Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR, is a groundbreaking minimally invasive procedure for treating aortic stenosis. Until recently, the only treatment for TAVR was open-heart surgery. Performed in the Cath Lab by a team led by an interventional cardiologist and a heart surgeon, TAVR uses a catheter to thread a prosthetic valve up to the heart through a blood vessel in the patient's groin. Once the new valve is perfectly positioned, it is opened, pushing aside the flaps of the natural, defective valve and effectively replacing it.
TAVR was first approved only for frail, elderly patients for whom open-heart surgery is too risky. The procedure is now available to people at an intermittent risk from open-heart surgery and is in the process of being tested in those at the lowest risk for surgery. We anticipate that TAVR will become the standard of care for all aortic stenosis patients in the near future.