TAVI – A non-surgical valve replacement procedure
As we age, our body and its organs start to deteriorate and the heart is no exception. While the development of heart disease at an earlier age is unfortunate, its course of treatment is often free of co-morbidities for young patients. With the advancement of age in cardiac patients, many treatment options that involve surgery, are often considered high-risk.
Aortic Stenosis is one of the most common valve diseases. Those affected have a narrowed aortic valve, which restricts the blood flow from the heart to the artery and hence, to the rest of the body. Depending on the severity of the disease, a valve repair or replacement surgery may be required; as if left untreated, it can lead to heart failure. However, since the disease mostly affects advanced aged patients, surgery may not always be a viable option.
Fortunately, an advanced procedure known as Transcatheter aortic valve implantation comes to rescue. In conventional open heart surgery the chest cavity needs to be opened by cutting through the sternum to allow the surgeon to operate on the heart, TAVR or TAVI is a non-surgical technique where heart valves are replaced via needle-puncture of the skin, rather than a scalpel. Untreated valve disease can lead to a shortened lifespan and TAVI can increase the patient’s life between 8 to 9 years. So far, the success rate of this procedure in India is around 95%.
Prior to TAVI, most patients needing valve replacement, regardless of their age and health conditions, had to undergo an open heart surgery. Fortunately, with the introduction of this minimally invasive procedure and its decreased risk factors, many across the world can lead healthy lives despite having suffered from valve disease. For this reason, TAVI is getting increasingly popular among patients who are at high risk for surgery, giving them a second chance at life.
Inputs by Dr. Rahul Gupta, Consultant Cardiology, at Apollo Hospitals Navi Mumbai.