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, any severe aortic stenosis patients who are experiencing symptoms can be considered for TAVI. Only a Heart Team can tell you if it is right for you.
The idea of a heart valve replacement can be scary. Luckily, the less invasive TAVI procedure is an option for more patients than ever before.
Unlike open heart surgery, in which an incision is made in your chest to remove the unhealthy valve, TAVI uses a catheter to implant a new valve within your diseased valve. TAVI can be performed in multiple ways but the most common is through the femoral artery with the incision in the groin.
TAVI is proven to have lower instances of death, stroke and rehospitalization compared to open heart surgery.1
Other TAVI benefits may include2:
Improved quality of life following the procedure, including the ability to return to normal daily activities
Shorter hospital stay
Relief of symptoms
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.
1. Mack MJ, Leon MB, Thoura.nl VH, et al. Transcatheter aortic -valve replacement with a balloon-expandable valve in low-rrsk patients. N Engl J Med. 2019:380(18):1695-1705.
2. Baron SJ, et al. Health Status After Transcatheter Versus Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement in Low-Risk Patients With Aortic Stenosis. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019;74(23):2833–2842