Cardiovascular surgery services

Our cardiovascular surgeons perform complex heart procedures in our dedicated operating room for heart surgery. Patients recover in our progressive care unit, a 40-bed unit specializing in cardiac care and heart monitoring.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)

At Swedish, we are proud to offer TAVR, a procedure that provides relief to patients with aortic stenosis considered too high-risk for open-heart surgery. Our approach to the TAVR procedure is centered on our multi-disciplinary team approach, with our cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons actively involved in every case and specially trained to perform aortic valve replacement.

For more information on the TAVR procedure or to learn about our TAVR capabilities, call our team at (303) 788-4759.

How the TAVR procedure 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 the diseased valve aside and secure itself in place. The balloon is then deflated and removed, and echocardiograms test the valve for proper placement. Each patient is unique, and every replacement valve is perfectly sized to your exact dimensions prior to surgery.

Patients coming to Swedish for TAVR are admitted the same day as their procedure. 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, the damaged aortic valve is removed through open-heart surgery and replaced by 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, offering a 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 leave chest bones intact, making the average length of stay significantly shorter—approximately 2-3 days versus 4-8 days.

For patients who can tolerate open-heart surgery, this is the preferred method of treatment. However, TAVR is an excellent option for those patients who are too high-risk.

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.

Open heart program

Swedish’s open heart program is for patients who are treated aggressively for wellness before and after bypass or valve replacement surgery. Patients undergo comprehensive education and assessments in our progressive care unit (PCU) before surgery and throughout their stay. This leads to fewer days in the hospital and a better recovery overall.