The aortic valve is the one the main four valves that allow blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. Valvular heart disease, especially aortic stenosis, involves the aortic valve to become weak or non-functioning, leading to disrupted flow cycle of the blood. Symptoms of this disease include weakness and shortness of breath, and reduced life expectancy. Treatment usually involves open heart valve surgery but in special cases, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) or Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is used.

Doctor holding a plastic heart in hand

TAVI involves implantation of another aortic valve, made from natural heart muscles of either pig or cow, into the patient. The aortic valve, though made through natural heart muscles of mammals, is first re-engineered and then attached to a mesh frame. This procedure is new but has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, mainly for patients suffering from the symptomatic aortic stenosis. The main difference between the two procedures is that; in open surgery, the patient’s chest separated, while in TAVI procedure, a small incision is made that does not affect the separation of chest bones. This procedure helps to alleviate the symptoms of aortic stenosis.

It is also necessary to take precautions against adverse events such as the risk of developing an infection in the heart valve or in the surrounding tissue, known as endocarditis. TAVI is an economical and effective method of aortic valve replacement without surgical treatment.