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also known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
Aortic stenosis typically occurs in people over 65 years of age and involves progressive thickening and hardening of the leaflets (heart valve flaps). The aortic valve cannot open and close properly when blood is pumped from the heart to the rest of the body. The condition puts extra strain on the heart and can cause breathlessness, swollen ankles, chest pain, dizziness, or blackouts.
The TAVI procedure involves the replacement of aortic valves without surgically removing your own narrowed valve, and is for people who have many other medical problems that make surgery too risky.
It involves implanting a valve via a catheter (thin tube) into a large blood vessel (the femoral artery) in the groin or through a small incision in the chest. To implant it into the heart, the catheter is guided to the aortic valve opening where it is implanted over the existing valve. A transoesophageal echo probe (like a small camera) is passed through your mouth and positioned in your oesophagus (gullet). This enables the exact positioning of the new aortic valve. Once the new valve is implanted, the catheter is removed. The new valve starts working right away.
Most patients stay in hospital for 4-6 days after the valve insertion.