A Trancatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR, is a new, less invasive way to treat patients with aortic valve stenosis. This is a condition in which the valve that leads blood from the heart to the rest of the body becomes obstructed. Here is what to expect after a TAVR procedure.
TAVR: An Alternative for Open Heart Surgery
Those patients with aortic valve stenosis which requires that a valve in the heart be replaced now have a surgical choice. They no longer need major open heart surgery with a large incision through the breastbone and a lengthy recovery time.
TAVR is a much less invasive way to replace the valve without general anesthesia. Local anesthesia is given as a special catheter is threaded into a blood vessel through the groin or leg and guided inside the heart.
What To Expect After TAVR Surgery
In addition to the less invasive nature of TAVR, what to expect afterwards is also far different from open heart surgery.
Here is what to expect:
Shorter Time in the Hospital
Work with New Jersey Cardiology Associates to plan out your goals for recovery. Expect to stay in the ICU for fewer days than if you had open heart surgery. The same is true for time to stay in the hospital.
There Will Be Pain
There will be some pain at the catheter insertion site. You might be sent home with a narcotic for pain to gradually transition to other medications. The less pain you have, the quicker you can recover through increasing activities.
It will take two weeks for the wound at your catheter site to heal. New Jersey Cardiology Associates will remove the dressing, stitches, or staples. Expect it to be bruised for a few weeks, and watch carefully for any redness, swelling, bleeding, or drainage of fluid.
You Will Need Cardiac Rehab
The good news is that you won’t have a chest incision to slow you down, but the rehab may be slower and take longer than you wish. This is mostly because those who qualify for TAVR are weaker at the start.
Expect A Gradual Return To Your Activities
Don’t try to do too much too fast. Follow New Jersey Cardiology Associates’ orders concerning climbing stairs, lifting, and resting. It may take several weeks to even months to return to all your normal activities.
You will be given a new medication to prevent blood clots at the site of the valve replacement.
Watch For Complications
Be vigilant as time passes and be on the lookout for fever or flu like symptoms or heart palpitations. If you have shortness of breath or chest pains, vision or speaking issues or a change in your leg color, call 911.
Contact New Jersey Cardiology Associates with any questions post surgery, or if you want to know if TAVR is an option for you.