Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

Transcatheter heart valve replacement (TAVR) is reserved for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are considered too high risk for, or cannot have, traditional forms of heart valve replacement which require open heart surgery.

University of Iowa Heart and Vascular Center is one of a select group of centers across the nation—and the first in Iowa—to offer this procedure to qualified patients.

In October 2011, UI Heart and Vascular Center became the first program in the nation to receive certification for its cardiac valve program from The Joint Commission, the accreditation agency for health care organizations in the United States. In addition to the new transcatheter procedure, the center’s heart valve clinic offers minimally invasive surgery for heart valve repair and replacement.

Since opening in 2011 the UI Heart and Vascular Center TAVR Program has evaluated over 500 patients, and performed 250 TAVR procedures. Procedural success has been consistently higher (97%), than the national average. UI Heart and Vascular Center is one of only two centers in Iowa performing TAVR and the only center in eastern Iowa.

Transfemoral TAVR

During a standard TAVR procedure, the damaged heart valve is replaced with a prosthetic valve. This new technology uses a catheter inserted through a small incision in a patient’s thigh that travels through blood vessels and can be used to replace a person’s failing heart valve in the aortic artery.

A specially trained multidisciplinary TAVR team including cardiac surgeons, interventional cardiologists, and cardiac imaging specialists performs the procedure. With TAVR, aortic stenosis patients who were too high risk for traditional surgery can be successfully treated and enjoy a faster recovery.

Transfemoral TAVR

Transapical TAVR

Doctors at University of Iowa Heart and Vascular Center are among the first in the nation to offer Transapical TAVR, a new minimally invasive treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart's aortic valve).

In the standard TAVR procedure, the new valve is inserted on a catheter from the patient’s thigh. However, some patients have disease of the leg blood vessels that prevents this approach. For the transapical approach, a replacement valve is inserted through a small incision on the lower left side of a patient's chest, under the rib cage. The transapical method allows University of Iowa physicians to extend the same life-saving valve replacement benefits to even more patients who cannot have traditional valve surgery.

Similar to the standard TAVR procedure, the transapical approach allows patients to recover more quickly than with traditional surgical valve replacement.

UI Heart and Vascular Center is the first in Iowa to successfully perform the transapical TAVR procedure.

Trans Apical Placement Procedure

UI Heart and Vascular Center offers the most experienced physicians and most comprehensive transcatheter valve program in the entire state of Iowa and western Illinois. For questions, additional information, to ask about a TAVR clinical trial, or to refer a patient, please call us at 319-384-6245 or email the TAVR program.

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  • Alyssa Speight, RN, BSN