Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly (aortic valve stenosis). Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is sometimes called transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).
TAVR is usually reserved for people who can't undergo open-heart surgery or for people for whom surgery presents too many risks. TAVR can relieve the signs and symptoms of aortic valve stenosis and may improve survival in people who can't undergo surgery or have a high risk of surgical complications.
During TAVR, doctors may access your heart through a blood vessel in your leg. A hollow tube (catheter) is inserted through the access point. Your doctor uses advanced imaging techniques to guide the catheter through your blood vessels, to your heart and into your aortic valve.
Once it's precisely positioned, special tools and the replacement valve are passed through the catheter. A balloon is expanded to press the replacement valve into place in the aortic valve. When your doctor is certain the valve is securely in place, the catheter is withdrawn from the insertion point.