The TAVR Program at Swedish Medical Center
We are proud to offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) at Swedish, a procedure that provides relief to patients with aortic stenosis considered too high risk for open-heart surgery.
Swedish’s approach to the TAVR procedure is centered on our comprehensive team approach, and our cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons are actively involved in every case and specially trained to perform aortic valve replacement.
Our TAVR team is led by:
Our dedicated team also includes a multidisciplinary procedure team comprised of technicians, nurses, perfusionists and cardiac sonographer.
The TAVR Procedure and How It Works
During a TAVR procedure, a sheath and balloon is pushed through to the aortic valve accessed through the patient’s groin. The balloon is then inflated to open the narrowed valve, expanding the new valve into place. The new valve will push the leaflets of diseased valve aside and secure itself in place. Each patient is unique, and every replacement valve is perfectly sized to your exact dimensions prior to surgery. The balloon is then deflated and removed, and echocardiograms test the valve for proper placement.
TAVR is an innovative, catheter-based approach to aortic valve replacement that provides an alternative treatment option for patients suffering from severe to high-risk aortic stenosis.
Patients coming to Swedish Medical Center for TAVR are admitted the same day as their procedure, prepped in the ambulatory care unit and then transported to the cath lab. Blood flow and velocity often improve immediately after surgery, with patients typically noticing improved circulation within 24-48 hours.
TAVR vs. Open-Heart Surgery
In surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), the damaged aortic valve is removed through open-heart surgery and replaced by either a mechanical or biological valve. Unlike open-heart surgery, TAVR does not remove the existing valve, opting instead to insert a new aortic valve with the assistance of a catheter. Because doing so does not require open-heart surgery, TAVR is a far less invasive method of treatment.
Open-heart surgery requires the patient to be under general anesthesia and the chest bones to be opened; TAVR procedures use conscious sedation and leaves chest bones intact, making the average length of stay significantly shorter — approximately 2-3 days versus 4-8 days.
For patients who can tolerate SAVR, traditional open-heart surgery is still the preferred method of treatment. However, TAVR is an excellent option for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are too high risk for open-heart surgery.
Patients Treated with TAVR
Not all patients with advanced aortic stenosis are candidates for TAVR. Our cardiac professionals can assess whether each individual patient meets the criteria with a series of tests performed over the course of several days, including: CT scans, an echocardiogram and a diagnostic heart catheter to examine your arteries.
Talk with your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for this minimally invasive procedure.
Take Steps Toward Full Recovery
For more information on the TAVR procedure, or to learn more about Swedish Medical Center’s TAVR capabilities: