Cardiology - Tilley Drive
62 Tilley Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403-4407
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement at the UVM Medical Center
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Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a procedure to replace a diseased aortic valve. The aortic valve controls blood flow between your lower left heart chamber (ventricle) and the main artery that pumps blood to your body (aorta).
TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure done with only a small incision, so you have less downtime than with traditional open-heart surgery. The expert team at The University of Vermont Medical Center performs hundreds of TAVR procedures each year with excellent outcomes.
As one of the leading heart and vascular programs in the region, we offer:
- Leading-edge treatment from experienced physicians: At the UVM Medical Center, we stay up to date with the most advanced treatment options. Our team participated in the trials that led to the development of TAVR, and today we are the region’s highest-volume TAVR center. We perform around 300 TAVRs each year, making our interventional cardiologists and surgeons the most experienced in the area.
- Excellent outcomes: We track all our patient outcomes in national databases and continually aim to improve our care. Our results consistently meet and exceed national benchmarks, so you can trust that your care team has a proven track record of excellence.
- Coordinated, accessible care: At the UVM Medical Center, you’re always connected to a larger team of specialized cardiologists, surgeons and other heart specialists, no matter where you live. If you need advanced treatment such as TAVR, we coordinate referrals efficiently so you get the care you need, when and where you need it.
Conditions We Treat
TAVR is a minimally invasive treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve. As blood flows through your heart, the aortic valve sends blood from the lower left heart chamber (ventricle) to the large artery that pumps blood to your body (aorta).
Stenosis restricts the amount of blood that flows between the left ventricle and aorta. It may also increase the pressure in your upper left heart chamber (atrium). Without treatment, aortic stenosis can cause heart muscle weakening and lead to complications such as heart failure.
Most people develop aortic stenosis because of calcium buildup and scarring that develops with age. Some people develop aortic stenosis because of a congenital (present at birth) condition called bicuspid aortic valve. A bicuspid aortic valve has only two flaps that allow the valve to open and close instead of the typical three. You may also have a TAVR procedure to treat a failing valve from a prior surgery.
What to Expect During the TAVR Procedure
Prior to TAVR, you will meet with an interventional cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure. You will undergo a cardiac echocardiogram and a cardiac CT scan to assess your aortic valve and determine the feasibility of the procedure.
In TAVR, your damaged aortic valve gets replaced with a new valve. The surgical team performs TAVR by inserting a long, flexible tube (catheter) through one of your blood vessels and advancing it to your heart.
During the TAVR procedure, your surgeon:
- Inserts a catheter through a blood vessel in your groin or chest
- Guides the catheter to your heart with the assistance of X-rays or echocardiograms
- Sends the replacement valve through the catheter and up to your heart
- Positions the replacement valve inside the diseased aortic valve
- Expands the replacement valve so that it pushes the damaged valve out of the way and takes over the work of regulating your blood flow
You usually spend the night in the hospital after a TAVR procedure. Depending on your recovery, you may return home the next day. Recovery from TAVR is much quicker than open-heart surgery, with many patients resuming usual activities within one or two weeks.