Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure that replaces the aortic valve without removing the old, damaged valve. From the groin, a catheter is threaded into the femoral artery to the aorta, which leads to the heart. A fully collapsible replacement valve is delivered to the valve site through the catheter. Once in position, the valve is unfurled and begins working immediately. Afterwards, patients’ symptoms disappear, and they have more energy. Within four to six hours following surgery, they are up and walking.
Virginia Hospital Center is nationally recognized for its excellent patient outcomes in cardiac care. Our TAVR Program offers a coordinated approach to an alternative procedure for patients who cannot undergo open heart surgery. Our physicians are very proud of the efforts made with their colleagues to create a regional heart center for cardiology, cardiovascular surgery and structural heart disease at Virginia Hospital Center.
The TAVR procedure is:
A Multidisciplinary Approach
First, patients are evaluated independently by a cardiovascular surgeon and an interventional cardiologist. Then, our physicians bring together a team of specialists to evaluate which valve replacement procedure is the best treatment option for each patient, whether performed minimally invasively or as open heart surgery.
A Team Approach
It involves two cardiologists and a cardiac surgeon for placement of the valve. Our TAVR team makes every decision together. It involves 12-15 clinicians in the patient’s care, including cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists, radiologists, perfusionists, cardiovascular operating room and cardiac catheterization nurses, registered cardiac technicians and valve coordinators. After surgery, patients require the highest level of cardiac care — staying one day in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) and one day in the Stepdown Unit. Through the entire process—from prescreening to surgery and beyond — the valve coordinator guides the patient and is available to answer any questions at any time. The typical hospital stay for a patient having the TAVR procedure is 2.5 days. Through the many decisions leading up to and during TAVR, the team is constantly coordinating care and discussing options for the patient.
Outcomes for the TAVR Program at Virginia Hospital Center are excellent. One of the advantages of this approach is that light sedation is used instead of general anesthesia. The patient’s recovery begins while they are still in the Hospital and they can return to their normal activities very quickly.