Transcatheter Valve Replacement Procedure (TAVR)

Puneet Khanna, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Eisenhower Desert Cardiology Center, explains the transcatheter valve replacement procedure (TAVR).

TAVR is different from open-heart surgery in that it is a less invasive approach to treat your diseased valve. The TAVR team will determine the best approach for replacing your valve once your entire evaluation is completed. TAVR can be done in multiple ways, but the most common approach involves a small incision made in the leg. This is called the transfemoral approach. Other approaches for TAVR may be considered by your doctor depending on your specific anatomy, which is determined by your CT scan.

These alternative approaches include making a small incision in the neck (carotid), small incision under the collarbone (subclavian), an incision in the right upper chest (aortic), an incision in your left lower chest (apical), or small incision in the leg into a large vein transferred to an artery (transcaval). Depending on your health and the procedural approach recommended by your doctor, the average time of the procedure is two to three hours.

Depending on your health care needs, the team will determine what type of anesthesia is best for you. You will likely be awake and given medication to help you relax and block pain.Sometimes, it may be necessary to be fully asleep. As with any medical procedure, there are risks.Although this is a lower risk procedure, it does not mean there is no risk. The risks of TAVR include: needing a permanent pacemaker, bleeding, vascular complications, stroke, kidney failure and even death.