TAVI for aortic stenosis
A transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a procedure that we use to treat aortic stenosis. This is a condition where the aortic valve in your heart is narrowed.
During the procedure, we put a new valve inside the narrowed aortic valve in your heart. You usually have a local anaesthetic. This means that you are awake, but do not feel any pain. The procedure takes 1 to 2 hours.
You have tests called a TAVI assessment to decide if a TAVI is the best option for you. After this assessment, your heart team contacts you with an appointment for your TAVI procedure.
Before your TAVI
If you come from home to have your TAVI, please bring:
- all your medicines, including anything that you have on prescription or buy from a pharmacy or shop (including alternative medicines, such as herbal remedies)
- any clinic letters from other hospitals
- contact details for family members or a carer
- a list of any questions that you have
There is limited space in the ward. Please do not bring too many things with you into hospital.
During a TAVI
When you arrive at the department, your heart team assesses you. An anaesthetist examines you on the evening before or the morning of your procedure.
You cannot eat anything for 6 hours before your procedure. Your heart team gives you more information about this.
A catheter is a thin hollow tube. Sometimes, it is not suitable to put a catheter into the groin. If this is the case, your heart team explains other options.
When the catheter reaches your heart, we put it in the opening of the aortic valve. If necessary, we might gently inflate a balloon to make room for the new valve.
The new artificial valve is made of a metal tube (stent) and porcine (pig) or bovine (cow) tissue.
The new valve might expand by itself or we might expand it using the balloon. This depends on which type of valve is used. If we use a balloon, we deflate it before removing the balloon and catheter.
We close the puncture site (the small cut where we put in the catheter) with a device that seals the blood vessel.
After the procedure
After your TAVI, you might feel uncomfortable in the area where you had the procedure. This wears off in a few days. The nurses looking after you give you painkillers if you need them.
We might give you paracetamol when you leave hospital. If you need more pain medicine, you can ask your GP.
You might also have bruising or pain at your groin.
Recovering in hospital
We put you on a heart monitor for 1 to 2 days after the procedure. Your heart team sees you every day. The team checks your wound site during this time.
Depending on where you are treated, you might also have these tests:
- A chest X-ray.
- Blood tests.
- An electrocardiogram (ECG), which measures your heart rhythm.
- A transthoracic echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound scan to look at your heart and nearby blood vessels.
Leaving hospital after your TAVI
You must have a responsible adult to help you get home. You can travel by car, but only as a passenger. Do not drive yourself home because this could be dangerous.
If you're thinking of using public transport, please talk to your heart team before your procedure. You can then plan this safely.
Resource number: 5108/VER1
Last review: November 2020
Next review: November 2023