Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a valuable option for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for open-heart surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR). Maine Medical Center Cardiovascular Institute was the first hospital in the state to perform this procedure.

Treatment

Patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for traditional valve replacement surgery may be able to have the TAVR procedure. The FDA has approved TAVR only for patients who have an unacceptably high risk for standard surgical AVR. The team at Maine Medical Center Cardiovascular Institute is available to help determine if TAVR is an option.

Patients undergo evaluation at Maine Medical Center to determine if they are candidates for TAVR. We have a partnership of imaging cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, and cardiac surgeons, who will evaluate patients for surgical aortic valve replacement, TAVR, or medical therapy. They then make their recommendation to referring physicians and their patients.

In TAVR, a new valve is implanted inside the patient's own narrowed valve. As a result, blood flow through the heart and body increases.

The TAVR doctors pass a small balloon through an artery in the leg up into the narrowed valve. When the balloon is inflated, it opens up the narrowed valve to make room for the new valve. The balloon is then removed and the new valve is passed up into the patient's valve. The new valve has a balloon inside. When the balloon is inflated, the new valve opens up and is wedged inside the old valve.

Referrals

Physician referrals are required, but the program coordinator is available to answer questions from patients.

Advanced Valve Program Coordinator

Phone: (207) 662-4897

Jim's Story

A problem with his heart valve made it difficult for Jim of Biddeford, Maine to walk even a few feet without losing his breath. He was too ill for open heart surgery, but a minimally invasive procedure performed only at MMC allowed doctors to replace Jim's faulty heart valve. Now he's enjoying his independence once again.