Transcatheter Valve Implantation

Adelaide Cardiothoracic > Valve Surgery > Transcatheter Valve Implantation

Implantation of new heart valves by means of a catheter rather than conventional heart surgery is a rapidly expanding field. The most commonly treated valve for this technique is the aortic valve, and this procedure is termed ‘transcatheter aortic valve implantation’ or TAVI. Over the last 10 years or so, TAVI has become a very common way of treating a narrowed aortic valve (aortic stenosis, either of the patient’s own valve or of a degenerated tissue valve implanted previously) in patients who are felt to be at high risk of complications from conventional surgery, either because of their age, other health problems, previous heart surgery, or some other reason. Less commonly, other valves are treated via catheter-based techniques, such as transcatheter mitral valve implantation into degenerated tissue valves.

About the surgery

At Adelaide Cardiothoracic we perform TAVIs as part of a “Heart Team”, which means that cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, anaesthetists, geriatricians, and nursing staff are all involved in the decision regarding the best options for the patient and the patient’s care. The TAVI procedure is performed in a catheterisation suite or hybrid operating theatre with advanced imaging technology, and the procedure is usually performed by your surgeon and an interventional cardiologist working together.

In TAVI, a biological (tissue) valve is mounted inside a stent (a circular wire mesh). The stent is then compressed so that it can fit inside a small delivery sheath (tube). The TAVI valve is then delivered to the aortic valve, the stent is expanded, and the biological valve inside begins to work. In TAVI, the calcified leaflets of the patient’s diseased aortic valve are not removed, instead, they are pushed to the side when the stent expands and help to lock the stent in place.

The most common route for delivering the new valve in a TAVI procedure is via the femoral artery in the groin. In some patients, this is not suitable so alternatives may be considered, such as the subclavian artery (under the collarbone), or the new valve may be delivered directly into the heart via a small incision in the chest. For some patients being considered for a TAVI procedure, there may be no suitable access route and the only options may be conventional surgery or continuing treatment with medications alone.

Recovery period

A successful TAVI procedure results in a more rapid recovery than is seen after conventional surgery; most patients only need one or two days in hospital before they are able to go home. Full recovery may still take one to two months. Your surgeon and cardiologist will provide specific guidelines for your recovery and return to activities.

For more information please visit:

Cleveland Clinic Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)