Frequently Asked Questions: TAVR

What is a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)?

TAVR is a heart valve replacement option for people with severe aortic stenosis who may not qualify for open aortic valve replacement surgery.

What are the advantages?

A TAVR can offer a less invasive approach for the treatment of severe aortic stenosis. The University of Michigan was the first cardiovascular center in Michigan to offer two options for aortic valve replacement: the Edwards SAPIEN® Valve and the Medtronic CoreValve®.  With over 1,000 TAVRs having been performed, the University of Michigan leads the state in the number of these procedures and is one of the top programs in the country in terms of aortic heart valve experience.

Why is TAVR now an option for low-risk patients?

In the approximately 10 years since TAVR was introduced, the procedure has become standard, with the U-M team leading in the number of procedures performed. Patients originally treated with TAVR were not candidates for open heart surgery and considered high risk. Over time, however, the success of the TAVR technology has been demonstrated, making it a viable option for patients at lower risk as well. U-M is one of only two health systems in Michigan invited to participate in a clinical trial offering TAVR for low-risk patients.

How will I know if I am a candidate for a TAVR procedure?

After extensive testing, our multidisciplinary team will evaluate your results and determine the best way to treat your aortic stenosis.

What if I’ve been told I’m not a candidate for surgery?

Even if you have been told you are not a candidate for open aortic valve replacement surgery elsewhere, we will re-evaluate you to determine if you meet our criteria for surgical intervention. If not, then we will continue your evaluation for a TAVR procedure. About one-third of patients are not candidates for open aortic valve replacement surgery. We will recommend the best option for you.

What is the difference between the Edwards SAPIEN Valve and the Medtronic CoreValve?

They are the same in that they both replace a narrowed (stenotic) aortic valve. They are different in their design but function essentially in the same way. The TAVRs come in different sizes and based on the results of your testing, we determine the best valve for you based on your anatomy. Everyone is different. With both valve options we can offer more choices.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Typically about three to five days.

Are there any major restrictions after the procedure?

Not really. We will give you detailed instructions after your procedure.

What is longer-term recovery like?

Most patients can go back to their lifestyle after a few days and return to normal activities faster than with major surgery.

What testing will I need to qualify for a TAVR procedure?

A variety of tests will be needed to evaluate your aortic stenosis. The exact tests will be determined at your first appointment.  

Why do I have to get dental clearance?

Any infection that may be present in your mouth or teeth can spread to your valve and cause an infection in your valve. Therefore it is important for your dentist to examine you and provide dental clearance prior to any valve procedure. 

Is the procedure covered by insurance?

It depends on your insurance. We accept different insurance plans.

Is it safe to have an X-ray or MRI with a TAVR?

X-rays and MRIs are generally safe. It is important, though, to tell any healthcare provider that you've had a TAVR.

Patient Resources

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment to discuss your need for aortic valve treatment, call the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center toll-free at 888-287-1082 or email us at Visit our Make an Appointment page for more information about what to expect when you call us.