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Cardiac Services
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

Buffalo General Medical Center is the only hospital in Western New York to perform Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), an exciting new cardiac procedure for patients who had been deemed inoperable. It has given new hope to patients who had previously been out of treatment options.

Animation of TAVR

TAVR Animation

What is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement?

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement , or TAVR, is a minimally invasive procedure in which an artificial aortic heart valve is attached to a wire frame and guided through the femoral artery by catheter to the heart. Once in place, the wire frame enlarges, which allows the new valve to pump the blood appropriately.

Who is a candidate for TAVR?

Individuals must have severe aortic stenosis and have been deemed inoperable by a surgeon.

In a relatively healthy patient, aortic stenosis can be treated (but not cured) by medications. For patients who are not candidates for medication or the medication has ceased to work, surgery is the most effective treatment.

Traditionally however, elderly patients with aortic stenosis, often have other serious health issues as well, and because of their general poor health, have been considered inoperable. It is these patients who may benefit from TAVR.

It is important to note that this is not an alternative to surgical valve replacement in otherwise, generally healthy patients. There are strict criteria that patients must meet to become eligible for TAVR.

What is aortic stenosis?

In a normally functioning heart, blood travels from the left ventricle through the aortic valve and into the aorta where it will be carried throughout the body. Aortic stenosis-typically a disease of the elderly-occurs when the aortic valve narrows or doesn’t open and close properly, forcing the heart to work harder and much less efficiently. Due to the extra stress, the heart muscle weakens over time and the risk of heart failure increases dramatically.

What are the symptoms of aortic stenosis?

Symptoms of aortic stenosis may include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fainting. Studies have shown that, after the onset of severe symptoms, approximately 50 percent of patients will not survive more than two years without aortic valve replacement.

How are prospective patients evaluated for TAVR?

Patients must meet strict criteria for the procedure. Eligibility screening begins with evaluation by a team of physicians in the Buffalo General Heart Failure Clinic. After that initial evaluation, a variety of tests are performed including: echocardiogram, cardiac CTA, transesophageal echocardiogram, lung function testing and evaluating the carotid arteries for blockages.

What is the average length of the procedure and hospitalization?

It is approximately four hours from the time a patient is moved into the operating room until they go to recovery. Actual placement of the valve takes only 10 to 20 minutes. Hospitalization usually lasts about five days.

How can I find out if I am a candidate for TAVR?

For more information on TAVR please call 1-855-BGH-TAVR or emailTAVR@kaleidahealth.org.

Physicians who perform this procedure:

Buffalo Medical Group
(716) 857-8659

William Morris, MD

UB Cardiology
(716) 859-1784
Vijay Iyer, MD