Treatment for aortic stenosis depends on how far the disease has progressed. If the patient’s stenosis is mild, medication may be prescribed to regulate the heart, prevent blood clots, and manage symptoms. However, medication is a palliative therapy and is not an effective treatment for severe aortic stenosis. The only effective treatment for severe aortic stenosis is to replace the diseased aortic valve. This can be done with open heart surgery or transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
Open Heart Surgery
During open heart surgery, the surgeon removes the diseased aortic valve and replaces it with either a mechanical valve (made from man-made materials) or a biological valve (made from animal or human tissue), through a median sternotomy or small right anterior thoracotomy (minimally invasive approach).
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
TAVR is less invasive than open heart surgery. It uses a catheter to replace the heart valve instead of opening up the chest and completely removing the diseased valve. The bioprosthetic valve used during TAVR is inserted within the diseased aortic valve. The valve is crimped onto a balloon that is expanded and pushes the leaflets of the diseased valve aside.
To learn more about CHI Memorial’s Heart Valve Program, talk with your physician or call the valve clinic coordinator at (423) 495-4327.