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The heart care team at UC Davis Health was first in the Sacramento region to offer transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a less-invasive alternative to open heart surgery for treating aortic valve stenosis.

Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening that does not allow normal blood flow. This can lead to chest pain or chest tightness, heart palpitations, fatigue and shortness of breath, especially with exertion. No drug therapy exists for treating severe aortic stenosis. With aortic valve replacement, however, many people can lead normal, healthy lives.

Physicians have had great success treating severe, symptomatic aortic valve stenosis by replacing the faulty valve with new one during an open heart surgery procedure.

An alternative to surgery for some patients is transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. This minimally invasive procedure involves replacing the valve without removing the old, damaged valve. Instead, the new valve is delivered through a catheter and wedged insided the old aortic valve, using the old and damaged leaflets to secure the new valve. The TAVR procedure is performed using different approaches, based on the best and safest way to place the new valve.

TAVR patients usually experience a much more rapid recovery than they would following a traditional, open heart surgery valve replacement. It can be an effective option for patients who otherwise would have limited choices for treating their aortic stenosis.

To learn more about severe aortic stenosis treatment at UC Davis Health, please email Janine Carlson or Natasha Vasilopoulos, or call 916-734-6500.

Meet the TAVR team