Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR / TAVI)

Advertisement for Cooper Heart Valve Center, highlighting transcatheter procedures.

New Option for Severe Aortic Stenosis

Surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR), is the gold standard for replacing the aortic valve for severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis. However, AVR is only available to patients who are healthy enough to undergo this type of surgery. That changed in late 2011 when the U.S. FDA approved the Edward’s SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure for patients who may have previously been deemed inoperable, turned down for surgery, because of other, serious health issues. 

Before the approval of TAVR, inoperable patients were limited to the option of being treated with medications or procedures to temporarily open their valves.

Cooper Was the First Hospital in New Jersey to Perform a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR / TAVI)

Transcatheter heart valve measurements: 23 mm top, 14.3 mm side view.The Cooper Heart Institute was selected as one of a handful of initial sites in the United States to offer this treatment option for patients unable to undergo valve surgery and is expected to transform the treatment of aortic stenosis and aortic valve disease. In January of 2012, Cooper became the first hospital in New Jersey to perform this new and exciting procedure.  

Unfortunately, people with severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis, even with the best medical therapy, have a mortality as high as 50 percent at one year.  Now with TAVR, people who may have had previous chest or heart surgeries, severe lung disease, chest radiation, or other serious medical conditions, the reasons why surgery was not an option for them before, have another chance to live better and longer lives.

Severe aortic stenosis is a mechanical problem caused by the accumulation of calcium on the valve that causes it to become progressively narrowed and stiff. The aortic valve is the main exit out of the heart for oxygenated blood. Only a mechanical fix, the replacement of the diseased valve, can cure this disease. Now, with the revolutionary TAVR procedure, many of the patients who were previously deemed too high risk to undergo surgery can have their aortic valves replaced. The TAVR procedure uses a small incisions in the blood vessels in the patient’s legs to reach and replace the aortic valve instead of incisions in their chests (open heart surgery).

Evaluation for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR / TAVI) Treatment

An evaluation for TAVR begins with an extensive, multidisciplinary evaluation of each patient. The visits include education and discussions with you patient about:

  • Severe aortic stenosis
  • The technical aspects of the TAVR procedure, including:
    • How TAVR is different from open heart AVR
    • What may be gained gain from having your valve replaced
    • What is the criteria for procedure, who is a good candidate for this procedure, and what you may expect post TAVR.

To prepare for the procedure, your aortic valve, coronary arteries and the blood vessels used for access are evaluated for appropriateness. Our TAVR team then meets to evaluate the your study results and put together an individualized plan for the procedure. If you wish to proceed with the procedure, it can usually be scheduled within the week. Patients are usually hospitalized for four to six days after the procedure.

For more information on transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), please call 856.296.6516.