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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

TAVR is a treatment procedure for patients with aortic stenosis who are too ill to undergo traditional open-heart aortic valve replacement surgery.

During a TAVR procedure, your doctor replaces your diseased aortic valve with a new valve. Instead of opening your chest, your doctor uses a catheter (small tube) to thread the valve through a small incision in the groin or the chest wall. During this procedure, your heart remains beating the entire time.

Studies have shown that patients achieve better outcomes when they undergo a TAVR procedure than they do with medication alone.

Evaluation for TAVR

The first step is to complete a TAVR Assessment, so we can gather information about your heart health. Once the TAVR Assessment is complete, the TAVR team will be able to review your case and make a recommendation. You will not receive a new valve during the TAVR assessment.

We will call to schedule you for either an office visit or a cardiac catheterization. During this visit, you should bring a list of your medications. Your assessment will include:

  • Questions for you about your everyday life, what you can and cannot do for yourself, your living situation, and your heart symptoms.
  • Medical checkup during which a doctor or nurse practitioner will ask you questions about your heart and your health.
  • Cardiac surgeon consultation to review your chart and examine you to determine a best recommendation for conventional aortic valve replacement, TAVR or medications.
  • Questions from you and your family about your treatment options.

Making a decision

Once your TAVR Assessment is complete, the team will discuss all the information we have about you, your heart and your general health, to make a recommendation about the best treatment option for your severe aortic stenosis. If you and your physician decide you will have a TAVR procedure, you will need the following tests:

  • Cardiac Echocardiogram (Echo): This ultrasound of your heart provides information about your heart valves and how well your heart functions.
  • Cardiac Catheterization (Angiogram): A cardiologist will perform this test to study the function of your heart and heart valves and to measure pressures within the chambers of the heart.
  • Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE): If the doctors need more information after your cardiac echocardiogram, you will be scheduled for a TEE, a more detailed echocardiogram that uses the esophagus to look at your heart.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: This painless 30-minute test uses X-ray technology and computers to give your doctors information they need about your heart and/or your leg arteries.

The TAVR Team

If you are considering a TAVR procedure, be assured you are in the best possible hands. The MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute was the fourth cardiac center in the country to perform clinical trials on the TAVR procedure. We perform 70 TAVR procedures each year, making us one of the top five cardiac centers in the nation for this procedure. Our TAVR team—including cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists—have worked closely together to improve our overall heart valve program, based on what we've learned from the TAVR clinical trials.

The principal investigators in our TAVR trials include:

Request an evaluation for the TAVR procedure. If you have any questions about TAVR, or if your heart condition changes a lot while you are waiting for the procedure, please call MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute's TAVR Team at 202-877-5975.