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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantationor TAVI is considered less invasive surgical option for people who are suffering from severe aortic valve stenosis. It is so because the surgery doesn’t involve replacing the old valve instead it repairs the damaged valve without even removing it. It is also known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) in which diseased aortic valve is replaced with a new one.

TAVI procedure is widely used for the treatment of aortic stenosis. In the recent past, owing to risks of open-heart surgery, doctors are more inclined towards performing TAVI. Moreover, patients who are not fit for open-heart surgery, maybe because they are too weak for it, then also TAVI is considered as the last resort. In addition to it, TAVI is a therapy that can fasten up the recovery process and lets you get back on your feet much faster compared to the traditional approach. We understand that if recently you were examined for severe aortic stenosis, it may be hard for you to fathom it, but we highly recommend beginning the procedure quickly for better results.

How is TAVI surgery conducted?

The anesthesiologist will either give you general or local anaesthesia depending on your health conditions. The kind of anaesthesia injected will determine whether you will be fully unconscious or you will be awake during the surgery. The procedure will enable your heart to beat, unlike in open-heart surgery. The commonly used technique for TAVI is a transfemoral approach. We will be discussing this approach in detail. There are four steps included in the procedure. They are as follows:

  • Step 1:- A small incision in the upper leg is made. Here a surgeon will place a short, hollow tube known as a sheath into the largest blood vessel of the leg, that’s responsible for blood flowing to lower parts of the body called as the femoral artery.
  • Step 2:-The new valve is compressed to make it fit through the sheath and is placed into a delivery system.
  • Step 3:- Now, this delivery system which holds the valve is pushed up to the aortic valve. This new valve pushes away the damaged or diseased valve. The existing valve is now able to hold a new valve.
  • Step 4:- The doctors will test the functionality of the new valve completely, after that incision in the leg is closed.

The complete procedure takes about 40-60 minutes. Moreover, the treatment uses high-end devices and therefore, it can be expensive.

If your doctor says that the transfemoral approach won’t work, rather a different approach is needed then depending upon various factors, the following two options are available for performing TAVI:-

  • Transapical approach: In this technique, incisions are made in the chest between the ribs and then the entire procedure is followed.
  • Transaortic approach: In this technique, incisions are made in the upper chest and then the procedure is carried on.

How long will it take to recover?

Doctors will observe you for a few days if the surgery goes well, then you will be able to sit back on the next day of the surgery. Almost, within a week you can get back to your home. For complete recovery, it takes about 2-3 months. However, it depends on the individual-to-individual.

Moreover, the team will give you detailed instructions on Dos’ and Dont’s. You will also be guidedwith instruction which would include going for a walk as it's considered the best exercise. Also, doctors recommend to strictly avoiding driving for around 4 weeks. After around eight weeks, it is recommended to come for a follow-up visit to evaluate the results of TAVI. After undergoing TAVI, You will notice an overall improvement in your health as you will be able to perform more activities than before.

There are certain possible risks and complications involved in TAVI as well. These include:

  • Death(rarely)
  • Stroke
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Vascular diseases
  • Risk of infections

However, it is important to note, TAVI may bot be always a suitable procedure for everyone, thus you may have to undergo open-heart surgery for aortic valve stenosis.

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