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Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR)

Surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) is a treatment option for patients diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis, a tightening of the aortic valve in the heart. During the procedure, a cardiothoracic surgeon makes an incision in your chest to access the heart. The length and location of the incision may vary depending on the type of surgical approach selected by your physician. Your damaged or diseased aortic valve will be removed and a new valve will be sewn into place.

There are two main types of new valves:

  • Mechanical: Made of man-made materials, such as titanium or carbon, these valves last the longest. Blood-thinning prescription medication or aspirin may be needed for the lifetime of the patient.
  • Biological: Made of human or animal tissue, these valves may last 10 to 20 years. Lifetime blood-thinning medication may NOT be needed.

SAVR has risks and potential complications, just as any other major surgery. These include blood clots, bleeding, infection, irregular heartbeats, and stroke. If you are not an ideal candidate for open-heart surgery, you may be considered for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive treatment option. TAVR may be a better and safer treatment option for patients who are elderly, frail, deconditioned or have other health problems.

After valve replacement surgery, your doctor may recommend that you participate in cardiac rehabilitation, a program of education and exercise designed to help you improve your health and help you recover after open heart surgery.

If you wish to be first evaluated by a Summa Health cardiologist for possible referral into the program, talk to your doctor. A physician referral is needed to be seen in the Summa Health Heart Valve Program.


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.