The aortic valve lies inside your heart. It controls the flow of blood from the primary pumping chamber (the left ventricle) into the aorta, the artery that carries blood from your heart to your body.
Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve becomes thick and stiff. This condition often occurs due to a congenital heart defect, a calcium buildup on the valve, or when a condition like rheumatic fever damages the valve.
The changes in the aortic valve narrow the opening, a condition called stenosis. As a result, less blood can travel into the aorta, and your body doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood.
When aortic valve stenosis goes untreated, it forces the left ventricle to work harder. Over time, this takes a toll on the heart muscles and leads to congestive heart failure.
Aortic stenosis causes symptoms such as:
If you have symptoms due to advanced aortic valve stenosis, you may be a good candidate for TAVR, a minimally invasive procedure to replace the damaged valve.
During your TAVR procedure, your provider makes a tiny incision and inserts a catheter into a blood vessel in your groin, or alternatively, your wrist or neck. Using real-time imaging, they guide the catheter through the blood vessels, into your heart, and to the aortic valve.
Once the catheter is at the valve, your provider guides an expandable replacement valve through the catheter and into your heart. Then they restore normal blood flow by implanting the new valve inside the old one.
After removing the catheter and closing the artery, they perform an echocardiogram to be sure the new valve works properly.
After your TAVR, your provider may prescribe blood thinners to prevent blood clots. You may also need to take antibiotics to prevent an infection in the new valve.
Most bacteria that cause heart valve infections come from bacteria that originated in your mouth. As a result, keeping up with your dental hygiene is essential to prevent complications.
If you have aortic stenosis and want to learn how a TAVR can improve your health, call Coastal Cardiology of Orange County, or book an appointment online today.