Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

If you have a heart valve problem called aortic stenosis, you may be able to improve your symptoms and quality of life—without the risks and recovery time of open heart surgery. Learn about transcatheter aortic valve replacement at Spectrum Health in West Michigan.

What’s TAVR?

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, is a minimally invasive procedure that places a prosthetic heart valve inside your damaged one.

Who’s a Candidate?

Your doctor may recommend TAVR if you or a loved one has severe aortic stenosis—a condition where the valve between your heart and your body’s largest artery becomes stiff and thick.

Nationally Recognized for TAVR

Spectrum Health holds Transcatheter Valve Certification™ from the American College of Cardiology. This award recognizes our expertise and commitment to providing high-quality patient care before, during and after TAVR.

Spectrum Health was the first in Michigan—and among the first organizations in the country—to earn this certification.

Alternative to Open Heart Surgery

To perform TAVR, your doctor places a thin, flexible tube (catheter) in a blood vessel in your thigh or chest. He or she uses imaging technology to guide the catheter to your heart. Once the catheter reaches your aortic valve, your doctor places a new valve inside the damaged one. Then, the catheter is removed. 

Compared with traditional open heart surgery, TAVR may result in: 

  • Quicker, easier recovery 
  • Shorter hospital stay 
  • Smaller scars 
  • Lower risk of complications 

At Spectrum Health, TAVR may be an option for you whether you face a low, intermediate, high or extreme risk for complications with open heart surgery.

Valve-in-Valve TAVR

People who have open heart valve replacement surgery may eventually need to have those artificial valves replaced. That’s because prosthetic valves made from animal tissue can break down over time. With valve-in-valve TAVR at Spectrum Health, your doctor places the TAVR device inside your old prosthetic valve. That means you don’t have to have another open heart surgery.

Experience and Expertise

Choose a team skilled at using TAVR to help even the sickest patients. We work with more high-risk and extreme-risk patients than most hospitals that offer this procedure. Not only do we take on more complex patients, but we also have a better-than-average survival rate. 

Our experience translates to high-quality care and improved outcomes for patients like you.

What to Expect

Start by meeting with a Spectrum Health cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon to learn more about TAVR and whether it’s an option for you. Your doctors may recommend some tests to learn more about your health before making a recommendation. 

If you and your care team decide that TAVR is the best treatment option for you, your procedure will take place at Spectrum Health Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids. 

Your procedure takes three to four hours. Then, you’ll stay in the hospital for one to two nights. 

After you leave the hospital, comply with your doctor’s recommendations for follow-up care. This could include appointments with your cardiologist and primary care provider, medications and cardiac rehabilitation.

Types of TAVR Valves

Your doctor will talk with you about the prosthetic valve that’s right for you. Spectrum Health offers both Food and Drug Administration-approved TAVR valves.

Core valve design

Get a Second Opinion

Feel certain you’re getting the best care with a second opinion at Spectrum Health.