Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

 

Dr-Brijeshwar-200x300-team-member

Brijeshwar Maini, MD, FACC
National Medical Director of Structural Heart and Transcatheter Therapies.

 

This revolutionary new heart procedure is an advanced minimally invasive treatment option for patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis. For some patients, traditional treatments such as open-heart surgery may not be an option.

However, there is new hope for patients with the TAVR procedure. TAVR has already helped thousands of patients with aortic stenosis return to the things they enjoy in life.

This minimally invasive surgical procedure repairs the valve without removing the old, damaged valve. Instead, it wedges a replacement valve into the aortic valve’s place. The surgery may be called a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

Somewhat similar to a stent placed in an artery, the TAVR approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve to the valve site through a catheter. Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.

How is TAVR or TAVI different from the standard valve replacement?
This procedure is fairly new and is FDA approved for people with symptomatic aortic stenosis who are considered a high-risk patient for standard valve replacement surgery. The differences in the two procedures are significant.

What is involved in a TAVR procedure?
Usually valve replacement requires an open-heart procedure with a “sternotomy,” in which the chest is surgically separated (open) for the procedure. The TAVR procedure can be done through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place.

TAVR provides a beneficial treatment option to people who may not be candidates for traditional surgical intervention. A patient's experience with a TAVR procedure may be comparable to a balloon treatment or even an angiogramin in terms of down time and recovery, and may require a shorter hospital stay (average 3-5 days).

The TAVR procedure is performed using one of two different approaches, allowing the cardiologist or surgeon to choose which one provides the best and safest way to access the valve:

  • Entering through the femoral artery (large artery in the groin), called the transfemoral approach, which does not require a surgical incision in the chest
  • Using a minimally invasive surgical approach with a small incision in the chest and entering through a large artery in the chest or through the tip of the left ventricle (the apex), which is known as the transapical approach.

More Information

Owning a Pet May Be Good for Your Heart

Ever heard pet owners say their lives changed when they got their pets? Turns out they are not exaggerating and even have science to back them up. Having a healthy heart is important at any age. And researchers found out that human-animal interaction (primarily dogs or cats) leads to increased fitness levels, stress relief and overall happiness and well-being through constant companionship.

Here are five reasons why owning a pet may be good for you:


1. Less stress.
High levels of stress are associated with issues in cardiovascular health and other health behaviors such as overeating and physical inactivity. Studies have shown that pet owners have lower stress levels in the presence of their pets. Interacting with pets boosts the production of “happy hormones” such as oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin.

2. Increased physical activity.
Owning a pet, especially dogs, motivates pet owners to become more physically active. Research shows dog owners walk one hour more in a week than non-pet owners. Being more physically active reduces the incidence of obesity, which is a common risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

3. Pets provide social support and social interaction.
Pet companionship provides important social support that can motivate pet owners to develop positive health behaviors. Owning a pet also eases people out of isolation and shyness, making pet owners less anxious. Thus, making it easier for pet owners to interact and start a good conversation with other people or other pet owners.

4. Improved cardiovascular health.
In addition to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, owning a pet is also associated with a slower progression of high blood pressure in older adults. Research shows that pet ownership relates to improved cardiovascular reactivity that helps with recovery from stroke and heart attack. Researchers suspect that this is because pets improve the mood of their pet owners.

5. Increased productivity.
Wherever your workplace may be, pets can help productivity. Having a pet also helps build a good impression on others as people with pets are viewed as trustworthy and have a good sense of camaraderie.

 

If you do not have a pet yet, you may consider adopting or fostering one. Owning pets is associated with numerous benefits for the heart and overall health, including improving heart health through supporting an active lifestyle, preventing cardiovascular diseases, and helping with recovery from a cardiovascular event.

Keep your pets close to your heart, and they will help you take care of yours.

Sources:
American Heart Association
Human Animal Bond Research Institute

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