TAVR Is an Alternative to Traditional Open-Heart Surgery
Texoma Medical Center is the first in the region to add transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), an advanced, minimally invasive valve replacement option. TAVR can offer hope to patients who have severe aortic valve stenosis and are at intermediate or high risk for traditional open-heart surgery.
Interventional Cardiologist Maziar Mahjoobi, DO, explains TAVR is sought-after because patients can go home the next day instead of being in the hospital for a week following open-heart surgery. “The procedure takes about an hour, is less risky and can offer quicker recovery and relief of symptoms. But patients need to meet certain criteria to qualify for TAVR,” he says.
A Dedicated Clinic
The Valve Clinic, part of the Texoma Heart Institute and located within the hospital, is dedicated to patients with aortic valve stenosis and other heart valve conditions. Patients can be referred for evaluation and further testing to determine if TAVR is right for them. Director of Cardiovascular Services, Lisa Smith, MSN, RN, says testing may include echocardiograms, CT scans, cardiac catheterizations, carotid ultrasounds and other appropriate tests. “The patient’s case is presented at a valve conference with cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, anesthesiologists and other support personnel and a decision is made on the best plan for the patient,” she says. “If the patient is not a candidate for TAVR, then other options are discussed, such as open-heart surgery or medical management of their condition.”
What Is Aortic Valve Stenosis?
This common heart condition is caused by the narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve opening. Blood flow becomes restricted and the valve has difficulty opening and closing. The heart's capability to pump blood to the rest of the body is reduced, and a buildup of pressure can occur in the heart and lungs causing shortness of breath, chest pain, or pass-out spells. The standard treatment is to replace the aortic valve, usually with open-heart surgery. But if the patient has other health conditions, or is thought to have other complications following surgery, the TAVR procedure is an option and can offer an improved quality of life for some patients.
Could You Have Possible Aortic Valve Stenosis?
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your physician immediately:
- Heart murmur
- Heart palpitations
- Rheumatic fever
- Shortness of breath during activity
- Pass-out spells
How TAVR Works
During the procedure, the surgeon inserts a new valve within the old damaged valve. It is usually inserted through the femoral artery in the leg and guided through the arteries into the heart. Once in place, the device is expanded to take over the original valve’s function, allowing blood to flow efficiently out of the heart.
Dr. Mahjoobi says that patients who live in the region appreciate the new cardiac services. “It makes it more convenient for them because they don’t have to travel out of the area. Everything they need is right here,” he says. “If they have surgery or a TAVR, they follow up here at the clinic in 30 days, then at six months. After that, it is with their cardiologist.”
For more information about TAVR or to make an appointment, please contact Valve Coordinator Michaela Prater, RN, at 903-416-4233.