Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
The visionary alternative to open heart surgery is called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR). Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John’s Hospital was the first hospital in downstate Illinois to share this life-saving treatment that’s giving hope to heart patients who need it most.
Guided by X-ray images, a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery in the upper thigh. With the heart still beating, a collapsible heart valve inside the catheter is guided into the chest. This valve is only about the diameter of a #2 pencil. Once inside, the replacement valve is expanded, pushing aside the damaged valves. The replacement valve is then secured into place, where it begins to function immediately. The catheter is then removed. Because the procedure is minimally invasive and requires virtually no cutting, most patients can expect an in-hospital recovery time of three days or less.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should start feeling better right away. This is because your heart valve is now working properly. Some patients may take longer to feel better. Many TAVR patients report benefits like:
- Having more energy
- Being able to do everyday activities
- Breathing normally
- Experiencing less pain
- Feeling less anxious