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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)

  • Understanding the procedure

    Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement/ Implantation (TAVR/ TAVI) is a minimally invasive treatment option for severe aortic valve stenosis (severe AS).

    The aortic valve allows blood to be pumped out of the heart to the rest of the body. With ageing, the aortic valve may become narrowed. In severe AS, the valve narrowing becomes severe and patients usually develop breathlessness, fainting spells and chest discomfort. Left untreated, up to 50 per cent of patients may die from the condition within two years.

    Open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve is conventionally used to treat severe AS. However, the surgical risks are often high for many elderly patients and those suffering from debilitating diseases, like poor heart function, severe lung disease and end stage renal failure. Some patients are even considered inoperable.

    TAVR/TAVI is now an alternative treatment option for elderly patients suffering from severe AS. This minimally invasive method is usually performed via a small puncture in the groin and occasionally, via a small cut in the side or front of the chest. A guiding catheter, a thin and flexible tube, is used to implant an aortic valve onto a beating heart.

    Unlike open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve, with TAVR/TAVI, the patient's chest is not cut open and the heart is not stopped. The procedure can also be done under local anesthesia.


    Inflatable balloon inserted into aorta

    Step 1: Balloon Valvuloplasty

    Guided by a catheter, an inflatable balloon is first inserted into your aorta to open up the heart valve.
    Transcatheter Heart Valve

    Step 2: Aortic Arch Navigation

    The Transcatheter Heart Valve is navigated through your artery into your heart.
    Artificial valve placed in position

    Step 3: Native Valve Crossing

    The artificial valve is placed in position in preparation for deployment.
    Valve locked in place

    Step 4: Deployment

    The inflatable balloon is used to deploy and lock the valve in place. There are also other TAVR/TAVI valves that are self-expanding and do not require a balloon for deployment.
    New valve functioning

    Step 5: Final Assessment

    The catheter is removed and the new valve is now functioning in place of the original diseased valve.

    Watch a video of the TAVR/TAVI procedure here:

  • TAVR/TAVI may be an option for people who have severe AS and are at increased risk for surgery or who are not suitable for open heart surgery. The procedure aims to alleviate the symptoms associated with AS and improve life span.

    Following the procedure, you may have to spend about three to five days recovering in the hospital, which may include a period of observation at the intensive care unit, before you can be discharged.

    However, no surgery is risk-free and the TAVR/TAVI procedure also has potential risks, including risks of bleeding, infection, heart attack, stroke, death and abnormalities in heart rhythms. Our specialists will be able to provide advice on your suitability for TAVR/TAVI and answer your questions about the procedure. Make an appointment for a consultation here.

  • Our specialists and team of healthcare professionals include those who were involved in one of the first TAVR procedures in Asia as well as one of the proctors for a global TAVR programme.

    At Mount Elizabeth Orchard and Mount Elizabeth Novena, both award-winning hospitals with modern technology and facilities, we are committed to helping you take your first step to better health and achieve your goal to getting swift, accurate and effective treatment.

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