TAVR

If your aortic valve becomes so narrow that it causes problems, we can offer treatment without surgery. Our transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) safely and effectively relieves symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting and dizziness.

We invite you to come in for an evaluation. Working together, our team helps find the right TAVR option for you.

Why choose Henry Ford Health System for TAVR?

The structural heart program’s director, William O’Neill, M.D., performed the first TAVR in the country. Our team of experts continues to build on that legacy of innovation and excellence, expanding the range of people TAVR can help. We offer:

  • Experience and expertise: We average 30 aortic valve and mitral valve procedures a month, the kind of volume needed for successful results. We perform more of these procedures each year than 90 percent of the country’s medical centers. Even centers with TAVR programs send us complex cases.
  • Safer procedures: Some people’s coronary arteries sit particularly close to their aortic valves. In the past, valve replacement could block these arteries. We developed a way to split the old valves and protect the opening to the coronary arteries. Learn more about the BASILICA procedure for safer TAVR.
  • New ways to reach your heart: During TAVR, doctors typically access the heart through an artery in the groin. But this approach doesn’t work for everyone. Our team is experienced at providing alternative routes that still make TAVR possible.

What is TAVR?

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement uses thin, flexible tubes called catheters to treat valve narrowing called aortic stenosis. Doctors place a tissue replacement valve inside the old valve.

TAVR initially provided an alternative for people who needed valve replacement but were considered too risky for open-heart surgery. Now, the minimally invasive approach is the first option for most people, regardless of risk. A recent study found TAVR safer than open-heart surgery for aortic valve replacement.

TAVR also provides a faster recovery than surgery. Rather than days in the hospital, most people spend less than 36 hours. And instead of weeks of healing, most people quickly return to normal life.

How do doctors perform TAVR?

Doctors perform TAVR in the cardiac catheterization lab. To start, the team chooses the best blood vessel for the procedure, then inserts a catheter and threads it toward your heart. The catheter carries your new valve.

Upon reaching your aortic valve, your doctor expands the replacement valve. The replacement valve pushes the existing valve’s leaflets out of the way and takes over.

Learn more about what to expect if your doctor recommends a minimally invasive heart procedure at Henry Ford.

Using other blood vessels to reach the heart: transcaval approach for TAVR

Doctors often use the femoral artery in the groin for TAVR. But this approach doesn’t work for some people, because of scar tissue, artery size or other medical challenges.

Instead, Henry Ford specialists researched and developed an alternative called the transcaval approach. They temporarily connect a vein in the leg with an artery in the abdomen using a catheter. Doing so gives them a new path to the heart and enough space to safely perform TAVR.

TAVR expands to new locations

Our experience and success with TAVR has allowed us to expand its use to additional locations, beyond our main campus. Dr. O’Neill oversees this effort, ensuring you receive the same top care wherever you choose to go within our system. Henry Ford locations now offering TAVR include:

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