Receiving news that you’ve been diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis and may need your aortic valve replaced can be overwhelming. You may wonder if you will be able to participate in your favorite activities, eat the same food, or approach life in the same way.
It is important to talk to your doctor about all of your treatment options, especially if you are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath. The onset or worsening of symptoms is many times an indicator that valve replacement may be required.
The good news is, there are different options to replace your aortic valve, including a less invasive treatment called transcatheter aortic valve implantation, or TAVI for short. This procedure used to only be available for people who were too weak to undergo open heart surgery. But now, TAVI is available to more people depending on their risk for open heart surgery.
TAVI is giving hope to people suffering from severe aortic stenosis who are at increased risk for open heart surgery. Your doctor will run several tests to determine the best treatment plan for you and to evaluate if you are a TAVI candidate. Some of these tests include:
- An angiogram to examine how blood is flowing through your heart’s arteries
- An echocardiogram to take pictures of your heart
- Other diagnostic tests which can be explored in our FAQs section
In some cases, you may have already had some of these tests. However, it may be important that the tests be taken again at the request of your doctor.
Although it may feel like a lot of appointments, it’s important because your doctor wants to make sure they are recommending the best treatment option for you. This may involve a longer evaluation process, but your life is worth it.
Your doctor will decide the best way to replace your heart valve and if TAVI is the right treatment path for you.
Your personal health history will be needed to determine your best treatment option. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a history of any of the following:
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
- Prior open heart surgery
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Frailty (weakness)
- Prior chest radiation
- Coronary artery disease
- Kidney failure