Although it used to be only indicated for patients who were unable to undergo open heart surgery, this treatment option is now available to more people. It has been approved in Southeast Asia for patients who have different levels of surgical risks. Ask your doctor about TAVI and whether it is suitable for you.
It is definitely not easy to come to grips with a diagnosis of severe aortic stenosis. You may still be in doubt about taking the next steps to plan for your treatment. However, with proper and immediate treatment, you will be able to do the things you love and continue the life you used to have.
Talk to your doctor to discuss further!
What Happens During TAVI?
Once you have agreed to undergo the TAVI procedure, it is helpful to understand what to expect. Here are a few things about TAVI to know in advance:
The TAVI procedure will be performed by your doctor at the hospital
Your doctor will determine the type of anaesthesia suitable for you. He may induce you into a full sleep if he feels it is necessary. Otherwise, he may administer a medication that will relax you and block the pain. In this case, you will be conscious throughout the procedure but will not be feeling any pain.
One of the main differences of TAVI procedure comparing to open heart surgery, is that you are not required to be placed on a heart and lung blood machine to stop your heart. Since TAVI is a less-invasive procedure, your heart will continue beating throughout the procedure.
Your doctor will evaluate the best access for replacing the damaged heart valve via transcatheter technique. There are three ways to perform the TAVI procedure, which are:
○ transfemoral approach – being the most common approach where a small incision is made in the leg.
○ transapical approach – where an incision is made in the chest between the ribs.
○ transaortic approach – where an incision is made in the upper chest.
Recovery duration differs from one person to another. Some recover quickly soon after the procedure with no more symptoms, while others may take a while longer to get back to their healthy selves.
A small incision is made in your upper leg. This is where your doctor will insert a short, hollow tube called a sheath into your femoral artery.
The new valve is then placed on the delivery system (or tube). The new valve is compressed to make it small enough to fit through the sheath.
The delivery system carrying the valve is pushed up to your aortic valve. Once it reaches your valve, the new valve pushes aside the leaflets of your diseased valve. Your existing valve holds the new valve in place.
The new valve will open and close as a normal aortic valve should. Your doctor will make sure your new valve is working properly before closing the incision in your leg.
Your doctor may decide that a different approach is necessary depending on various factors. Other ways to perform the TAVI procedure include:
Transapical approach: Through an incision in the chest between the ribs.
Transaortic approach: Through an incision in the upper chest.
People may feel relief from their symptoms soon after their TAVI procedure, but others may take a little longer to get back to normal. Talk to your doctor about how long your recovery may take.