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Stents/TAVR/TAVI

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The heart is one of the most important organs in the human body. The function of the heart is to pump blood. The human heart has four chambers. Each chamber has its own valve to make sure blood flows in the right direction. The aortic valve is the last of the four valves that blood passes through before leaving the heart. The job of the aortic valve is to pump that oxygen-rich blood into the aorta, the largest blood vessel in your body.

The aortic valve has leaflets which open and closes during each heartbeat. In some heart diseases, the valve does not open or close properly disrupting the blood flow to the body. This may lead to the valve leaking and is called valvular regurgitation.

Another form of valve disease is valvular stenosis that commonly affects the aortic valve. This condition occurs due to calcium build-up on the leaflets leading to the stiffing of the valve. The severity of aortic stenosis increases with age and can be classified as mild, moderate, and severe. The stiffing of the valve prevents it from opening fully which reduces or blocks the blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.

When the blood flow through the aortic valve is reduced or blocked, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood to your body. Eventually, this extra work limits the amount of blood it can pump, and this can cause symptoms as well as possibly weaken your heart muscle.

Calcium build-up in the valve, heart defects at birth and rheumatic fever are some of the causes of aortic stenosis.

Some people with aortic valve stenosis may not experience any symptoms for many years.

Signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis may include:

  • ·Abnormal heart sound (heart murmur) heard through a stethoscope
  • ·Chest pain (angina) or tightness with activity
  • ·Feeling faint or dizzy or fainting with activity
  • ·Shortness of breath, especially when you have been active
  • ·Fatigue, especially during times of increased activity
  • ·Heart palpitations — sensations of a rapid, fluttering heartbeat
  • ·Not eating enough (mainly in children with aortic valve stenosis)
  • ·Not gaining enough weight (mainly in children with aortic valve stenosis)

If you have the above symptoms, don’t worry. Visit your doctor today.

An aorta is the largest artery in the human body supplying clean, oxygenated blood to the entire circulatory system. Aortic valve stenosis is a condition where the aorta of the heart gets blocked. The disease can be diagnosed by an experienced Cardiologist by clinical examination, studying the Echocardiogram (‘Echo’), CT angiogram and a few other tests.

1) Blood test

2) ECG

3) Echocardiogram

4) Heart Beat Monitoring

5) Stress Test

Medications can be prescribed to improve the heart’s ability to pump blood which may help compensate for a valve that isn’t working correctly.
However, a diseased heart valve is a mechanical problem that cannot be fixed with medication alone, and surgery is often needed to repair or replace the damaged valve.
Once it is determined that a diseased heart valve needs treatment, the available choices are valve repair or valve replacement.
To know more, visit your doctor today.

The word aortic stenosis may seem alien, but the condition is one of the most common valvular heart diseases in the world. Usually seen in the elderly, with symptoms surfacing mostly after the age of sixty, Aortic stenosis may also be a congenital condition. Our heart contains four valves, the mitral, tricuspid, pulmonary and the aortic. The former two control the flow of blood from one chamber to another while the pulmonary and aortic direct the blood away from the heart. The pulmonary artery directs the blood to the lungs and the aortic artery directs the blood to the rest of the body. In this condition, an aortic valve begins to show signs of stenosis or narrowing, thus reducing its operating capacity. This results in a reduced supply of oxygenated blood to the body which leads to symptoms like breathlessness, chest pain, fainting and palpitations. If the symptoms are mild or not present, the cardiologist may decide to simply monitor and follow up. However, if the stenosis has shown significant progress and has started to exhibit major symptoms, then the best option is to undergo Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).

TAVR is a minimally invasive surgery, as in, the chest bones are not opened up as in a bypass. It is instead a lot like a stent placement procedure. Small incisions are made in one’s groin to access the femoral artery and a hollow tube is placed in it. The new valve is placed on a tube with a balloon tip on one end and crimped to fit the hollow tube. The hollow tube is then inserted into the femoral artery and pushed through until it reaches the diseased valve. At this point, the balloon is inflated which in turn expands the new valve and helps it take its place. The new valve pushes the leaflets of the original valve to secure its place. Once the new valve is up and running, the balloon is deflated and removed.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement is relatively new. As a result, it is advised only for high and immediate risk patients by regulatory authorities and has shown promise in treating patients at low risk too. As shown by extensive research, heart valve replacement is a safe and suitable option for elderly patients, with recent studies demonstrating a 94% [1] [2] survival rate in 5 years. The survival rate for any individual patient also depends on other factors like their overall and cardiac health, co-morbid medical conditions and age. While early TAVR procedures demonstrated success rates of merely 70-80%, advanced cardiac care, surgical technologies and tools have increased the rates to as high as 92%. The overall procedure is also deemed to be nominally risky with a 2% chance of complications and fatalities across all age groups. This holds true even for elderly patients above 80.

The recovery process for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement can take quite a few weeks. Most cardiologists recommend a course of blood thinners to prevent clots and antibiotics to prevent infection for their patient’s optimum recovery. Patients can expect to resume their normal activities gradually once they are totally recovered but will still have to undergo regular check-ups from their cardiologist. These check-ups are vital as they are meant to ensure that the patient’s heart and new valve are working properly.

When it comes to one’s heart, any risk is too big to take. For those whose lives have been restricted by aortic stenosis, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement therapy provides an opportunity to lead a normal life with normal activities again. With experienced surgeons, advanced tools and techniques, this minimally invasive surgery is sure to change the lives of those who are suffering from the advanced stages of the disease.


Your heart has four valves that pumps the blood throughout the body. These four valves work relentlessly to ensure blood supply to all the organs in the body. But sometimes as time passes, the usual wear and tear sets in causing the main valve, called the aortic valve in the heart to be blocked.

Once blocked it becomes very difficult for the heart to pump the adequate amount of blood required by the body resulting in breathlessness, chest-pains and finally heart attacks.

To fix this condition, the patient needs to get a valve replacement surgery. Usually, valve replacements are done through open-heart surgery wherein a new tissue or mechanical prosthetic valve is inserted in the place of the diseased valve.

Open heart surgery is an invasive procedure with a very long recovery period. This can be a difficult challenge for patients, especially elderly patients.

But there is an alternate method to open heart surgery which is less invasive and has a shorter recovery period. It’s called a TAVI.

A TAVI or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) technique is a life-saving treatment modality for patients who are unwilling or are high risk patients to undergo an open heart surgery.

This minimally invasive procedure involves placement of a new valve over the patient’s diseased valve via a catheter inserted through the femoral artery (large artery in groin).

This procedure can thus be done through small openings and hence result in quicker recovery post procedure enabling the patients to go back to their normal lives.

To know more about the procedure, visit your cardiologist today.