Aortic Stenosis

What is AORTIC STENOSIS?

Heartcare: image of the heart showing aortic valve

 

Aortic stenosisis a narrowing of the aortic valve opening.HeartCare NSW: illustration of a valve with aortic stenosis compared to a healthy valve

When the aortic valve is narrowed, the left ventricle has to work harder to pump a sufficient amount of blood into the Aorta (the main artery to your body)and onward to the rest of your body. This can cause the left ventricle of your heart to thicken and enlarge.

Aortic Stenosis can cause chest pain, fainting, and heart failure leading to shortness of breath.

I have Aortic Stenosis, what now?

Like most heart disorders, there are varying degrees of diagnosis. The most common categories of this condition are mild, moderate and severe. An Echocardiogram will determine these parameters.

Typically, patients with mild or moderate stenosis do not require surgical treatment, but will have regular surveillance Echocardiograms. However, if mild or moderate stenosis remains untreated and progresses into a severe diagnosis, the left ventricle can dilate (enlarge) resulting in complications that could require aortic valve repair or aortic valve replacement surgery.

 

Aortic Valve Replacement

There are 2 types of valves that can be used to replace your stenosed valve.

  1. A mechanical valve replacement.
  2. A bioprosthetic valve replacement or biological valve, which is made from the tissue of a pig, cow, horse or human.

There are also 2 types of surgeries that can be used to perform this replacement.

The most common procedure is via a sternotomy (Asternotomy is a surgical opening in the middle of the chest at the breast-bone to provide access to the chest cavity for heart procedures or other thoracic surgeries). A lesser common procedure is a TAVI/TAVR Your cardiac surgeon will discuss with you which valve and procedure will be used for you in particular and why.

 

TAVI/TAVR

TAVI = Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implant
TAVR = Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

What is involved in a TAVI/TAVR procedure?

Usually, valve replacement requires an open-heart procedure with a “sternotomy”, in which the chest is surgically separated (opened) for the procedure. The TAVR or TAVI procedures can be done through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place.

While TAVI/TAVR is not without risks, it provides beneficial treatment options to people who may not have been considered for a traditional valve replacement due to their increased risk for general anesthetic and the long surgical procedure.

A patient’s experience with a TAVR procedure may be similar to a coronary angiogram in terms of recovery. You will likely spend less time in the hospital after TAVR compared to surgical valve replacement.

 

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