This can also lead to heart failure and sudden cardiac death.
Who Benefits Most From TAVI
TAVI remains an option for you if:
You have aortic stenosis that leads to signs and symptoms.
Your existing biological tissue valve is not performing well anymore.
You constitute a high risk due to the complications arising from surgical aortic valve replacement.
The conditions which make open-heart surgery dangerous for you include:
Previous heart surgery
History of stroke
Chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)
Previous radiation treatment to your chest
Porcelain aorta, where large calcium deposits in the blood vessel carry blood away from your heart (ascending aorta).
How to Prepare For TAVI
Your doctor will evaluate your overall health. The medical and surgical team will provide you instructions on how to prepare for your transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) procedure. You may moreover have to undergo X-rays, blood tests, CT scans, and other tests to check the health of your lungs and heart.
You will also have to inform your medical team about:
If you are taking any drugs, including over-the-counter medicines.
If you smoke, then you may be asked to quit.
The healthcare provider may also urge you to stop taking certain medicines.
What to Expect During the Procedure?
The Surgeon will sedate the patient with general anesthesia during the TAVI procedure. The Medication will be given through an IV to prevent blood clots.
The health care team will monitor your blood pressure, heart function, and rhythm. Any changes in heart rhythm will be noted and managed with treatments as needed during the procedure.
While performing TAVI, the doctor may access your heart through a blood vessel in your leg or through a tiny incision in your chest. Sometimes, an alternative approach is used where the Doctor will insert a hollow tube (catheter) through the access point. To guide the catheter through your blood vessels, to your heart, and into your aortic valve, the Surgeon will use advanced imaging techniques.
Once the new valve is placed, a balloon on the catheter's tip is inflated to enlarge the replacement valve into the appropriate position. The catheter is removed when the surgeon is assured that the valve is placed securely.
What Happens after TAVI?
You will be moved to the intensive care unit for monitoring after your procedure. In most cases, a patient spends about two to five days recovering in the hospital.
After your doctors feel you have recovered enough from the procedure, you will be allowed to go home. You will have to follow all instructions for medicines, diet, activity, pain control, and wound care. You'll also need follow-up appointments with your doctor after TAVI.
Here are some guidelines which you will have to follow after TAVI,
Doctors will prescribe you blood-thinning medicine to prevent blood clots after a TAVI.
Get walking to resume normal activity but avoid any heavy lifting.
Maintain good dental hygiene to avoid any infections
Watch your groin for any sign of redness, swelling, bleeding, or discharge.
Consult the doctor if you experience any pain or have bleeding, fever, or shortness of breath.