Receiving news that you’ve been diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis and may need your aortic valve replaced can be scary. You may wonder if you will be able to participate in your favorite activities, eat the same foods, or approach life in the same way.
Although these feelings can be overwhelming, 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. These symptoms of aortic stenosis may mean your condition is getting worse and you need to seek treatment right away.
The good news is, open heart surgery is not the only way to replace an aortic heart valve. There is a less invasive option called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR for short. This procedure used to only be available for people who were too weak to undergo open heart surgery. But now, any severe aortic stenosis patients who are experiencing symptoms can be considered for TAVR. Only a TAVR Team can tell you if it is right for you.
TAVR may be an option for bicuspid patients. Open heart surgery is not their only option (although it may be the best option for their unique situation). Bicuspid patients should seek an evaluation with a TAVR Team to see all their treatment options.
The TAVR procedure may also be an option for people at high risk for surgery who had their aortic valve replaced in the past, but need a new one because the replacement valve may no longer work.
TAVR is available for even more patients than ever before. TAVR is no longer just for patients who are too sick for open heart surgery. Any severe aortic stenosis patients who are experiencing symptoms can be considered for TAVR. Even if you were previously told that TAVR wasn’t an option for you, consult with a TAVR Team to find out if you are now eligible.
Your TAVR Doctor will run several tests to determine the best treatment plan for you and to evaluate if you are a TAVR candidate. Some of these tests include:
In some cases, you may have already taken some of these tests. However, it may be important that the tests be taken again at the request of your TAVR Doctor.
Although it may feel like a lot of appointments, it’s important because your TAVR Doctor wants to make sure they are recommending the best treatment option for you.
Mack MJ, Leon MB, Thourani VH, et al. Transcatheter aortic-valve replacement with a balloon-expandable valve in low-risk patients. N Engl J Med. 2019:380(18):1695-1705.