Aortic valve replacement
We now offer patients diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis (abnormal narrowing or constriction of the aortic valve of the heart) a treatment alternative to open-heart surgery.
Trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is also called Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This new 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.
How we assess and treat complex cardiac disease
To ensure patients are suitable for this TAVI procedure, a patient’s case notes are discussed by our Heart Valve Team – a multidisciplinary team of cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac anaesthetists, intensivists and more, who assess patients with complex heart valve disease.
The Heart Valve Team determines which techniques and procedures will be the most effective option for the patient’s specific condition.
The TAVI procedure
Trans-catheter aortic valves are specially designed for the TAVI procedure. The valve is implanted 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.
What is aortic stenosis
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.
Most patients stay in hospital for 4-6 days after the valve insertion. You will be asked to take blood thinning drugs for a period of time following your procedure.