Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) for Aortic Valve Disease
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a new, minimally invasive treatment for some forms of aortic valve stenosis. The TAVR procedure allows for insertion of an artificial valve using a catheter advanced to the heart through the groin artery. Patients who have TAVR typically have a small incision in the groin and are walking within 12 hours of the procedure. Additionally, there are other minimally invasive methods to access the heart for catheter based delivery of the artificial valve. TAVR was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 after large clinical trials found it to be a very effective option for patients with symptomatic, severe aortic stenosis who are not able to have standard open heart surgery, or are high risk for open heart surgery.
The aortic valve, one of the four heart valves, is essential for blood to flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Aortic stenosis is a progressive and debilitating disease that occurs when the aortic valve no longer opens well due build-up of calcium deposits on the valve leaflets. If aortic stenosis becomes severe, patients often experience progressive weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fainting or near-fainting spells. Advanced aortic valve stenosis, if untreated, often leads to death with mortality rates rivaling those of some aggressive cancers. The standard approach to correct aortic valve stenosis has been surgical aortic valve replacement whereby a cardiac surgeon removes the diseased valve and implants an artificial valve via open heart surgery. Open heart surgery for valve replacement is effective, but can be a high risk option for some individuals with multiple medical problems. Additionally, it is not an option for some patients due to presence of severe medical conditions, advanced age, and frailty.
The Heart Valve Program at Overlake Medical Center (OHMC) and Overlake Medical Clinics (OMC) is a collaborative effort with Group Health Physicians. It is a community-based program that leverages the multidisciplinary expertise of our providers to offer an array of catheter based and surgical options for patients with valve disease. The Program focuses on state-of-the-art valve technologies that increase treatment options. The Heart Valve Program, the first to offer TAVR on the Eastside of the Seattle/Puget Sound region, began in 2012 via collaboration between multiple experts across cardiovascular specialties at Overlake Medical Clinics and Group Health. This collaboration has culminated in a cohesive “Heart Team” that is committed to the delivery of safe and effective care to patients suffering from advanced valve disease.
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