At Chippenham Hospital, we’re proud to offer minimally invasive treatment methods for aortic stenosis. The elite cardiothoracic surgeons who practice at Levinson Heart Institute, located within Chippenham Hospital, are innovators when it comes to matters of the heart. In fact, they were the first in Richmond to perform Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) for Aortic Stenosis.
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When it comes to your heart, you want the team of medical professionals that are leaders in their field. At Levinson Heart Institute, you’ll find the best heart surgeons Richmond has to offer, along with a medical team, including nurses, that focuses exclusively on the heart. And luckily, Levinson Heart Institute is in your backyard. Feel good knowing if you find yourself in need of a consultation regarding your heart, elite surgeons are standing by, ready to assist. Just give us a call at 804.320.DOCS (3627) to make an appointment today.
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What is Aortic Valve Stenosis?
Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve that could block blood flow from the heart, causing a back-up of flow and pressure in the heart and to the lungs. The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. The aorta supplies blood throughout the body. Aortic stenosis can range from mild to severe, and is more common in men than women.
Symptoms of aortic stenosis may include:
- Chest pain, pressure or tightness
- Fainting, also called syncope
- Palpitations or a feeling of heavy, pounding, or noticeable heartbeats
- Decline in activity level, or reduced ability to do normal activities that require mild exertion
What is TAVR?
According to the American Heart Association, , TAVR is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that repairs the valve without removing the old, damaged valve. Instead, it wedges a replacement valve into the aortic valve’s place. The surgery may be called a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). TAVR can be an effective option to improve quality of life in patients who otherwise have limited choices for aortic valve repair.
Somewhat similar to a stent placed in an artery, this approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve to the valve site through a catheter. Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way, and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.
TAVR enables patients with previously few options to have life-changing valve replacement surgery.
What does the procedure involve?
Usually valve replacement requires an open heart procedure with a sternotomy, in which the chest is surgically separated (open) for the procedure. At Chippenham, the TAVR procedure can be done without opening the chest and instead through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place. TAVR provides beneficial treatment options to people who may not have previously been candidates for traditional surgery, while also providing the added bonus of a faster recovery in most cases.
The TAVR procedure is performed using one of two different approaches, allowing the cardiologist or surgeon to choose which one provides the best and safest way to access the valve:
- Entering through the femoral artery (large artery in the groin), called the transfemoral approach, which does not require a surgical incision in the chest
- Using a minimally invasive surgical approach with a small incision in the chest and entering through a large artery in the chest or through the tip of the left ventricle (the apex), which is known as the transapical approach.
Am I a candidate for TAVR?
The TAVR procedure is normally reserved for those people for whom an open heart procedure is too risky. For that reason, most people who have this procedure are in their 70s or 80 and often have other medical conditions that make them a better candidate for this type of surgery. TAVR can be an effective option to improve quality of life in patients who otherwise have limited choices for repair of their aortic valve.