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Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a procedure that may be recommended for patients who have severe aortic stenosis as an alternative to open heart surgery. Compared to surgical valve replacement, TAVR is a less invasive method of replacing the aortic valve.
Stanford was the first TAVR program in Northern California and began performing TAVR procedures in 2008. Over 1500 TAVR procedures have been performed at Stanford and currently approximately 300 TAVR cases are performed annually. The Stanford TAVR Program is offered through Stanford Interventional Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery, world leaders in diagnosing and treating heart conditions.
Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVR) is also performed at Stanford as a treatment for mitral regurgitation. Like TAVR, it is a less invasive method of repairing the mitral valve compared to surgical repair.
During transcatheter aortic valve replacement, we thread thin tubes called catheters through an artery in the leg to reach your heart. We place a new valve made from animal tissue, relieving narrowing called aortic stenosis. This approach avoids opening your chest, putting you on a heart-lung bypass machine, or making an incision in your heart.
Until TAVR became possible, open surgery provided the only treatment for severe stenosis. Our team has helped lead three expansions of TAVR’s use, each involving a different group of people and surgical risk:
Many people cannot undergo surgery to replace their valve because they might not survive the operation or might develop other serious complications. This group includes people who are sicker or previously underwent open-heart surgery. TAVR has given them hope.
TAVR recently gained FDA approval for those at moderate surgical risk as well, providing a choice between an operation and catheter treatment. Surgical heart valve repair or replacement can still provide a good option, helping people who may benefit from a longer-lasting mechanical implant. TAVR offers:
Less pain immediately after treatment
We now participate in a clinical trial studying whether TAVR’s safety and effectiveness matches an operation for people with low surgical risk.
Fred Wilder, 84, is a retired farmer who lives in Visalia. He’s the stoic type and didn’t even realize he was having trouble getting around. "I was short of breath a lot,” said Wilder, “breathing heavy as I walked across the room. I didn’t notice it much, but my family did.”
PREPARE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT
If you are considering or have been told that a heart valve procedure may be beneficial for you, please contact our Heart Valve Clinic office at 650.725.2687. We will inform you and your physician of all the necessary medical records and test results required prior to your evaluation with our clinical team.
Please contact us with questions you may have regarding the TAVR and MitraClip procedures.
Stanford Health Care provides comprehensive services to refer and track patients, as well as the latest information and news for physicians and office staff. For help with all referral needs and questions, visit Referring Physicians.