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During February, which is American Heart Month, physicians with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons and Austin Heart performed the 100th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure at the Heart Valve Clinic at Heart Hospital of Austin.

TAVR is a catheter-based valve replacement procedure that offers an alternative to open-chest surgery for patients who are not candidates for traditional surgery due to advanced age, or because they are too ill or suffering from additional medical conditions. Prior to this procedure, such patients were classified as inoperable and had no treatment options. They were often given only months to live.

“Being able to offer another alternative to patients who were otherwise considered inoperable has truly revolutionized cardiac surgery,” Faraz Kerendi, M.D., surgical director of the Heart Valve Clinic and cardiothoracic surgeon at Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, said.

TAVR consists of inserting a valve—which is compressed down to the size of a pencil—through the groin via a catheter (a flexible tube), up to the aorta. After the catheter is advanced through the aorta and aortic valve, the valve is positioned and then opened with a balloon.

TAVR results in a shorter recovery time—one to two weeks, versus six to eight weeks for traditional surgery. This technology prevents the need for physicians to utilize a heart bypass machine, allowing the patient’s heart to beat on its own throughout the entire procedure.

The first TAVR procedure in Central Texas was performed two years ago at Heart Hospital of Austin, shortly after the technology was approved by the FDA in November 2011.

Click here for a video about the TAVR procedure and the Heart Valve Clinic at Heart Hospital of Austin.

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