Treatment for heart valve disease depends on how far the disease has progressed. If your condition is mild, medication may be prescribed to help regulate your heartbeat and prevent blood clots. But if your condition is more severe, your heart team may advice replacing the diseased valve.
The surgery can be performed using traditional surgery techniques or minimally invasive approaches. If valve replacement is recommended, the Beverly and Jerome Fine Cardiac Valve Center will help you understand your options and determine the best course for you.
Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR)
Aortic valve replacement is a surgical procedure used to treat aortic valve disease, in which the leaky (regurgitant) or stiff (stenotic) heart valve is removed and a new valve is sutured in its place.
Surgical AVR is an open-heart procedure, but your surgeon may determine that a smaller incision can be used. The surgeon removes the diseased aortic valve and replaces it with either a mechanical valve (made from man-made materials) or a biological valve (made from animal or human tissue). Surgical AVR has been performed for many years on patients unable to undergo surgery, and has lengthened many patients’ lives.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
If your cardiologist and cardiac surgeon determine that you are too high risk or too sick for surgery, and if medicine is not helping you feel better, TAVR may be an alternative. This less invasive procedure allows a new valve to be inserted within your diseased aortic valve while your heart is still beating.
TAVR uses a catheter to direct a new valve to the site of the poorly functioning valve. Unlike conventional valve replacement, valves replaced using this method are delivered with a stent. The new valve can be inserted in a number of ways, including transfemoral (upper leg), direct aortic (upper chest) and subclavian (upper chest).
Just like surgical AVR, TAVR has been shown to consistently lengthen patients’ lives and improve their quality of life. However, the TAVR procedure is not right for everyone. Your heart team will inform you if you are a good candidate for TAVR.
Contact the Beverly and Jerome Fine Cardiac Valve Center to learn more or schedule an appointment.