When the aortic valve is obstructed, the heart needs to work harder to pump blood. This limits how much blood the heart can pump and may weaken the heart over time. This condition is called aortic valve stenosis.Aortic valve implantation (AVI)
through open-heart surgery is the most common treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis. In this operation the diseased heart valve is removed and a new valve is inserted.
However, some patients may be too sick, or have too many other high-risk issues, to undergo open-heart surgery.
For those patients, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI)
may be an option.
TAVI is a procedure that inserts a new valve inside the diseased aortic valve, and does not require the chest to be opened. Instead, a balloon-expandable aortic heart valve is inserted into the body using a catheter that travels through an incision in the patient's leg or chest.
This less-invasive procedure, which also does not require the use of a heart-lung machine, simplifies this procedure for high-risk patients.
The FDA has only recently approved the Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve for patients with age-related aortic stenosis, and MultiCare was the first health care system in the South Sound to offer this procedure.
Patients Eligible for TAVI
Patients with severe aortic stenosis are eligible for TAVI if open heart surgery is not an option for them because of risk factors, including:
- Advanced age
- Serious comorbid, or related, conditions
- Any other condition that would make open-heart surgery too risky