Transvascular aortic valve implantation (TAVI)

What is TAVI?

TAVI or TAVR refers to the technique of replacing aortic heart valve without open – heart surgery , using a catheter. This is mostly done from the leg artery and valve is delivered at its location. This treatment is currently for patients who are suffering from aortic stenosis.

What is aortic stenosis?

Aortic stenosis refers to narrowing of aortic valve. Aortic valve is the gatekeeper pr the ‘outflow’ valve of the heart, which opens and closes with each heartbeat. In aortic stenosis, the blood flow coming out of the heart is decreased and heart has to pump with greater force.

When is TAVI done in patients with aortic stenosis?           

At present  TAVI is approved for patient who is high risk to undergo open-heart  surgery, like age more than 70 , severe lung disease, prior open-heart surgery and multiple disorders. TAVI valve is a biological valve which is either mounted on a balloon or encased in a catcheter and is implanted during the procedure. Patient has to undergo a battery of test before this procedure and one, which is very vital, is CT scan. CT scan helps in sizing the valve and also assesses the blood vessel size of the legs.

What is the safety of TAVI?

Its safety and efficacy has been established in multiple international trials. In Germany more than 60%  of aortic valve replacements are done via TAVI technique. However this is not for young patients who are suitable for open – heart surgery. This technique has been there in India for past couple of years. However, not all hospitals are approved to do this. TAVI is a big revolution in field of medicine. It is a reality,  which was only in dreams few decades ago. It seems a miracle of the valve is delivered in the heart, without opening the chest. This technology is life for 40-60% of patients with severe aortic stenosis, who do not receive open-heart aortic valve replacement because of multiple co-morbidities.