Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
Stenotic Aortic Valve
A stenotic aortic valve is narrowed, restricting blood flow from the heart and increasing the potential for heart failure. Standard medical treatments for patients who are not candidates for surgery may temporarily alleviate symptoms, but do not cure aortic stenosis.
Two Treatment Options
Experts at Northwestern Memorial offer two options for non-surgical or higher-risk patients suffering from a stenotic aortic valve.
Option 1: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
As a result of past research, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive approach to implanting an artificial heart valve inside a stenotic aortic valve. This approach is for patients who are too high-risk for traditional aortic valve surgery. Physicians at Northwestern Memorial have performed more TAVR procedures than any other facility in Illinois, treating more than 100 patients.
The Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve—made from biological material and mounted on a stent—is used in this procedure. Research shows that inoperable patients who undergo TAVR have improved heart function, survival rates and quality of life, compared to patients who do not receive a new valve and continue with standard medical therapy such as medicine to treat the aortic stenosis and/or a procedure to stretch the opening of the aortic valve.
Option 2: PARTNER II Trial
Through Northwestern Memorial’s clinical research trial, patients who are at increased risk for open-heart surgery may be eligible for The PARTNER II Trial (Placement of AoRtic TraNscathetER Valves). This trial is investigating transcatheter techniques—a minimally invasive approach to implanting an artificial heart valve inside a stenotic aortic valve. We currently are accepting patients in this research study.
This research trial uses the next-generation Edwards SAPIEN XT transcatheter heart valve, which replace the stenotic aortic valve. Each prosthetic heart valve consists of a frame (a mesh tube made of metal) and valve leaflets (made of biological material derived from cows). Candidates for this research trial are asked to participate for at least five years, with a minimum of seven follow-up visits.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Techniques
During the valve replacement procedure, a cardiologist inserts a tube (catheter) through an artery in the groin (transfemoral approach) or a small incision between the ribs (transapical approach). The artificial valve is compressed and fed through the catheter until it reaches the aortic valve. A balloon expands the artificial valve within the patient’s diseased aortic valve and the catheter is removed. The new valve replaces the old, increasing blood flow throughout the body.
Transcatheter techniques allow our team to perform the valve replacement procedure while the patient’s heart is still beating, eliminating the need for a “bypass” machine and its associated risks.
Leaders in the Field
At Northwestern Memorial, interventional cardiologist Charles J. Davidson, MD and cardiac surgeon S. Chris Malaisrie, MD are leading the treatment of patients with stenotic aortic valve disease.
Contact Us Today
For more information regarding transcatheter aortic valve replacement, please call us at 312-695-4965 or call the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 866-662-8467.
Animated videos courtesy of Edwards Lifesciences.
Last UpdateDecember 7, 2012
Among the Nation's Best
In 2012 U.S. News & World Report ranked our Cardiology and Heart Surgery program 17th in the nation and the highest ranked program in the state of Illinois.