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What is the TAVR heart procedure?

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Quick Answer

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, is a procedure for patients with aortic stenosis, or a narrowed aortic valve that does not open properly, according to Mayo Clinic. The procedure is also called transcatheter aortic valve implantation. TAVR improves survival rates in patients with aortic stenosis who require minimally invasive surgery.

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The transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure requires replacing a patient's failing aortic valve with a valve made from cow heart tissue, reports Mayo Clinic. The patient receives anesthetics and is unconscious during the entire procedure. During TAVR, the doctor accesses a patient's heart through a small chest incision or a blood vessel in his leg. A catheter is then placed inside the access point. With the help of advanced imaging technology, the doctor guides the catheter to the patient's heart.

Once the catheter is in place, the replacement aortic valve and needed tools are sent to the heart, explains Mayo Clinic. The doctor expands a balloon to put the replacement valve in its precise position. After making certain the replacement aortic valve is secure, the doctor withdraws the catheter from the incision or blood vessel. Patients are expected to be monitored overnight in the hospital's intensive care unit, and the normal recovery time in the hospital takes three to five days.

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