TAVR May be an Alternative to Open Heart Surgery for Aortic Stenosis

Paul M. Coady, MD
Primary and Interventional Cardiovascular Medicine
Lankenau Heart Group

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis—a condition where the aortic valve narrows, restricting normal blood flow—a new treatment option may be available to you.

Aortic stenosis is generally found in patients age 75 and older. When it becomes severe, it can be debilitating, limiting a patient’s day-to-day activities. In the past, the only treatment option for severe aortic stenosis was valve replacement through open-heart surgery—a serious, multi-hour surgery with a lengthy recovery period. About a third of people diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis, however, especially elderly patients, are not suitable candidates for this surgery.

A new technology, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), has expanded the treatment options for people with severe aortic stenosis. TAVR involves a small incision in the thigh, through which a balloon-expandable heart valve is delivered via catheter to open the affected valve. Once the valve is in place, the heart begins to function normally.

In 2011, the FDA approved TAVR as a treatment for patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis who were not eligible for open-heart surgery. In October 2012, the FDA made the treatment available to high-risk patients as well.

Join Dr. Coady live at Lankenau’s next Wednesday Web Chat, July 10 at 7 p.m.: Heart Health & Your Family History. Dr. Coady will also respond to your questions about the TAVR procedure as an alternative to open surgery for treating aortic stenosis. Sign up now.

Get Heart Smart. Enter the Heart Smart Challenge via Lankenau’s Facebook page for your chance to win a Whole Foods gift card.