Transcatheter aortic valve replacement in St. Lucie County, Florida

Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute is the first heart hospital on the Treasure Coast to offer transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). In fact, our cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists were the first to perform this procedure in the area. TAVR is a promising new treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are too high risk for traditional heart valve replacement or were previously considered inoperable.

For more information about our minimally invasive heart procedures, including TAVR, call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (772) 742-9050.

Our goal is to provide the best care possible based on your specific health needs. Before treatment, we will evaluate you to see if you are a candidate for traditional surgical aortic valve replacement. If you are not a candidate for traditional valve replacement surgery, we’ll consider TAVR for your treatment.

We have two ways to perform TAVR:

  • Transfemoral approach: Through a small puncture in the groin or upper thigh, we insert a catheter into the femoral artery. Using imaging technology, we guide the catheter through the femoral artery to the diseased aortic valve. We then crimp the new valve down to a diameter smaller than a pencil and guide it through the catheter with the help of imaging. Once we reach the diseased aortic valve, the new valve is expanded into place. This allows blood to naturally flow through the aortic valve.
  • Alternate approach: If there’s an issue with the peripheral artery system (the veins and arteries not in the chest or abdomen), we can insert the transcatheter valve through a different site.

What to expect following valve replacement

TAVR is a much quicker procedure and requires a shorter recovery period than open-heart surgeries. We complete TAVR procedures in about one or two hours. Patients must remain in the hospital for a few days following the replacement.

The benefits and risks of TAVR

TAVR is noninvasive and improves your chances of surviving aortic stenosis. Recovery rates for this procedure have matched those of traditional surgery while dramatically surpassing those of other noninvasive procedures.

Like all medical procedures, TAVR comes with a few risks. Namely, during the 30 days following the procedure, patients are at an increased risk of stroke and vascular disorders. Bleeding problems may also occur. However, the risk of bleeding is lower compared to that of traditional heart surgery.

If you have any questions about TAVR and whether it's an option for you or a loved one, please call our heart valve program coordinator at (772) 468-4538.

TAVR for aortic stenosis treatment

In the past, patients with severe aortic stenosis—a narrowing of the aortic valve opening, which restricts blood flow—had to give up many of their favorite activities. But the new, innovative TAVR procedure means patients can keep doing the things they love.

Diagnosing aortic stenosis

Heart valve disease can occur with no outward symptoms and may go undetected. However, you might notice a few signs of severe aortic stenosis, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty when exercising

We offer a variety of heart imaging services through our cardiology program to identify cardiac issues, including severe aortic stenosis, as early as possible. We can then explore TAVR as a treatment option in our multidisciplinary valve clinic.

If you're eligible for TAVR, you'll then meet with a team of physicians, including a cardiothoracic surgeon and an interventional cardiologist, to go over the procedure and next steps. We also work with valve nurses, who play an important role in coordinating care and educating the patient and family before and after the procedure.