TAVI is an abbreviation for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation, a treatment for repairing a damaged aortic valve. Specialists insert an artificial valve composed of animal heart tissue (often from a cow or pig) into the heart during a TAVI surgery. For patients with an aortic valve condition that is too risky for open-heart surgery, a doctor may consider a TAVI operation.
The aortic valve is one of four primary heart valves. As the heartbeats, it opens and shuts, enabling blood to travel in one direction from the heart to the rest of the body. Calcium can start building upon the valve at one age, making it more difficult and thicker. Consequently, the aortic valve cannot open correctly, causing the heart to work harder to pump the blood through the narrowed valve. This is referred to as aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis can cause shortness of breath, chest discomfort, weariness, and dizziness. A TAVI procedure aids in the repair of your valve.
How Does One Get Ready for a TAVI?
One can start preparing for TAVI operation by adhering to the following:
- Patients should consult a doctor about continuing to take regular prescriptions, especially if they take diabetic or blood-thinning medication. For instance, for patients who use SGLT2 diabetes medication, it is advisable to stop using it at least three days before your operation.
- Patients should try and eat nothing for at least five to six hours before the operation. No clear fluids or drinks for two hours prior – transparent fluids and drinks can be seen through, such as water and tea without milk.
- Before your TAVI proceduretakes place, you’ll be requested to take off any jewellery and put on a hospital gown.
What Occurs During TAVI?
During the surgery, the patient’s heart will keep beating as it is not the same as open-heart surgery. In such a surgery, the patients’ heart is halted, and they are placed on a heart and lung blood machine. TAVI differs from open-heart surgery in that it treats a damaged aortic valve in a less intrusive manner. The doctor will determine the optimal procedure for replacing the valve, but the most typical technique includes a tiny incision in the leg. This is referred to as the transfemoral approach.
TAVI Procedure: A Step-by-Step Guide
- In the upper leg, a minor incision is made. This is the point at which the doctor will put a small, hollow tube known as a sheath into the femoral artery.
- After that, the new valve is attached to the delivery system (or tube). The replacement valve is squeezed to fit through the sheath.
- The valve delivery system is driven up to the aortic valve. The new valve pushes the sick valve’s leaflets aside when it enters the valve. The replacement valve is held in place by the current valve.
- The replacement valve will function normally, opening and closing like an aortic valve would. Before sealing the cut in the leg, the doctor will ensure that the replacement valve is functioning appropriately.
What are the Risks of TAVI?
A TAVI is a minimally invasive surgery, which means it is carried out through a series of tiny incisions – or cuts – rather than a single big one. Minimally invasive surgery improves your chances of healing faster following surgery. TAVI, like any other surgery, carries a few risks, including:
- Bleeding or vascular damage
- Arrhythmias (abnormal cardiac rhythms) – may need a pacemaker.
- Coronary artery occlusion
- Regurgitation of the aorta
- Kidney disease
Before you consent to the operation, your doctor will thoroughly explain the risks to you, and you are urged to share any questions or concerns with your medical team. You will be requested to sign a permission form to agree to the procedure.
Following the TAVI operation, the doctor will constantly monitor the patient and advise how long they need to stay in the hospital. In addition, before leaving, patients receive extensive instructions on recuperating and regaining their health.
Get in touch with a specialist and learn in detail about the TAVI procedure.