Aortic Valve Replacement with TAVR: What is it like?

Posted by karen1945 @karen1945, May 17, 2021

I am 75 years old with severe aortic stenosis. My doctor has recommended a valve replacement with the TAVR procedure. I had a heart catheterization two weeks ago that precipitated a “brain attack” that was terrifying. I spent that night on the neurology floor, and was released the next afternoon after completely recovering from the stroke. Now I am terrified of having them going into my arteries and heart again, for fear of another stroke that could leave me permanently incapacitated, or even kill me. I’m scheduled to have a CT cardiac angiogram exam to see if the TAVR approach is even possible. I don’t know whether to take my chances with the stenosis and let nature take its course, or risk the procedure. Before the stroke I was okay with it, but now it seems that I could be cutting my life short, rather than being able to enjoy what time is left. I cry a lot and pray a lot. I simply have no idea what I should do. My symptoms are mild. I was chalking them up to old age before I was told I had severe stenosis. I’m told the risks of the procedure are small, but if it affects you, it’s 100% 😞

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Has anyone been treated using a TAVR procedure? Doctor recommended open heart surgery due to my age 58 but if this lasts 10 years what advancements will have been made by then thanks for your input dave

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@davej

Has anyone been treated using a TAVR procedure? Doctor recommended open heart surgery due to my age 58 but if this lasts 10 years what advancements will have been made by then thanks for your input dave

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Hello Davej, I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis in the fall of 2018 and had a TAVR on December 26, 2018. It was a very comfortable procedure. I did not have an incision in the sternum. The doctors approached my aorta through the groin on both sides. As the Dr. said, "It's a two-man operation." I was mildly sedated throughout the procedure then overnight in St. Mary's in Rochester, going home the next morning around 10 a.m. I have felt so much better. I had an echocardiogram just this past June 16 and the TAVR is working perfectly. Be sure to discuss the groin approach instead of open heart. All the best!

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@davej

Has anyone been treated using a TAVR procedure? Doctor recommended open heart surgery due to my age 58 but if this lasts 10 years what advancements will have been made by then thanks for your input dave

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Just an FYI – When I worked as RN, I took care of many TAVR patients in recovery room. They did well and much nicer than a huge surgery! I agree with davej! Do this now, who knows what might be available if need arises again! Medical innovations go by leaps and bounds. I have been retired x 6 years and we did them for a few years then, so there should be good data available on lasting effects/success/any long term complications?!

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@rois4richo

Hello Davej, I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis in the fall of 2018 and had a TAVR on December 26, 2018. It was a very comfortable procedure. I did not have an incision in the sternum. The doctors approached my aorta through the groin on both sides. As the Dr. said, "It's a two-man operation." I was mildly sedated throughout the procedure then overnight in St. Mary's in Rochester, going home the next morning around 10 a.m. I have felt so much better. I had an echocardiogram just this past June 16 and the TAVR is working perfectly. Be sure to discuss the groin approach instead of open heart. All the best!

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Can I ask how old you are because I'm 59 doctors are reluctant because I'm so young and there feeling the will have to open my heart up to replace the TAVR when it goes back thanks dave

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@davej

Can I ask how old you are because I'm 59 doctors are reluctant because I'm so young and there feeling the will have to open my heart up to replace the TAVR when it goes back thanks dave

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@davej, what options do your surgeons offer instead of TAVR given your young age?

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@davej

Has anyone been treated using a TAVR procedure? Doctor recommended open heart surgery due to my age 58 but if this lasts 10 years what advancements will have been made by then thanks for your input dave

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No options were given told me I'm to young to have anything else done at 59 they do not to have open heart surgery when I'm In late 60s or 70s have open heart surgery now and never have a another valve problem again or at least with that valve that they put a mechanical valve in

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@rois4richo

Hello Davej, I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis in the fall of 2018 and had a TAVR on December 26, 2018. It was a very comfortable procedure. I did not have an incision in the sternum. The doctors approached my aorta through the groin on both sides. As the Dr. said, "It's a two-man operation." I was mildly sedated throughout the procedure then overnight in St. Mary's in Rochester, going home the next morning around 10 a.m. I have felt so much better. I had an echocardiogram just this past June 16 and the TAVR is working perfectly. Be sure to discuss the groin approach instead of open heart. All the best!

