TAVI: Innovative heart valve replacement for Aortic Stenosis

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This article by Consultant Cardiologists, Dr Michael Mullen and Mr John Yap, published on totalhealth's patient-facing website, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the various treatment options available for aortic stenosis, which is the narrowing of the valves in the heart. It will be of interest to anyone who is suffering from aortic stenosis, the most common form of valvular heart disease.

Mr John Yap, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon

Mr John Yap, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon

Dedicated to providing high quality expert advice and delivering comprehensive care tailored to the patients’ individual needs.

A new and innovative replacement for Aortic Stenosis:Aortic Stenosis and Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation, totalhealth's patient facing website has published the following article:

Narrowing of the aortic valve, which is known as aortic stenosis, is one of the most common forms of heart disease. It is caused by thickening, fusion and sometimes calcification of the valve leaflets and is common in the elderly affecting over 4% of people over 80 years of age. It affects both men and woman equally. Aortic stenosis may remain symptomless for many years, however, symptoms of breathlessness on walking, angina or collapse may develop eventually. When this happens it is important to get treatment quickly as untreated symptomatic aortic stenosis is progressive and often fatal.

Treatment options for Aortic Stenosis

Unfortunately aortic stenosis cannot be treated with medicines and in the majority of cases it is better to relieve the narrowing of the valve. Traditionally this has been exclusively through open heart surgery to remove the narrowed valve and replace it with a new man-made valve. Recently, however, a new minimally invasive technique has been developed that allows a new valve to be implanted in the heart through a catheter. This treatment is known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation or TAVI for short. It has the advantage of avoiding opening the chest and the use of a heart-lung bypass machine and therefore has a quicker recovery time.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)

In TAVI a new aortic valve is implanted in the heart via a tube introduced through the artery at the top of the leg (transfemoral approach) and then advanced up to the heart through the blood vessels. The transfemoral approach can be performed without the need for surgery while other approaches, where the arteries are narrowed or diseased, require progressively more surgical intervention although, all forms of TAVI avoid the need for cardiopulmonary bypass or fully opening the chest cavity. With advances in technology it has been found that the majority of patients can be treated by the transfemoral approach without the need for any surgery.

The main advantage of TAVI is that it avoids the need for open heart surgery and cardiopulmonary bypass; this is beneficial to patients with lung or kidney disease alongside aortic stenosis who are at a much higher risk with traditional heart surgery.

TAVI allows for a more rapid recovery and a faster return to normal activities. Patients on average stay in hospital for about five days. To date, more than 40,000 TAVI procedures have been performed worldwide with overall excellent results compared to traditional surgery and, so far, excellent valve durability.

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