Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive heart valve replacement procedure to treat aortic valve stenosis (narrowing). TAVR may be right for you if standard valve replacement surgery presents a greater risk.

Aortic Valve Stenosis

If you have aortic valve stenosis, the opening of your aortic valve−located between the left ventricle of your heart and the aorta−narrows and can’t fully open with each heartbeat. The narrowing makes your left ventricle work harder to pump blood to the aorta and out to the rest of the body. Your heart can eventually weaken from having to work harder than normal.

Treating Aortic Valve Stenosis

The only effective treatment for aortic valve stenosis is repairing or replacing your narrowed valve through open-heart surgery. If you are too ill or if open-heart surgery is too risky, TAVR may be the best treatment option for you.

Advancing TAVR Technology

As a leading academic medical center at the forefront of using TAVR, UNC Medical Center and our heart specialists provide you with the most advanced approach to the TAVR treatment. We lead the way in applying advanced technology and innovations to reach a wide range of patients.

Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

You’ll benefit from our multidisciplinary care approach to your aortic valve stenosis condition offered at UNC Medical Center’s Heart Valve Clinic. Your comprehensive care will include evaluation by an interventional cardiologist, a cardiothoracic surgeon and a nurse coordinator. By pooling their knowledge, expertise and resources, UNC Medical Center specialists evaluate all the options and determine the best treatment for your condition.

TAVR Procedure

An FDA-approved alternative treatment, TAVR offers your doctor the medical advances and technology to replace your aortic valve without performing open-heart surgery. Instead of opening the chest to reach your heart, your UNC Medical Center heart and vascular specialist uses a minimally invasive technique to open your narrowed artery and place a new valve inside your aortic valve.

Depending on the best and safest way to access your heart, your cardiologist or cardiac surgeon will perform the TAVR procedure with one of two approaches, including:

  • Transfemoral – Uses a large artery in the groin to insert a catheter, allowing delivery of a compressed replacement valve and positioning at the valve site, where it opens
  • Transapical – Uses a minimally invasive surgical approach with a small incision in the chest to enter the heart through the large artery in the chest or the tip of the left ventricle; delivers the collapsed replacement valve to the valve site, where it opens into position

You can expect to stay in the hospital for three to five days after the TAVR procedure.

TAVR Outcomes

Performing TAVR with minimally invasive surgery may mean less pain, shorter recovery time and a better outcome for you. TAVR provides outcomes that are as good as, or sometimes better than, traditional surgical aortic valve replacement.

Patient Success Story: Tony Sciturro

Contact Us

Call the Heart & Vascular Center referral line at 866-862-4327 to make an appointment at the UNC Heart Valve Clinic or learn more about the TAVR procedure for aortic valve stenosis. You can also call the UNC Heart Valve Office directly at 984-974-7782.

Refer a patient to the Heart Valve Clinic.

Patient Story

Dr. Jim Aspell, first UNC TAVR patient, returns to Smith Center to cheer on Tar Heels:

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