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happy couple outsideTAVR Explained

Having a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is less invasive than open-heart surgery. It is done in many ways. The most common approach involves making a small incision in the leg, called the transfemoral approach. Your care team might consider other approaches based on your CT scan.

A TAVR usually takes 2-3 hours, depending on your health and the approach. Your care team will determine the type of anesthesia that’s best for you. You will likely be awake and given medication to help you relax and block the pain.

The Transfemoral Approach

If your care team opts for the transfemoral approach, a small incision will be made in your upper leg. Your doctor will insert a short, hollow tube called a sheath into your femoral artery. The new valve will be compressed so it’s small enough to be placed on a delivery system. That system is advanced to your heart across your aortic valve. Once it reaches your unhealthy valve, your old valve will be pushed aside, and the new valve will be put in place.

Your team will do an ultrasound of your heart to ensure the new valve is working properly before removing the delivery system and closing your leg. People usually stay in the hospital one or two days after this procedure.

The transfemoral approach

man with doctorAt Enloe, TAVRs are usually done on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. As your procedure approaches, a caregiver will contact you, so we can see you a few days before your valve replacement.

Some people feel relief from their symptoms right after their TAVR. For others it takes longer. Research shows people who have this procedure have better heart function and a better quality of life in 30 days.

You will need to adjust your activities during recovery. Participating in Enloe’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program can safely improve your recovery and help you increase your physical activity.

Enloe’s Structural Heart & Valve Center

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