Walker Heart Institute provides transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. TAVR is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a new heart valve replaces a diseased valve or failing surgical valve. The new valve is delivered to the site through a catheter, somewhat similar to a stent placed in an artery . 

Usually valve replacement requires an open heart procedure with a “sternotomy,” in which the chest is surgically separated (open) for the procedure. The TAVR procedure can be done through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place.

A TAVR procedure provides beneficial treatment options to people who may not have been candidates for them a few years ago while also providing the added bonus of a faster recovery in most cases. A patient's experience with a TAVR procedure may be comparable to a balloon treatment or even an angiogram in terms of down time and recovery, and will likely require a shorter hospital stay.

Washington Regional offers TAVR using an alternative to general anesthesia for intermediate to high-risk surgical patients. Through monitored anesthesia care (MAC), or awake TAVR, patients can remain conscious during the procedure. MAC offers similar clinical outcomes to general anesthesia with a reduction of postoperative complications and a shorter length of hospital stay. Washington Regional is the first to offer monitored anesthesia care (MAC) for TAVR in Northwest Arkansas.

For more education on TAVR, click here to visit the American Heart Association's TAVR page.