TAVR at Beacon
Lifesaving treatment for severe aortic stenosis
If you have severe aortic stenosis and have been told you are not a candidate for open-heart surgery, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) could be an option for you. Our structural heart team is trained and highly experienced in this potentially lifesaving procedure.
In aortic stenosis, the valve on the aorta – the main artery that carries blood out of the heart to the rest of the body – does not open fully, which decreases blood flow. TAVR uses a thin tube called a catheter, threaded through the blood vessels to reach the heart valve instead of opening up the chest and removing the diseased valve. A new valve is inserted into your aortic valve through the catheter and pushes the diseased valve’s leaflets (the flaps that open and close, allowing blood to flow through the valve) aside.
TAVR can be done through a tiny incision in the leg (called transfemoral), between the ribs (called transapical) or in the chest (called transaortic). Your doctors will decide the best method for you.
We’ll make sure you know how to take care of yourself before, during and after the procedure. Your safety, comfort and positive outcome are our top priorities.
About aortic stenosis
Also called aortic valve stenosis, this condition happens when the aortic valve narrows and the left ventricle has to work harder to pump blood.
As the pressure builds, the walls of the left ventricle can become thicker.
Aortic stenosis may be present from birth (congenital), but most often it develops later in life. It is most often caused by calcium deposits that build up and narrow the valve. This is called calcific aortic stenosis and affects mainly older people. Rheumatic fever can also cause aortic stenosis years after the infection, and this is called rheumatic aortic stenosis.
Many people find out they have aortic stenosis after a doctor notices they have a heart murmur (an unusual sound heard during a heartbeat) and orders tests. Some people don’t have symptoms until the condition is advanced. Symptoms can include:
- Chest pain that worsens with activity, causing the chest to feel tight or squeezed.
- Pain in the arm, neck or jaw.
- Cough, possibly bloody.
- Difficulty breathing during activity.
- Becoming tired easily.
- Feeling the heartbeat (palpitations).
- Fainting, weakness or dizziness.
A better life with TAVR
Aortic stenosis can lead to serious health problems, such as heart failure, blood clots, atrial flutter or fibrillation, and high blood pressure in the arteries called pulmonary hypertension. TAVR can prevent these complications so you can be there for the ones you love.
It’s best to be treated by a multidisciplinary team with extensive experience with aortic stenosis and its treatment. Beacon has the experience and technology you’re looking for, close to home.
Elkhart General Hospital’s TAVR program has earned three stars – the highest rating possible – from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the American College of Cardiology. Hospitals must meet certain criteria to be eligible for the star rating. Only 7% of the eligible sites received a three-star rating, placing the Elkhart General TAVR program in an elite group.