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TAVR: Heart Repair without Invasive Surgery

One of the most common and serious heart problems is aortic valve stenosis. It happens when the valve that sends blood from your heart into your body, hardens and narrows.

As a result, blood flow is reduced and the heart muscle weakens from overwork. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pressure or tightness, palpitations, reduced energy levels and eventually, heart failure.

Until recently, the only solution was to repair the valve during open-heart surgery. But thanks to advances in technology and the pioneering work of Torrance Memorial Cardiologist Salman M. Azam, M.D., these valve repairs can now happen through a small incision the size of a dime.

This revolutionary new technique for valve replacement is called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement or TAVR.

What is TAVR?

“The entire procedure is done through the femoral artery, similar to standard heart catheterization,” explains Dr. Azam. “We put in a new valve positioned in the existing valve to relieve the stress on the heart so it can pump blood to the rest of the body.”

The procedure is performed in a specialized hybrid operating room that has the full capabilities for heart surgery and advanced imaging technology. During the TAVR procedure, a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery in the patient’s groin. Physicians use technology to navigate a balloon-expandable aortic valve through the catheter and into the circulatory system to precisely the right spot in the heart.

This method eliminates open-heart surgery and results in a much faster recovery time for the patient.

For more information on TAVR, or to watch a video of a TAVR procedure,