A National Leader in the Heart of the Midwest
Your heart’s aortic valve should open and close freely, allowing blood to flow through your heart. When your heart valve is too narrow or stiffens due to calcium buildup, the condition (aortic stenosis) restricts blood flow.
Aortic stenosis is the most common type of heart valve disease. An estimated 1.5 million people in the U.S. are currently diagnosed with this debilitating condition.
With aortic stenosis, simply breathing can be difficult. For some people, open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve isn’t an option because of their health or scarring from previous heart surgery.
In these cases, doctors can replace the aortic valve using a lifesaving, minimally invasive procedure, without open heart surgery. The transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure can correct severely diseased aortic valves in high-risk patients.
Aurora Health Care offers the largest and most experienced TAVR program in the region. As pioneers in this minimally invasive approach, we’ve helped more than 1,000 people regain their heart valve function, their energy and the lives they love.
Our interventional cardiologists performed the first TAVR procedure in Wisconsin. Today, we perform more replacements than any other health system in the region.
TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure to replace the aortic valve and treat aortic stenosis. Doctors perform TAVR through a blood vessel in the groin or small incision in the chest, which makes opening the chest unnecessary.
TAVR requires only a small incision to insert the catheters (thin, flexible tubes) and takes less time than traditional open heart surgery. These benefits plus avoiding the need to open the breastbone result in a shorter recovery time.
Before you have a TAVR procedure, you’ll have a few medical tests, such as:
We perform TAVR in our hybrid cardiac cath (catheterization) lab. The anesthesiologist (doctor who puts you to sleep and manages pain), cardiologist (heart specialist) and heart surgeon work together to perform the procedure.
The procedure takes about one and a half hours, less time than open heart surgery.
After we complete the heart valve replacement, you’ll go to a recovery room or the intensive care unit (ICU).
Most people receive a blood thinner, such as aspirin and/or clopidogrel (Plavix®), after the procedure. You’ll keep taking this medication until your doctor says it’s OK to stop.