The heart has four valves inside of it (aortic, mitral, pulmonary, and tricuspid) whose job are to push blood from one part of the heart to another. Sometimes, these valves do not function properly. This occurs most frequently with the aortic and mitral valves. When that happens, surgeons work to repair or replace the valves. When valves need to be replaced, surgeons use either tissue or titanium mechanical valves, depending on the patient’s diagnosis and medical history.
For patients with aortic valve disease, a new procedure called a TAVR may be an option. TAVR or transcatheter aortic valve replacement, replaces the faulty valve without removing it. Performed in a specially equipped procedure room, an incision is made in the patient’s groin and then a catheter with a replacement valve is threaded up into the heart and the new valve is placed. This procedure is excellent for patients who need an aortic valve replacement but whose health cannot tolerate a traditional, open heart surgery.