Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation
What is TAVI?
TAVI referred to Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation is the treatment of aortic valve stenosis without the need for open-heart surgery and the need of heart-lung machine. Aortic valve stenosis is caused by the buildup of calcium deposited on the aortic valve with a higher prevalence in older people over 60 years of age. When the heart’s aortic valve narrows, it restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood and this can contribute to heart failure in the future.
The cause of calcium deposited in the heart valve
The aortic valve becomes narrowed or constricted due to age-related degenerative change or calcium formed on the valve. The stenosis usually affects the left ventricle as it works hard to pump the oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. In addition, as you get older, the heart which functions for long period of time can cause the aortic valve to be hardened with calcium.
The physician uses a stethoscope to listen to heart sounds to determine heart murmur, if there are signs of any abnormalities, further investigations will be performed. Aortic valve stenosis generally produces no symptoms, signs and symptoms such as chest pain, fainting and even heart failure will develop when narrowing of the valve is severe. For the severe stenosis, the patient will not survive more than an average of two years because the heart does not functions properly as before.
Traditionally, the treatment of aortic valve stenosis is an open-heart surgery to replace a poorly working aortic valve, and since most patients diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis are older people, it takes more time to recover from the open-heart surgery. Although, the traditional open-heart surgery has high success rate, the procedure is more complicated which involves having the chest opened and going on a heart-lung machine. TAVI, on the other hand, the valve is implanted through a catheter inserted through your groin. Therefore, the incision is small and recovery time is significantly shorter.
TAVI provides beneficial treatment when compared with the traditional open-heart surgery including less post-operative complications, lower mortality rate as well as satisfying outcome. When TAVI is performed on people aged above 70 years, the procedure produces as good outcome as an aortic valve replacement. Recovery time is faster, outcome and death rate is similar to an aortic valve replacement. As artificial valve implanted in your heart, heart failure goes away and patient is less worried because of small incision, quick recovery time and less complications after the procedure. Nevertheless, no studies now prove the outcome of TAVI treatment in the long period more than 5 years. Hence, patient who is still younger should choose aortic valve replacement option since it can work well for 20 years.
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