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Hi this is davej and I'm wondering why any surgeon would perform open heart surgery with the TAVR invention. If the TAVR valve lasts 10 to 15 years modern medicine advances could come with new invention that would stop all heart problems in the future thanks for any and all replies

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@davej

Has anyone been treated using a TAVR procedure? Doctor recommended open heart surgery due to my age 58 but if this lasts 10 years what advancements will have been made by then thanks for your input dave

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As a retired RN who took care of TAVR patients, my thinking is along your lines, Davej. I would seek out at least two more opinions!

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Hello @karen1948 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I can certainly understand your concern about having another procedure that might result in another "brain attack" and/or stroke.

I would encourage you to get a second opinion at a heart care center. Please know that it is always a patient's right to get a second opinion.
There are several of these centers in different parts of the U.S. I see from your profile that you are a resident of Florida. Are you aware that there is a Mayo Clinic facility in Jacksonville, FL?

Here is the link to get appointment information, https://www.mayoclinic.org/appointments?

Did your current cardiologist give you any reason in particular why you had this happened to you after the catheterization?

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@hopeful33250

Hello @karen1948 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I can certainly understand your concern about having another procedure that might result in another "brain attack" and/or stroke.

I would encourage you to get a second opinion at a heart care center. Please know that it is always a patient's right to get a second opinion.
There are several of these centers in different parts of the U.S. I see from your profile that you are a resident of Florida. Are you aware that there is a Mayo Clinic facility in Jacksonville, FL?

Here is the link to get appointment information, https://www.mayoclinic.org/appointments?

Did your current cardiologist give you any reason in particular why you had this happened to you after the catheterization?

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Thank you, Teresa. This was my second opinion. I had gone to a cardiologist in my town who did not instill confidence in me. I then went to Mayo Clinic, and that is where I had the catheterization. I was told that the stroke could have been caused by some calcium deposits in the aorta that broke away and went to my brain. After I was treated, the neurologist said that there were just three tiny spots of brain damage, and I am grateful that there are no residual effects. If the stroke had happened at the heart/vascular center where I would have been if I’d stayed with my original cardiologist, I don’t know if I would have had the same outcome. I spent the 24 hours on the Neurology floor at Mayo with excellent care.

I will be having a CT cardiac angiogram at Mayo next week. After that, I’ll talk to the surgeon and get more questions answered. This is such a hard decision. If I have another stroke, my life as I know it could be over. I might not even survive the TAVR procedure. I’ll know more next week. Hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.

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@karen1945

Thank you, Teresa. This was my second opinion. I had gone to a cardiologist in my town who did not instill confidence in me. I then went to Mayo Clinic, and that is where I had the catheterization. I was told that the stroke could have been caused by some calcium deposits in the aorta that broke away and went to my brain. After I was treated, the neurologist said that there were just three tiny spots of brain damage, and I am grateful that there are no residual effects. If the stroke had happened at the heart/vascular center where I would have been if I’d stayed with my original cardiologist, I don’t know if I would have had the same outcome. I spent the 24 hours on the Neurology floor at Mayo with excellent care.

I will be having a CT cardiac angiogram at Mayo next week. After that, I’ll talk to the surgeon and get more questions answered. This is such a hard decision. If I have another stroke, my life as I know it could be over. I might not even survive the TAVR procedure. I’ll know more next week. Hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.

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@karen1945

I am glad that you are getting such good care at Mayo. I know that you feel confident about it and that is so important. I can certainly understand how you would feel worried about making this decision. I hope that after you get the results from the CT cardiac angiogram you will feel more confident.

I have aortic insufficiency, however, my problem will require open-heart surgery rather than the TAVR procedure. I feel frightened about that prospect as well. So far, I'm keeping my original parts until they cause me more problems. I have a mild case of heart failure but not congestive heart failure at this time. I do have a lack of stamina and just can't accomplish what I would like.

What are your main symptoms of aortic stenosis?

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@hopeful33250 Hi Teresa If you have to ever have open heart go in with confidence that all will be well. I had open heart with 3 veins taken from my leg for my by pass It was an easy operation yes you will be uncomfortable for a while but nothing you won't be able to handle .I'm seeing my cardiologist tomorrow it's routine but I have some heaviness now when going uphill I'm concerned about

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