Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) gives options to those with aortic stenosis who, due to age or health, are not candidates for traditional open-heart valve replacement surgery. Penn was the first in the Philadelphia area to offer this procedure, and continues to be one of the most experienced providers of TAVR in the United States.

  • HUP successfully performed its first TAVR procedure in November 2007
  • More than 2,500 TAVR procedures have been performed at Penn Medicine

What to Expect During TAVR

During the TAVR procedure, a tube-based delivery system called a catheter is inserted through a small cut in the thigh to the artery. This allows the surgeon to place a balloon-expandable heart valve into the body. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia or conscious sedation and usually takes two to three hours to complete.

TAVR Risks and Recovery

TAVR is a significant procedure involving general anesthesia and carries with it some serious risks, including risks of death, stroke, damage to the artery used for insertion of the valve, major bleeding, and other life-threatening and serious events. In addition, the longevity of this valve has not yet been determined since this is a new procedure. However, our cardiac imaging experts will make sure the new valve is perfectly placed during the procedure, and our cardiac care team ensures your recovery and post-operative care is carefully monitored.

You will remain in the intensive care unit (ICU) until your doctor feels you can be transferred to a regular hospital room, where we will continue to monitor your comfort and process. A physical therapist will evaluate you and help you move as soon as possible. On average, the typical hospital stay for a TAVR procedure is three to five days, with one day in the ICU.

You may be given blood-thinning medicine for six months and aspirin for the rest of your life, unless otherwise specified by your doctor. Regular check-ups by your doctor are very important. A big advantage of TAVR over traditional open-heart surgery is the reduced recovery time, which will help you get back to the things you love even more quickly.

Sentinel Cerebral Protection System (CPS) for TAVR

TAVR is one the most effective treatments for severe aortic stenosis and significantly improves patient quality-of-life. As with any procedure, there is occasional risk involved. During TAVR, pieces of the calcium build-up and other debris can break loose and travel to the brain potentially causing stroke. 

To protect patients from stroke, Penn’s TAVR team uses an innovative, FDA-approved device called the Sentinel Cerebral Protection System. The Sentinel is a unique device that filters, captures and removes the debris released during TAVR before it reaches the brain. Sentinel CPS is the only protection device available in the U.S. and is different from other protection devices under investigation because it is securely placed away from the aortic arch, reducing interference with TAVR catheters, and allowing physicians to focus solely on the TAVR procedure. 

Penn Medicine’s TAVR Program was involved in the clinical trial for the Sentinel Cerebral Protection System and is one of the only medical centers in the region using the device to protect patients from the risk of stroke during TAVR.

Share This Page: