Stanford Health Care doesn’t stop looking for a better way. Whether that’s figuring out how to replace damaged heart valves without open surgery, or developing personalized plans to lower cholesterol, our cardiovascular specialists are committed to providing you with world-class care, regardless of your current state of health.
Patients with severe narrowing of the aortic valve, a condition called aortic stenosis, once required open heart surgery to replace damaged valves. But many of these patients were not healthy enough to undergo surgery to correct their problem, and had to rely on medication alone. Stanford surgeons are now using a minimally invasive, catheter-based treatment to replace damaged valves. Called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, the approach can be used in patients who are at high or moderate risk of developing complications if they undergo traditional surgery.
During transcatheter aortic valve replacement, Stanford surgeons thread thin tubes called catheters through an artery in the leg to reach the patient’s heart and place the new valve. This approach avoids opening the chest, putting patients on heart-lung bypass, and making an incision in the heart. It also offers patients less pain after treatment, less scarring, and faster recovery. Surgical heart valve repair or replacement still provides a longer-lasting mechanical implant, but TAVR makes advanced treatment available to patients unable to undergo open surgery.