Approaches for Heart Valve Replacements

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At Henry Ford, our structural heart program is one of a few in the country offering multiple minimally invasive approaches to access your heart. That means that we can find a way to treat you no matter what your heart valve condition is, or whether you have small or damaged arteries or other conditions that rule out conventional treatment.

Our skilled interventional cardiologists work to find the best solution for you and your unique condition. We have years of experience using these catheter-based approaches for heart valve replacement:

  • Femoral: This is a standard approach in which we access an artery in your thigh (groin) to perform the catheterization.
  • Transcaval: Our team created the transcaval approach by temporarily connecting major blood vessels, a vein and an artery, which do not normally come together. In fact, we performed the world’s first transcaval procedure at Henry Ford in 2013. Using this new approach, we can treat people who have been turned away from other centers because they are high-risk candidates for surgery.
  • Transaortic: With this approach, our cardiologists insert a catheter directly into the aorta, the main artery leading to your heart. We access your aorta through a small incision in your breastbone. We use the transaortic approach for people who cannot have femoral or radial access because of artery problems caused by other health conditions.
  • Transapical: Using this approach, we make a small incision in your chest wall, between your ribs on the left side. We insert a catheter through this opening to directly access your heart to replace a valve.
  • Transcarotid: An incision of approximately one inch is made just above the clavicle through which the carotid artery is located and accessed. From this point TAVR valve delivery is the same as it would be for a transfemoral approach.

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