Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Aortic valve stenosis occurs when the heart's aortic valve narrows most frequently as a result of calcium deposits in the valve tissue. This narrowing prevents the valve from opening fully, which obstructs blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. This narrowing is a progressive, life-threatening condition that affects up to 7 percent of Americans over age 65. Aortic stenosis can cause chest pain, fainting, fatigue, leg swelling and shortness of breath. It may also lead to heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure used to replace a diseased aortic valve, may be an option if a patient has aortic stenosis that causes the above symptoms.

Symptoms of Aortic Valve Stenosis:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty exercising or other physical activity
  • Fainting (syncopal) episodes
  • Heart murmur
  • Shortness of breath, fatigue
  • Swelling in the legs or feet

Who Qualifies for the TAVR Procedure?

TAVR may be an option for most patients with aortic valve stenosis. TAVR may also be the only treatment option in patients who cannot undergo open-heart surgery.

The decision to treat aortic stenosis with TAVR is made after consultation with our multidisciplinary team of heart specialists who work with patients to determine the best treatment option. The UF Health Cardiovascular Center – Jacksonville multidisciplinary TAVR team represents a strong partnership including cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists and cardiovascular imaging experts, offering patients the highest level of expertise and care.

Benefits of the TAVR Procedure:

  • Improved survival
  • Improved symptoms
  • Less invasive and faster recovery than open-heart surgery
  • Reduced hospital admission for heart failure
  • Short hospital admission (1-3 nights)

What to Expect During the TAVR Procedure?

At UF Health Jacksonville, the procedure is performed by a team of 2 interventional cardiologist specialized on structural heart disease procedures and 1 cardiac surgeon. On average, the TAVR procedure takes about one to two hours to be performed and without the need of general anesthesia in most patients.

Unlike traditional aortic valve replacement through open-heart surgery, which involves surgically opening the chest to replace a patient's aortic valve while on the heart-lung pump machine, the minimally invasive TAVR is done through a small incision in the groin in most patients. During the TAVR procedure, the catheter, which houses the new aortic valve, is inserted into the femoral artery in the groin and placed inside the old diseased aortic valve. The new TAVR valve is implanted with x-ray and echocardiographic (ultrasound) guidance, and starts functioning immediately. After the new valve is implanted, the catheters are removed from the body and the small skin incision is stitched.

Recovering from the TAVR Procedure

You should expect to stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 nights following this procedure. The majority of patients are able to perform regular activities within a few days. After your TAVR procedure, you will be referred to the outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program.

Why Choose UF Health Jacksonville

UF Health Jacksonville is a leader in minimally invasive procedures. Each patient receives a custom treatment plan designed for optimal outcomes. As part of the leading academic medical center in the Southeast, the UF Health Jacksonville Cardiovascular Center offers more treatment options than other facilities and performs hundreds of procedures a year. As a patient at UF Health Jacksonville, you will benefit from academic, leading-edge research and treatments.