TAVR is a new heart valve replacement treatment. The term TAVR means transcatheter aortic valve replacement, in this process a thin thread known as catheters is inserted through the arteries of leg to heart. Valve made from animal tissues is placed in the heart region; this approach is known as aortic stenosis. This narrowing process actually helps in avoiding many complicated things like chest opening, use of heart-lung bypass machine or making any incision in heart. Earlier, before TAVR came in to picture open heart surgery was the only mode of treatment for severe stenosis.
Majority of people are not recommended to undergo valve replacement surgery. This is so because either they are not physically fit to undergo the surgery or they may develop any other serious after surgery complication. For such people, transcatheter aortic valve replacement is no where less than a life saving treatment process.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement has also received approval from FDA i.e., Food and Drug Administration for performing this treatment on those patients who have moderate surgical risk. TAVR helps in following ways:
- The treatment is comparatively less painful.
- It leads to fast recovery of patient.
- It has less risk compared to open heart surgery.
Is TAVR Safe?
Let us take a look on how safe and effective TVAR treatment is. In the past decade, massive evolution has taken place in the field of surgical techniques for making the heart surgery more effective and safe in every respect. Earlier, for aortic valve surgery doctor use to make a deep incision in the chest of the patient and then the patient was kept on heart-lung machine. Despite of the fact, how safe the treatment is there was no other treatment option available to doctors. As open heart surgery has a lot of risk associated, so it is not recommended to elderly people or who suffer from weak heart condition. However, if we talk about TVAR i.e. transcatheter aortic valve replacement technology, it does not require to keep the patient on heart-lung machine or making any incision on patient’s chest. This happens because TAVR technique is performed with the help of a fine catheter, which is inserted into the patient body through skin. TAVR is far less painful compared to open heart surgery. Hence, the patients who were not recommended to undergo open heart can undergo TAVR treatment because the risk involved in the process is less and the success rate of the procedure is also very high.
How It Works?
In traditional open heart surgery, doctors remove the old valve and place new valve. However, in TAVR technique the new valve is placed right inside the old or existing one. This is done in such a way that the new valve move inside by crushing the old valve. As the procedure is done with the help of a thin tube; so the artificial valve is compressed before it is inserted into the body. Once the valve is successfully placed in the right position, the valve is then expanded to its original size.
Based on how the valve is expanded, there are two types of TAVR valves, one is balloon expandable and the other one is the self expandable. In the balloon expandable one, the compressed valve is expanded using balloons. Once the valve reaches its required location, the balloons inflates on its own expanding the valve to its original size. On the other hand self expandable type of valve has a compressed spring inside the tube. Once the self expandable TAVR valve reaches its place, the valve expands naturally.