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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI): Before Your Procedure

The heart

What is transcatheter aortic valve implantation?

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a procedure to replace the aortic heart valve. Your doctor will use a catheter to put in your new heart valve. You won't need open-heart surgery. TAVI is also called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

TAVI is often done through a cut (incision) in the groin. But sometimes a small cut is made in the chest. Your doctor will use a tube called a catheter and special tools that fit inside it. The doctor puts the catheter into a blood vessel and moves it into the heart.

An artificial valve fits inside the catheter. Your doctor will move the new valve into your damaged valve. It will expand and work in place of the old valve.

You may be asleep for the procedure, or you may get a sedative that will help you relax.

You may stay in the hospital for up to several days.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How do you prepare for the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • You will have several tests to get ready. These may include echocardiograms and a CT scan.
  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The procedure will take between 2 and 5 hours. The time depends on the size and shape of your arteries and heart.
  • After the procedure, pressure will be applied to the area where the catheter was put in your blood vessel. Then the area may be covered with a bandage or a compression device. This will prevent bleeding.
  • Nurses will check your heart rate and blood pressure. The nurse will also check the catheter site for bleeding.
  • If the catheter was put in your groin, you will need to lie still and keep your leg straight for several hours. The nurse may put a weighted bag on your leg to keep it still.
  • You may have a bruise or a small lump where the catheter was put in your blood vessel. This is normal and will go away.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your procedure. They will cover things like diet, follow-up care, cardiac rehab, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter I406 in the search box to learn more about "Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI): Before Your Procedure".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.