In Turkey, an average of 1600 heart valves per year are treated with the procedure called TAVI. It gives better results than drug treatment in patients with high risk that cannot be operated on.
TAVI is simply the procedure of placing a new valve into the diseased aortic valve by entering the inguinal artery in the angiography laboratory, under local anesthesia, without stopping the heart and opening the chest of the patients. Treatment guidelines state that aortic valve replacement should be preferred as an alternative to open surgery in all other patients, even in some cases, except those with a low risk for open heart surgery.
Medicana International Ankara Hospital Cardiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Engin Bozkurt added that the new method, which refers to the procedure of inserting the aortic valve into the heart using the catheter method without actually performing open heart surgery, is a life-saving method for patients who cannot undergo surgery and who are left to their fate, stating that it especially prevents the risks of a new surgery for patiens with respiratory and kidney failure who have undergone heart surgery before.
The Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation method, known as TAVI in short, is applied to patients with serious health conditions. With this method, instead of open heart surgery performed for the last 50 years, patients get the chance to be treated by entering through the groin as if an angiography is done before their hearts are opened. In this procedure, which is performed with local anesthesia, no cuts or stitches are made. Immediately after the procedure, the breathing of the patients is relieved and the symptoms of heart failure are regressed.
How is it done in practice?
In the TAVI procedure, it is sufficient to administer local anesthesia to the inguinal or arm artery area of the patient. However, general anesthesia can be applied to a very small portion of patients, such as 1-5%. It goes up to the heart through the entered vessel and passes through the narrow aortic valve. First, this valve is ballooned and the stenosis is opened a little, then the new biological valve loaded into the stent is brought to the narrowed aortic valve area. As soon as it is opened, the new valve starts to work. Then, the vascular area is closed and the patient is taken to the bed.
Also Applied in Low-Risk Patients
TAVI practitioner Medicana International Ankara Hospital Cardiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Engin Bozkurt said that this method was developed primarily for patients who cannot undergo surgery for various reasons (such as advanced age, lung, liver or kidney dysfunction, patients who had previously undergone open heart surgery), and when a very serious success was achieved in this area, it also became as effective as open surgery in low-risk patients.
Stating that TAVI has proven itself in inoperable, high-risk, intermediate-risk patients, Prof. Dr. Bozkurt said, “Scientific data showing that it can be an alternative to classical open surgery even in low-risk patients have increased. This method has advantages over open surgery. We can briefly list the advantages of TAVI as follows. There is no need for general anesthesia, the chest is not opened and patients can return to their normal lives within 1-2 days."