Austin, Texas—St. David’s South Austin Medical Center recently began offering a minimally invasive aortic valve replacement procedure known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve which restricts blood flow.

“This approach to valve replacement offers an effective alternative to traditional, open-chest surgery in some patients,” Devry Anderson, M.D., chief medical officer of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, said. “Additionally, it can decrease complications and shorten recovery time since it eliminates the need to open the patient’s chest and use a heart bypass machine.”

TAVR involves inserting a compressed valve via a catheter (a flexible tube) through the groin or neck. After the catheter is guided through the aorta and aortic valve, the new valve is positioned into the existing valve. It is then opened, replacing the existing diseased valve.

Severe aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve flaps become stiff and thickened, making it difficult for them to open and close. This causes the heart to work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body. Symptoms of severe aortic stenosis may include dizziness or fainting, chest pain, fatigue or discomfort. If left untreated, this condition is often fatal.

Patients with severe aortic stenosis should discuss the risks and benefits of TAVR with their physician to determine if the treatment is right for them.

St. David’s HealthCare’s cardiovascular specialty facility, Heart Hospital of Austin, has provided the TAVR therapy since 2012. The physicians who comprise the Heart Valve Clinic at Heart Hospital of Austin have performed more than 1,300 successful TAVR procedures to date.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, which is part of St. David’s HealthCare, is a 334-bed acute care facility offering a range of complex specialties and sub-specialties, including a nationally accredited oncology program with the area’s only adult Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program; a trauma program that includes a Level II trauma center to treat the most severely injured and critical patients; comprehensive cardiac, stroke and orthopedic programs; full-service maternity and newborn care; robotic services; and two full-service emergency centers in the communities of Bee Cave and Bastrop.