Aortic stenosis is a serious condition affecting a valve in the heart that helps transport oxygen-rich blood to the body. For severe cases of aortic stenosis, the most effective treatment is surgical replacement of the valve. Unfortunately, since this option requires open-heart surgery, it may not be appropriate for many patients – especially the elderly and those who suffer from health conditions that might add complications to the procedure.
Minimally Invasive Alternative
Today, an alternative to open-heart surgery is available for patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is an FDA-approved, minimally invasive option available at Florida Memorial Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Institute.
During the procedure, a replacement valve consisting of tissue that mimics the flaps of the natural aortic valve, is attached to a wire mesh. This new valve is crimped to the diameter of a pencil and inserted through an artery in either the patient’s upper leg or between the ribs of the lower left chest. It is then placed in position through in the aorta with a special device called the RetroFlex 3 transfemoral delivery system.
This specially designed system, which is about half an inch thick, allows precise placement of the new valve into the beating heart, while minimizing damage to the aorta and the heart itself. Once in place, the wire mesh is expanded, and the TAVR valve begins working just as the natural one was meant to.
To learn more about TAVR, call Florida Memorial Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Institute at (386) 231-3052.