People who have aortic stenosis (a narrowed aortic valve) can find themselves struggling with a host of debilitating symptoms, including fatigue, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, swelling in the legs, and shortness of breath. The condition is particularly common among older people, especially those with congestive heart failure. For years, the only treatment for severe cases was open heart surgery to replace the bad valve, which can start to restrict blood flow. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a fairly new procedure that takes a minimally invasive approach to achieve the same results, and it involves less pain and a shorter recovery time.
“Transcatheter technologies have allowed us to take care of patients with valvular heart disease who would never have been able to tolerate traditional open heart surgery,” says Abeel Mangi, MD, MBA, surgical director of the Structural Heart and Cardiac Valve Program at Yale New Haven Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Center. “These include very elderly patients, those who have had many prior heart operations, or those with certain unique conditions. For patients like these, transcatheter valve replacement has been proven to help them live longer. In fact, we are entering an era where transcatheter valve technologies may soon become available to most patients with heart valve disease.”