Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
Aortic valve stenosis is a type of heart valve disease that narrows the aortic valve. As the heart works harder to pump blood, the risk of heart failure and death increases. A valve replacement lowers this risk by improving blood flow and decreasing heart strain.
Heart valve specialists at the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute are nationally recognized for their expertise in performing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). We perform a large number of TAVR procedures every year.
What is TAVR?
Open-heart surgery is the standard approach to replacing a diseased heart valve. Some people with heart valve disease have other health issues that make open-heart surgery too risky. TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure, which can be done through the femoral artery in the leg (transfemoral), or small incision in the chest (transapical). With this approach, your physician:
- Threads a catheter (long, thin tube) through the femoral artery in the leg until it reaches the heart
- Inserts an expandable replacement valve through the catheter to the heart
- Uses a small incision in the chest to help place the replacement valve
- Expands the replacement valve, which pushes the diseased valve leaflets out of the way
Benefits of TAVR
Your physician will assess your personal situation to determine if TAVR is right for you. Benefits of TAVR include:
- Smaller chest incisions or no incision at all
- No cutting of the breastbone or opening of the ribcage
- No need for a heart-lung bypass machine
- Less pain and scarring
- Faster recovery time
- Reduced risk of infection
AHN heart valve clinic
All AHN hospitals provide heart valve disease care and treatments. If desired, you may receive TAVR care at the AHN Heart Valve Clinic located within the AHN Cardiovascular Institute at Allegheny General Hospital and AHN Cardiovascular Institute at Saint Vincent Hospital.