Watch an Innovative Heart Procedure Live — Video

You may know that heart disease is the number-one killer in America. (Cancer is number two.)

Fortunately, modern medicine continues to develop new ways to treat medical conditions such as heart and vascular diseases. One innovation called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) helps fix a heart valve problem called aortic stenosis.

The aorta is the artery that carries blood out of the heart to the rest of your body. The aortic valve sits between the aorta and the heart to keep blood from flowing back into the heart from the aorta.

With aortic stenosis, the aortic valve doesn’t fully open, so blood flow to the body is reduced. This can result in fatigue and chest pain.

The TAVR procedure can repair the valve so the patient can safely return to more normal activities.

TAVR is used in high- and extreme-risk patients so they can avoid open-heart surgery to fix severe heart valve problems. The TAVR procedure allows patients to be treated when they may not have had other treatment options in the past. This approach also allows patients to go home sooner.

To learn more about TAVR, we take our camera into the operating room to watch the procedure live.

Aortic stenosis happens in about two percent of people over age 65. It’s more common in men. Symptoms of aortic stenosis include:

  • Becoming easily tired.
  • Breathing problems when exercising.
  • Shortness of breath at rest.
  • Fainting, weakness or dizziness with activity.
  • Feeling the heart beat (palpitations).
  • Chest pain that may get worse with activity. The pain can reach into the arm, neck or jaw. The chest may also feel tight or squeezed.

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone you care about, see your health care professional.

Meet the Author

Daniel O'Hair, MD is a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. He also serves as the director of the Surgical Robotics Program at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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