Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is valve replacement without open-heart surgery. It is also called catheter-based or percutaneous (through the skin) aortic valve replacement.
While open-heart (surgical) aortic valve replacement is the gold standard treatment for severe aortic valve stenosis, there are patients who may not be able to undergo traditional surgery because of factors such as age, history of heart disease, frailty, or other health issues. For these patients, TAVR may be an option.
During TAVR, the replacement valve is inserted through a small cut in the thigh into an artery. Doctors use a tube-based delivery system (catheter) to navigate the valve to the heart. Then, the doctor expands the valve into place using a balloon located at the tip of the catheter.
At our center we implant the following TAVR valves. Your physician will determine which valve is best for you:
- CoreValve transcatheter aortic heart valve: This valve is made of natural tissue obtained from the heart of a pig. The valve leaflets are secured to a flexible, self-expanding metal frame (nickel-titanium) for support.
- Edwards Sapien XT transcatheter heart valve: This valve is a biological valve (made from animal tissue) that replaces aortic valve.
At Intermountain Heart Institute, we have over five years of experience with the TAVR procedure. We were the first in Utah perform TAVR and the only center to be involved in the procedure's research and development.
Patients are evaluated by our Heart Valve and Structural Heart Disease Program to determine whether this procedure is a good option. In certain cases, TAVR may not be an appropriate because of co-existing medical conditions or other disease processes.
For those who are candidates for TAVR, this therapy may provide relief from the often debilitating symptoms associated with severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis.
TAVR is a significant procedure involving general anesthesia, and placement of the valve is associated with specific contraindications as well as serious adverse effects, including risks of death, stroke, damage to the artery used for insertion of the valve, major bleeding, and other life-threatening and serious events. In addition, the longevity of the valves' function is not yet known.
During TAVR, the replacement valve is compressed on a balloon and moved to the heart by a catheter. The new valve is inflated within the patient's non-functioning valve and remains in place.
You will receive specific instructions from our TAVR coordinator, Lynn Harris. If you have questions, she can be reached at (801) 507-4795.
Where Do I Go?
TAVR is performed in a hybrid catheterization/operating room in the CV Cath Lab. On the day of your procedure, you need to come to Intermountain Medical Center – building 4 (Heart & Lung Center). Follow the signs to Patient Registration on the first floor.
If you have questions please call us: 801-507-4701.
Learn About Our Programs
Our Heart Valve & Structural Heart Disease Program is actively participating in TAVR research. While TAVR is approved by the FDA for certain patients, trials at our center continue to explore new valve designs and different patient criteria. Learn more about TAVR research.