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TAVI Frequently Asked Questions

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TAVI Frequently Asked Questions

Cardiac Surgery | by Dr. Ratan Kumar Das | Published on 04/09/2021

As soon as the heart specialist diagnoses the heart condition of the patient and finds it to be a case of aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation, then the popular treatment recommended is TAVI surgery. Probably, getting such a suggestion would result in bugging up of questions in anyone’s mind about what is TAVI surgery, what happens during the procedure, and many more. The highly experienced TAVI surgeons can help answer such questions.


In this blog, one can get answers to the most frequently asked questions about TAVI surgery to gain desired information and get prompt treatment for their ailing heart.


What is TAVI?

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI), also referred to as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a revolutionary, less-invasive surgery used to replace the diseased aortic valve. Commonly, this is performed as a therapeutic procedure for Aortic Stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve caused by a build-up of cholesterol, calcium, or a birth defect resulting in limited blood flow). It involves the use of a catheter (a thin tube) to implant a new aortic valve with the help of an inflatable balloon. The implanted aortic valve is made up of animal tissues.


How does the person get to know about the need for TAVI surgery?

Some diagnostic tests are conducted by cardiac doctors to find out the suitability of the patient for TAVI surgery. This includes echocardiography (a heart imaging test using sound waves), heart catheterization (to rule out coronary heart disease), and CT scans (to assess the size and type of valves and also blood vessels).


How is TAVI surgery performed?

TAVI surgery in Kolkata is carried out under general anesthesia while the heart is pumping. Three approaches can be used by the cardiac surgeon based on the anatomy of the patient's heart. These include transfemoral (where an incision is made in the groins), transapical (incision made between the ribs), and transaortic approach (upper chest incision). Through the incision, a wire is inserted and passed through blood vessels to reach the existing aortic valve. Next, a catheter fitted with a balloon is advanced in the same manner. As it reaches the stenotic aortic valve, the balloon is inflated to clear all the plaque build-up and simultaneously help place the prosthesis valve.


What can I expect after TAVI surgery?

Soon after the TAVI procedure is over, the patient is shifted to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital for some time so that the doctors and their support staff can keep an eye on the vitals of the patient. A short hospital stay is usually needed for the patient to help in recovery. Blood-thinning medications to prevent blood clot formation in the aortic valve and antibiotics to prevent any infection are provided to the patient.


What are the advantages of TAVI surgery over Conventional Aortic Valve Surgery?

TAVI surgery is an advanced alternative treatment for traditional open-heart surgery. Unlike Conventional Aortic Valve surgery, TAVI does not involve the making of a sternotomy incision for the crack opening of the patient's chest. Moreover, the patient does not have to be put on a heart-lung bypass machine in order to have access to the aortic valve. TAVI surgery promises patients with minimal scarring, pain, and bleeding and allows them to return to their daily activities quickly. The patient has very less chance of facing any health complications. It offers a better quality of life and overall health to the patient.    


Am I a suitable candidate for a TAVI procedure?

The suitability of the candidate for the TAVI surgery is determined by the team of primary care physicians, cardiologists, and cardiothoracic surgeons after assessing the patient’s heart condition. TAVI surgery is the best solution for patients who are at a high risk of having complications from conventional open-heart surgery which means old aged people (usually above 70 years) and those who have other health conditions.


How long will the implanted aortic valve last?

The longevity of the outcome of TAVI surgery depends upon several factors and varies for every patient. However, regular follow-up appointments shall be made with a cardiologist and primary care doctor to know how well the transcatheter aortic valve is working and ensure that the symptoms of aortic valve stenosis are improving.


Do you have questions about TAVI surgery and its treatment options? Contact with the best TAVI surgeons at BM Birla Heart Research Centre, Best heart hospital in Kolkata.