TAVR for aortic stenosis

The Cardiac Innovations & Structural Heart Center® team at the Heart Hospital of Edward-Elmhurst Health performs TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement), a minimally invasive surgical procedure for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are too high risk for traditional open-heart surgery:

  • Edward-Elmhurst is No. 1 for TAVR — we perform more TAVR procedures than any other healthcare provider in Illinois.
  • We are one of only a handful of hospitals in Chicagoland that currently offer TAVR.
  • Edward Hospital performs the most transcaval (an alternative approach in the delivery of the device) TAVRs in Illinois. The hospital was chosen by the National Institutes of Health to participate in its trial for patients who cannot undergo traditional TAVR.

An innovative alternative to open-heart valve surgery

In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve becomes narrow and restricts the blood flow from the heart's lower left chamber. This makes the heart work harder, which can damage it over time and lead to other serious health problems

People with aortic stenosis typically undergo open-heart surgery to replace their narrow heart valves. But for some patients, traditional surgery is too risky. TAVR is a promising alternative.

For many patients who have been told that nothing can be done for them, TAVR can return them to the life they hope to lead.

Patients' stories of survival

Mary Ellen Bonsignore had severe aortic stenosis caused by an age-related build-up of calcium. She needed a new aortic valve but wasn't a candidate for traditional open-heart surgery or traditional TAVR. Instead, she became the 80th person in the world to undergo transcaval TAVR, a safe alternative that didn’t even exist a year or two ago. Read Mary Ellen's story

Leon Lasota had severe aortic stenosis, but because of his age and other risk factors, open heart surgery was ruled out. That's when he found a less invasive option that was lifesaving. Read Leon's story

Getting TAVR at Edward-Elmhurst Health

We perform TAVR procedures in our new, state-of-the-art hybrid operating room. Our hybrid operating room is fully integrated with advanced imaging and monitoring, where our heart team can perform complex heart surgeries.

Though TAVR is less invasive than open-heart surgery, it requires a lot of planning and preparation. It’s a three-hour procedure that involves about 20 heart team members.

After pre-surgery testing, we will make a small puncture (hole) through the skin in the groin to access the artery. Then we’ll insert a sheath (tube) about the width of a pencil into the artery and thread it to the heart. We’ll maneuver a small balloon attached to a catheter through the sheath and expand the balloon once it reaches the narrowed aortic valve (a process called aortic valvuloplasty).

Next, we’ll direct a prosthetic heart valve into the existing aortic valve. Then we’ll expand the new prosthetic valve to about the size of a quarter, restoring healthy blood flow. The last step is for us to remove the sheath and close the incision.

TAVR patients can usually return home within a few days to a week after the procedure. We often recommend taking blood thinners for 3 -6 months after a TAVR procedure. Patients should also take aspirin daily unless their doctor recommends otherwise.

Am I a good candidate?

TAVR is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people with aortic stenosis who are considered intermediate to high-risk for open-heart valve replacement surgery. Candidates are typically more than 70-years-old and have a history of medical conditions, including: diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease and any previous open-heart surgery. TAVR is not yet approved for patients at low risk for open-heart valve surgery.

Ready to learn more about TAVR?

Ask your doctor for a referral to our Cardiac Innovations & Structural Heart Center at the Heart Hospital of Edward-Elmhurst Health. We’ll work with you to determine whether TAVR is a good treatment option for your aortic stenosis. You also can view an animated example of the TAVR procedure:

For more information, call 630-527-3730.

Fill out our online form to request more information