On Feb. 4, 2014, physicians with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons and Austin Heart performed the 100th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure at Heart Hospital of Austin. TAVR is a catheter-based valve replacement procedure that offers an alternative to traditional, open-chest surgery in some patients.
TAVR consists of inserting a valve—which is compressed down to the diameter of a pencil—into the body via a catheter (a flexible tube), up to the aorta. After the catheter is advanced through the aorta and aortic valve, the valve is positioned and then opened with a balloon.
"The TAVR procedure has proven to be very successful in patients who were not candidates for traditional, open-chest surgery due to advanced age, or because they are too ill or suffering from additional medical conditions," Faraz Kerendi, M.D., surgical director of the Heart Valve Clinic and cardiothoracic surgeon at Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, said. "Being able to offer another alternative to patients who were otherwise considered inoperable has truly revolutionized cardiac surgery."
TAVR can result in a shorter recovery time—one to two weeks, versus six to eight weeks for traditional surgery. This technology also prevents the need for physicians to utilize a heart bypass machine, allowing the patient's heart to beat on its own throughout the entire procedure. Studies reveal the TAVR procedure is as effective as open-heart surgery in long-term survival rates.
Patients are identified as candidates for this procedure by physicians at the Heart Valve Clinic at Heart Hospital of Austin. The clinic is specifically designed to evaluate and treat patients with valvular disease and disorders, delivering a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating such patients.
The first TAVR procedure in Central Texas was performed two years ago at Heart Hospital of Austin, shortly after the technology was approved by the FDA in November 2011.