Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Millions of Americans over the age of 65 are afflicted with aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve, one of the four main valves in the heart. Many of those affected are not eligible for traditional open heart surgery to repair it due to age or other health concerns. As an alternative, patients with aortic stenosis who face a moderate or higher risk from open heart surgery may be candidates for a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. TAVR eliminates the need for open heart surgery and offers a shorter recovery time with less risk to the patient.

TAVR is considered a “minimally invasive” method of replacing malfunctioning heart valves, because it does not require large incisions or the use of a heart-lung machine (known as cardiopulmonary bypass). In a special operating room with both surgical and X-ray capabilities, a guide wire is inserted into the body through the groin or a small incision between the ribs and guided to the malfunctioning valve. The new valve is compressed and attached to a tiny, flexible tube called a catheter, and – using guidance from X-rays – the catheter is positioned inside the malfunctioning valve, then the new valve is expanded in place to serve as a replacement.

Why UAB

In 2012, UAB Medicine became the first hospital in Alabama to perform the minimally invasive TAVR procedure. Having completed more than 800 since that time, UAB Medicine is the state’s leader in the TAVR procedure. We are ranked among the nation’s top 20 cardiology and heart surgery programs by U.S. News & World Report, and our TAVR patients enjoy lower mortality rates and shorter hospital stays compared to the national averages. Patients who have been told by non-UAB Medicine doctors that they need traditional valve surgery can speak to a UAB Medicine valve surgeon for a second opinion to determine if they may be candidates for TAVR.

Our highly experienced team of surgeons and cardiologists provide a comprehensive approach to the diagnosis and treatment of valve disease. Our reputation as a leader in treating aortic valve disease was strengthened in 2018 when UAB Medicine Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery James E. Davies Jr., MD, became the first in the Southeast to implant the Edwards Inspiris heart valve. Made of specially treated bovine (cow) tissue that may help it last longer, this revolutionary valve also has an expandable frame to allow for future valve-in-valve procedures such as TAVR. This means that if the patient needs to have the valve replaced later in life, open surgery would not be required again, making this type of heart valve ideal for younger patients. The Edwards Inspiris heart valve is a perfect example of how traditional surgical and transcatheter methods such as TAVR can work together to provide our patients with the highest quality of care throughout their lifetime.

Contact Us

To speak with someone directly about your case and schedule a TAVR evaluation, please call (205) 975-3739 or email Lisa Findley at lfindley@uabmc.edu.

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PHYSICIANS

Related Conditions

This procedure may be used to treat or diagnose several different conditions. We have listed some of these conditions below for your convenience. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list and may vary depending on your specific diagnosis.

Clinical Trials

UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for Aortic Valve Replacement. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information on clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov.

View Clinical Trials