Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure that replaces narrowing heart valves (aortic stenosis) without open heart surgery. It’s often a better and safer treatment option for patients who are elderly, frail, deconditioned or have other health problems. Although, recent research is beginning to show promise for this procedure in younger patient populations.
Summa Health System – Akron Campus was the first hospital between Cleveland and Columbus to offer this minimally invasive approach and has completed more than 500 procedures to date.
Much like a heart stent, TAVR uses a catheter to guide a new aortic valve within a person’s heart. The catheter – a small flexible and hollow tube – is used to implant a new aortic valve in the heart. Most commonly, a small opening is made in the large artery at the top of the leg and the catheter is then used to deploy, or expand, the new valve inside the old non- functioning valve. If the large artery at the top of the leg cannot be used, a small incision can be made through the chest wall to implant the new valve.
If it is determined a TAVR is the best treatment, members of the heart valve procedural team will work shoulder-to-shoulder sharing various parts of this highly technical procedure. The heart valve team is comprised of specially trained and certified cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists, imaging specialists, cardiovascular anesthesiologists, and other highly skilled cardiac professionals.
The procedure is performed in The Richard M. and Yvonne Hamlin Hybrid Operating Room Suite located at the Summa Health System Akron Campus by a cardiothoracic surgeon. The hybrid OR suite combines the functionality of a traditional operating room, a cardiac catheterization lab and an electrophysiology lab in a single spacious surgical suite, and is specifically designed for performing TAVR and other procedures which require multiple specialists to work together simultaneously.
Since it is unnecessary to open the patient’s chest to perform the TAVR procedure, patients often return home after one day of hospital-based observation and care.
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.