Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure that offers an alternative to traditional open heart surgery for aortic stenosis. This approach avoids a sternotomy, the use of the heart-lung machine, and allows a quicker recovery. The procedure is performed by a team of physicians, including a cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon. A tissue valve is then deployed in position pushing the native diseased valve and the calcium aside.
Initially, TAVR was only reserved for high-risk patients, who were not candidates for open surgery. As experience with TAVR has increased and the results have been acceptable, its use has been expanded to include lower-risk patients as well as deemed appropriate by the heart team.