Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a procedure used as an alternative to open heart surgery in treating severe aortic stenosis, a condition which is commonly found among elderly patients. It will be performed if the doctor feels that a patient would be put at risk by the more invasive open heart surgery.
The Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) Procedure
The doctor will begin the implantation of an artificial heart valve by first inserting a catheter into the patient's body via the femoral artery (located in the groin), or by piercing the tissues at the apex of the heart through a small incision in the chest. When the catheter is guided towards and reaches the aortic valve, the doctor will then inflate a balloon within the catheter, placing pressure on the artificial heart valve and securing it in position. The new artificial heart valve will then replace the existing aortic valve as its condition continues to deteriorate. This procedure normally takes around 2-3 hours.
Which Patients are Suitable for a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)?
- Patients who suffer from severe aortic stenosis.
- Elderly patients, especially those aged 80 or older.
- High-risk surgical patients; a doctor or treatment provider will assess the patient's surgical risk level based on certain criteria.
- Patients who are expected to live longer than 1 year, and are not in a stage of advanced cancer.
- Patients who suffer from a chronic condition such as severe atherosclerosis, or who have previously undergone heart surgery.
Based on these criteria, a doctor will consider which method of treatment is suitable for each patient.
The Benefits of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)
Treatment with a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) helps to reduce complications, such as infection, as TAVI provides an alternative to the more invasive open heart surgery. Patients who receive TAVI can recover quickly, having received only a minimal incision. TAVI patients spend approximately 5-7 days recovering at the hospital, while patients who undergo the more invasive open heart surgery need approximately 7-10 days of recovery time.
Risks and Complications of TAVI
The risks associated with implanting an artificial heart valve using a catheter are as follows:
- Bleeding or blood clots formed under the skin, or infection at the site of the catheter
- Damaged blood vessels
- Acute kidney injury
- Thrombosis, which can cause stroke
- Heart attack
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Problems caused by the artificial heart valve becoming dislodged
- As with any form of heart surgery, there is always the risk of death
Heart (Cardiology) Center
Bumrungrad International Clinic (BIC) Building, 14th
Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand