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Let's talk TAVR

Lankenau Medical Center February 4, 2014 General Wellness

You may have heard of a new cardiac procedure called TAVR, short for transcatheter aortic valve replacement. But unless you’re in the medical field or you’ve considered TAVR as a treatment option, chances are you might not know much about the procedure.

In short, TAVR is a minimally invasive treatment solution for patients with aortic stenosis, a condition where the aortic valve becomes narrow, reducing the ability of the blood to leave the heart and circulate to the rest of the body causing symptoms that include shortness of breath, chest discomfort or pain, dizziness, fainting and heart rhythm disturbances. While there are many causes of aortic stenosis, TAVR is designed to treat patients whose stenosis is related to the aging process. Traditionally, this type of aortic stenosis has been treated with open heart surgery.

“Patients with aortic stenosis who are considered too high risk or have other medical conditions to have their valve replaced with open heart surgery, now have the option of TAVR to treat their aortic stenosis," explains Lisa Igidbashian, MSN, CRNP, valve coordinator at Lankenau Medical Center. "TAVR is a better and safer option for patients who are elderly, frail or with other health problems.”TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a catheter to place a new aortic valve within the patient’s heart. The catheter with the new valve is placed through a small incision in the leg or the side of the chest and passed through the blood vessels and delivers the new valve to heart.

“Prior to TAVR, people who were not eligible for open heart surgery had only a few years to live, “says Igidbashian. "TAVR provides the opportunity for a better quality of life for patients with aortic stenosis who cannot undergo open heart surgery.”

Still, it’s worth noting that TAVR isn’t a cure-all and it is not suitable for all patients with aortic stenosis. Patients will be evaluated by their cardiologist and then undergo diagnostic testing and then be evaluated by a physician team specialized in TAVR. Learn more about the valve clinic team at Lankenau Medical Center.

A team of cardiac surgeons, echocardiologists and interventional cardiologists will evaluate your history and provide a clinical examination and diagnostic testing to determine whether they are candidates for the TAVR procedure. This process of diagnostic testing and team evaluation provides a comprehensive review of the best treatment option for and treatment plan that is individualized for each patient.

Lankenau Medical Center is the only Main Line Health hospital to offer the TAVR procedure. Call Lisa Igidbashian at 484.476.4903 to learn more about TAVR, including whether you may be a candidate and for more information or an evaluation.