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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

The Less Invasive Therapy for Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis (AS) is one of the most common and most serious valve disease problems, affecting approximately 2.5 million Americans aged 75 years or older. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve narrows and cannot fully open due to thickening of the valve leaflets. This heart muscle must work harder to pump blood and blood flow to the rest of the body is reduced. Overtime, this leads to fatigue, chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. After the onset of symptoms, patients with severe aortic stenosis have a survival rate as low as 50% at two years and 20% at five years without aortic valve replacement.

Valve replacement for aortic stenosis can be performed either through open surgery or through minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Open heart surgery can’t always be avoided but it requires that patients be put on a heart-lung machine during surgery and entails a long hospital stay and recovery time. All of this is especially hard on elderly patients. Fortunately, TAVR is increasingly becoming the standard of care for severe aortic stenosis.

Our TAVR Team

Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura, is the only hospital in West Ventura County with a dedicated TAVR team. The team consists of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and radiology and cardiovascular technologists. They have received extensive, procedure-specific training and are used to working together cohesively to achieve the best possible results for each patient.

The TAVR Procedure

Since TAVR was first approved by the FDA in 2011, it has given many people with severe aortic stenosis a new lease on life. Our TAVR experts will determine the best approach for replacing your valve, but the most common technique is the transfemoral approach, which involves making a small incision made in the leg. The TAVR specialist then inserts a catheter into your artery, using guided imagery to thread it up to your heart. First, a balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated to open the narrowed walls of the valve. Then, the replacement valve is threaded up the catheter. Once it is perfectly positioned, new valve is opened, pushing aside the flaps of the original defective valve, and effectively replacing it.

To learn more, please contact our Structural Heart Coordinator at 805-948-5665.