An innovative heart care treatment known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is providing hope and a renewed sense of energy for many patients suffering from aortic valve stenosis, a common and serious condition that can require open-heart surgery. TAVR is much less invasive with minimal recovery time and can add years to a patient’s life.
The Queen’s Medical Center was the first hospital in Hawaii to perform this life-saving treatment and is now the first and only facility within the state to earn recognition from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The prestigious Transcatheter Valve Certification is an honor awarded to hospitals that have embedded quality components into all aspects of the TAVR Program. The certification process was a year-long effort and commitment from the Queen’s Heart team to ensure high standards and the ability to maintain excellent outcomes for patients. Take a look at this post for more details about the certification.
Aortic Valve Stenosis
This is one of the most common heart valve disease problems. Those with this diagnosis have an aortic valve that is narrow and cannot fully open. As a result, your heart must work harder to pump blood to your body. Symptoms of aortic stenosis may include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, heart murmurs and rapid fluttering heartbeats. If left untreated, this condition can lead to heart failure and death.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
TAVR, an innovative procedure is safer with fewer complications than traditional open-heart surgery. A catheter, or a long and thin tube, is inserted through a small incision in the groin, arm, or neck. It carries the replacement valve until it reaches the aortic heart valve. Once in place, it functions immediately and provides most patients with quick relief.
Talented medical and surgical heart specialists support patients along the continuum of care by utilizing a heart team-approach. The Queen’s Health System’s TAVR multi-disciplinary team includes interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, nurse practitioners, dedicated nurse coordinators, echocardiographers, medical assistants and a team of hospital staff.
What to Expect Following a TAVR Procedure?
Most patients say they breathe easier, have less chest pain, more energy, and an improved quality of life. The TAVR procedure only takes about 90 minutes, and recovery can occur in days rather than weeks or months. Patients are typically able to go home the following day and return to their lifestyle within one to two weeks of the procedure. Patients also report less post-operative pain than a traditional surgery.
Who Should Consider a TAVR Procedure?
TAVR was once considered an option primarily for elderly and weak patients who could not withstand an open-heart surgery. In 2019, the FDA provided approval to treat severe symptomatic aortic stenosis with TAVR in patients of all risk categories. This means almost all patients suffering from severe symptomatic stenosis qualify for this procedure. However, specific medical conditions may prevent a patient from being considered a candidate for TAVR.
If experiencing symptoms of aortic stenosis, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. Those diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis will be referred to a structural cardiologist who will recommend treatment options.
The Queen’s Heart Institute, with the endorsement of the ACC Certification, is focused on safety, quality, and efficiency, providing quick relief to the patients that need it the most. A patient can receive treatment one month from the point of referral. This investment from the Queen’s Health System and collaboration among a multidisciplinary team gives hope to heart patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis.