Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a treatment option for patients with stenotic aortic valve disease who are not candidates for open heart surgery. A stenotic aortic valve is narrowed, restricting blood flow from the heart and increasing the potential for heart failure. Physicians at Northwestern Memorial Hospital have performed more TAVR procedures than any other facility in Illinois.

TAVR Valve
TAVR Valve

The transcatheter heart valve—made from biological material and mounted on a stent—is used in this procedure. Research shows that patients who undergo TAVR have improved heart function, survival rates and quality of life, compared to patients who do not receive a new valve and continue with standard medical therapy such as medicine to treat the aortic stenosis and/or a procedure to stretch the opening of the aortic valve (valvuloplasty).

TAVR techniques

During TAVR, a cardiologist inserts a tube (catheter) through an artery in the groin (transfemoral approach) or a small incision between the ribs (transapical approach). The artificial valve is compressed and fed through the catheter until it reaches the diseased aortic valve. A balloon expands or wedges the artificial valve within the patient’s own diseased aortic valve and the catheter is removed. The artificial TAVR valve remains in place pushing the diseased valve leaflets out of the way allowing the TAVR valve to take over the job of regulating blood flow.

TAVR aortic valve position
TAVR valve shown in aortic valve position

Transcatheter techniques like those used in TAVR allow the procedure to be performed while the patient’s heart is still beating, eliminating the need for a “bypass” machine and its associated risks.

Locations Performing this Treatment

Contact Us

For more information regarding aortic valve disease or to obtain a consultation or second opinion, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Clinical Trials
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Referring Physicians

The Center for Heart Valve Disease is available for physician-to-physician consultation regarding best patient care. Please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).