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TAVR: Minimally Invasive Alternative to Open Heart Surgery

Beebe Healthcare is the first hospital in Sussex County to perform the innovative transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures. This procedure is for patients with severe aortic stenosis in which valve replacement is required.

Aortic stenosis is a build-up of calcium deposits on the last door of the heart, known as the aortic valve. This causes the valve to narrow, reducing blood flow to the rest of the body.

Over time, the heart has to work harder to push blood through the body. This narrowing can lead to debilitating symptoms such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fatigue, heart disease, and shortened lifespan.


What is Aortic Stenosis?

Aortic stenosis is the condition caused by the narrowing of one of your heart valves. Heart valves control blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. When you have aortic stenosis this blood flow is interrupted or slowed, meaning blood may not be flowing through your body as it should.

Aortic stenosis is a serious problem that can lead to heart failure, permanent damage to the heart, and even death.

If you have aortic stenosis, you may experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest tightness or chest pain.

Aortic stenosis can severely diminish the quality of your life. You may find you must limit daily activities, including walking, climbing stairs, or performing simple household chores.


What the TAVR Procedure Involves

During the TAVR procedure, you will come to Beebe's Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus. The procedure is performed in our advanced Interventional Cardiology Lab where you will be placed under general anesthesia.

During the procedure, an artificial valve is implanted through a catheter, which is inserted through a large artery in the patient’s leg. Only a few small incisions are required. This eliminates the need for open-heart surgery and use of a heart lung machine. The procedure takes about two hours to complete.

In addition to repairing the valves, Beebe's structural heart team also uses a device that protects your body from the potential of a blood clot during a TAVR procedure.

Beebe is the first and only hospital in Delaware to use the SENTINEL Cerebral Protection System (CPS) during TAVR. SENTINEL captures thrombus debris. When left untreated, this debris can cause blockages and lead to stroke. Stroke is a potential complication with a transcatheter procedure such as TAVR.


Why Choose Beebe for TAVR?

Beebe's highly trained and qualified structural heart team has decades of experience in interventional cardiology and transcatheter procedures. The team works with you, your cardiologist, your primary care providers, and your family to determine the best solution for your health concerns.

TAVR is an FDA-approved procedure for those with medium- and high-risk aortic stenosis.

The benefits of the TAVR procedure include:

  • Lower risk of infection
  • Faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay compared to traditional open-heart surgery. Most patients return home the day after their procedure.

TAVR Gets You Back to Living

The TAVR procedure allows those with aortic stenosis to get back to enjoying life. When you live with untreated aortic stenosis, you may often feel out of breath or weak.

After the procedure, you feel like you can breathe again. Importantly, TAVR can lengthen and improve your quality of life.

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Who is a Candidate for TAVR?

Mild aortic stenosis may be treatable with medication. Patients who are diagnosed with medium-risk or severe aortic stenosis will require surgical treatment. Previously, TAVR was used only if patients were considered inoperable or high-risk for a surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) or open-heart surgery. Now, the procedure has received FDA approval for low- to intermediate-risk patients.

TAVR also can be used to replace failing tissue aortic valves, eliminating the need for those patients to have a second open-heart surgery.

There are many factors that determine if TAVR or SAVR is the best treatment option for patients. If you have a valve condition, discuss TAVR with your cardiologist as you might be a candidate for the procedure. Beebe's structural heart team is here for you. We will talk to you and your family about your best treatment options, recovery, and what you can expect following the procedure.

Beebe is proud to be the leading provider of TAVR procedures in Delaware. If you would like more information from Beebe, please fill out the form below.