TAVR: Minimally Invasive Approach for Aortic Stenosis
Narrowing of the aortic valve, aortic stenosis, is the most common heart valve condition affecting older people. Surgery is considered the gold standard for patients with severe stenosis.However, 30-40% of these individuals aren’t healthy enough to undergo this procedure. One of the most exciting developments in this field is transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)—a minimally invasive method of replacing damaged aortic valves. NYP/Columbia is in the forefront, leading both in volume of patients treated with TAVR and in clinical research. Open surgery requires placing the patient on cardiopulmonary bypass and stopping the heart. Yet TAVR allows surgeons to deploy a new aortic valve through a catheter. Since its introduction around 2000, the technology has advanced to the point where TAVR is now comparable, if not better, than surgery for high-risk patients.
Craig Smith, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief and Chairman, Department of Surgery, presented results of the PARTNER II trial at the American College of Cardiology conference in April, 2016 showing that TAVR was a safe and viable alternative and even superior to surgery for many patients.
Investigators at NYP/Columbia are conducting numerous other trials to evaluate long-term durability of TAVR devices, ways to make it even safer, and the use of TAVR in low-risk patients. Another trial is assessing a sutureless aortic valve that allows us to combine TAVR’s new delivery with conventional aortic valve replacement surgery.