Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with aortic stenosis, options to mend your weakened heart valve used to be slim, especially if you have no other options. In fact, research shows that patients with severe aortic stenosis do not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms if they do not have surgery.

Fortunately, there’s a new technology available to you at Sanford Heart in Sioux Falls and Fargo that provides you with a highly advanced, minimally invasive procedure. It’s called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR. The only FDA-approved program like it, the TAVR procedure is the only available in this region at Sanford Heart.

How TAVR can help While up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis (AS), approximately 500,000 within this group of patients suffer from severe AS. An estimated 250,000 patients with severe AS are symptomatic. Severe AS usually occurs in patients older than 75 years of age.

Studies show that without an aortic valve replacement, 50 percent of patients with severe aortic stenosis will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms. However, some patients with severe aortic stenosis are not candidates for open-heart surgery (inoperable).

Prior to the advent of TAVR, there was no definitive treatment options available for inoperable patients, as these patients are unable to undergo surgical AVR – the gold standard treatment for most adult patients with severe AS.

The team
Physicians and surgeons at Sanford Heart have undergone extensive training to use the new technology, including the multidisciplinary team that will get to know you during your replacement. They include fellowship-trained cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons and anesthesiologist.

The procedure
TAVR is far less invasive than open heart surgery. Your doctor will insert a catheter into your leg that gently travels up to your heart. This allows the surgeon to insert a collapsible replacement aortic heart valve into the catheter and carefully move it upwards until it reaches your heart. Once the collapsible aortic heart valve reaches the heart, the surgeon will open up the device, which will then open up the aortic valve and provide the heart with the oxygen and blood it needs to pump more efficiently. Once in place, the surgeon will carefully remove the catheter through the incision in your leg.

Learn more about TAVR here.

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Tom Stys, MD, Cardiology

Dr. Stys specializes in cardiology, nuclear and vascular medicine. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate. Highly skilled in cardiac intervention, Dr. Stys believes that 80 percent of heart disease is preventable and advocates for healthy lifestyle choices.

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TAVR Success Stories

TAVR Success Stories

Real-life stories of people who have discovered the life-changing TAVR procedure.

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