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TAVR: A New Treatment for Aortic Stenosis

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TAVR: A New Treatment for Aortic Stenosis

Covenant Heart & Vascular Institute now offers new hope for patients with aortic stenosis through a technology called TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement).

With the opening of the Advanced Valve Clinic, Covenant Health's Heart and Vascular Institute is the first and only heart program in Lubbock and the region to perform TAVR. The TAVR procedure is the latest FDA-approved treatment for people suffering from severe aortic stenosis who do not qualify for traditional surgical valve replacement due to age or medical conditions.

TAVR is a less invasive approach to valve repair that results in a shorter recovery time, less pain and improved quality of life. Soon after the TAVR procedure, most patients show immediate improvement in breathing and overall comfort. TAVR patients are up and out of bed the next day, and usually go home from the hospital two or three days after the procedure to live an active life and participate in the activities they enjoy.

Benefits of TAVR include:

  • Minimally invasive (no open chest)
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Significantly less pain
  • Performed without stopping the heart (no need for cardiopulmonary bypass)
  • Improved quality of life

In a recent U.S. randomized trial, a group of aortic valve stenosis patients receiving only medical therapy had a one-year survival rate of 50 percent; Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) was shown to improve one-year survival to 70 percent. According to the American Heart Association, more than five million Americans are diagnosed with heart valve disease each year with up to 1.5 million people suffering from aortic stenosis.

Who's a Candidate?

Aortic valve stenosis is a form of heart disease in which the valve that regulates the flow of blood from the heart is prevented from opening fully. This can lead to chest pain or chest tightness, heart palpitations, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Most patients who have aortic stenosis need to have the valve replaced. While this is considered the most effective way to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life, it requires open-heart surgery, and some patients who have coexisting conditions are not well enough to undergo such a procedure. For these patients, a less invasive and safer approach may be TAVR, where the valve is repaired through small openings and therefore make recovery quicker and easier.

If your doctor determines that you are too sick for open-heart surgery, and if medicine is not helping you feel better, TAVR may be an alternative. All patients with aortic valve stenosis are carefully evaluated to determine if they are a candidate for a traditional surgical aortic valve replacement, or if TAVR can be considered a better option.

To find out if you are a candidate or to schedule an appointment with a Cardiologist at Covenant Health, call (866) 4 COVENANT.

How the Procedure Works

The differences between open-heart valve replacement and TAVR are significant. Typically, a valve replacement requires the chest to be surgically separated (open) for the procedure. With TAVR, the valve is repaired through small openings in the thigh or groin that leave all the chest bones in place.

During the innovative TAVR procedure, a replacement valve is delivered through a catheter – a long, flexible tube — while the heart is still beating, eliminating the need for bypass. A collapsible aortic heart valve is inserted within the existing diseased valve, and begins to function properly as soon as the balloon catheter deflates and permits the return of blood flow.

With a new aortic valve in place, patients usually enjoy immediate benefits from the TAVR procedure in terms of blood circulation, and experience a much more rapid recovery than they would from a traditional, open-heart valve replacement.

Choose Covenant Health.

Covenant successfully performed the first TAVR procedure in January 2014. Until now, the standard treatment for aortic stenosis has been valve replacement through open-heart surgery, but as the incidence of aortic valve stenosis increases with age, some patients are poor surgical candidates for a variety of health reasons (advanced age, co-morbid disease, frailty, etc.).

For the TAVR and other complex valve and heart procedures, Covenant Health constructed the first and only Hybrid cardiac operative suite, along with opening the Advanced Cardiac Valve Clinic for the treatment of complex heart valve disorders such as aortic stenosis.

Covenant's state-of-the-art Hybrid cardiac operative suite allows interventional cardiologists, radiologists, and cardiovascular surgeons to work together in one room to perform interventional procedures under the most complex conditions, including patients who are considered high risk.

Covenant Health is the region's leader in advanced valve treatment and cardiac care services. Covenant team of physicians and care givers along with state of the art technology provides patients the effective options for the treatment of heart and valve disease.

For all your general heart care needs – choose Covenant Health.

  • First in region to offer advanced cardiac valve procedures including TAVR
  • First in region to offer an Advanced Cardiac Valve Clinic with a multidisciplinary physician team approach in the hybrid surgical suite
  • First to have offered non-surgical carotid artery stenting
  • First to offer abdominal aortic endografting
  • The regions only Cycle 3 and Cycle 4 Accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI (Angioplasty)
  • Ranked "Best in Lubbock for Cardiac Surgery" in 2013 according to Healthgrades (the area's only five-star coronary bypass graft surgery recipient)
  • Consistently ranked in the top 1% of the nation's heart programs by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)and ranked 6th best cardiac program in the state of Texas in 2013

Our Advanced Valve Clinic Medical Team

Our multi-disciplinary Advanced Valve Clinic and TAVR medical team includes interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac imaging specialists, anesthesiologists and pre- and postoperative care providers. We work together to ensure appropriate patient selection and optimal outcomes.

To find out if you are a candidate or to schedule an appointment with a Cardiologist at Covenant Health, call (866) 4 COVENANT.