Transcatheter aortic valve replacement in Kansas City

As people age, their aortic valve can narrow. This condition, called aortic stenosis, can cause the heart to work harder to get the blood through, creating a shortage of blood to your organs. The symptoms can significantly impact a person's quality of life. They may have trouble doing everyday tasks like grocery shopping or gardening.

Once symptoms develop, the risk of death increases. That’s why the timing of treatment is crucial for patients with the disease.

At HCA Midwest Health, our cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons offer a nonsurgical, minimally invasive approach to aortic heart valve replacement—transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This procedure is performed at the HCA Midwest Health Heart & Vascular Institute’s Structural Heart Clinic, located at Research Medical Center.

To speak with our Structural Heart Program coordinator, call (816) 276-9050.

Personal, experienced cardiac care

  • A team approach to care - Our team of highly-skilled cardiologists, interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons collaborate to develop the optimal treatment plan for each and every patient
  • One office visit - Testing, review of all results and development a treatment plan in one, convenient office visit
  • One location - Diagnosis, evaluation and treatment in one convenient location
  • Personalized care - At your appointment, your care coordinator will guide and escort you to each test and heart specialist. You will never be left wandering the hospital. We are committed to treating every patient the way we would treat our own loved one

What is TAVR?

With transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a cardiologist inserts a new, bioprosthetic aortic valve on a long catheter through an artery in the leg. The doctor then makes sure the new valve is working correctly before closing the incision. The procedure takes about one to two hours to complete.

Is the TAVR procedure right for me?

Aortic valve replacement is recommended for patients with severe aortic stenosis. In the past, replacing the aortic valve meant major surgery—cutting the chest bone, stopping the heart and opening the heart to replace the valve.

Open-heart surgery is often too risky for patients over 70 years old or who have other conditions such as a diabetes diagnosis. With clinical trials demonstrating the success of TAVR, we are also using this method for patients who are younger and at a lower risk. The benefits of this approach include faster recovery, less pain and fewer complications than open-heart surgery.

As with any procedure, there are risks that should be discussed with your physician. To find out if TAVR is an option for you, talk to one of our specialists about a referral to the HCA Midwest Health Structural Heart Clinic.

Aortic stenosis

The heart's aortic valve is a three-leaflet valve that acts as the major valve between the heart and the aorta. The aorta is a large blood vessel that distributes blood throughout the body. The top part of the aorta pushes blood and oxygen to the head and brain. The bottom part of the aorta is responsible for sending blood through the rest of the body.

The purpose of the aortic valve is to prevent the backflow of blood. When the heart pumps, the valve opens to let blood out and then closes again. Aortic stenosis may occurs when calcium builds up on the valve's leaflets, preventing it from opening all the way. Calcium buildup typically occurs as people get older and makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood through the valve.

Aortic stenosis can cause a shortage of blood supply to the organs; however, often times, aortic stenosis does not cause any symptoms. As the condition progresses to severe aortic stenosis, symptoms may appear that affect daily life, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty completing daily activities (i.e. walking or getting dressed)
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Shortness of breath

TAVR recovery

When diagnosed and treated, patients with aortic valve disease can experience an improved quality of life and possibly a longer life. For patients with severe aortic stenosis, symptoms can significantly improve or even resolve. Many patients can return to a normal lifestyle after an aortic valve replacement procedure.

After the procedure, you can expect to be in the hospital for about three to five days. Our inpatient cardiac rehab team will begin working with you on the day of your procedure. For many people, regular activity can be resumed in about 10 days. Your TAVR team will give you specific follow-up instructions, but many times care includes:

  1. A phone call from your TAVR hospital care team a few days after discharge to check on your symptoms, medications and health.
  2. A follow-up office visit with your TAVR doctor within 30 days of the procedure. This visit will likely include an echocardiogram to check your new valve. Other tests may also be ordered.
  3. From there, your general cardiologist or primary care doctor will develop a follow-up care plan to fit your unique needs. Your heart should be checked yearly by a cardiologist.