Valve-in-Valve Procedure Offers Minimally Invasive Option for Replacing Tissue Valves
Over time (approximately 10 to 15 years), tissue heart valves (or bioprosthetic valves) degenerate and eventually fail, requiring the need for replacement. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) technology offers a minimally invasive procedure to patients who previously underwent open-heart surgery for a bioprosthetic valve. This option is especially beneficial for high-risk patients as it allows them to recover in less time — typically one week versus three months.
Using the less invasive “valve-in-valve” procedure, a new transcatheter valve is tightly placed into the orifice of the failed surgical valve, pushing the old valve leaflets aside.
A tissue valve can fail in one of two ways:
- It can become narrowed due to scarring.
- One of the leaflets in the valve can fail to close, allowing blood to leak back into the heart.
Bioprosthetic heart valves are often preferred over mechanical valves because they have a lower risk of thrombosis, but they don’t last as long. The standard treatment for a failed valve that has stenosed or is regurgitant has been surgery, but repeat cardiac surgery carries significant risk, especially for older patients, making valve-in-valve surgery a good option.
The TAVR option is often chosen because it offers a minimally invasive procedure to patients who previously underwent open-heart surgery for a tissue valve. With the TAVR procedure, the total time of recovery in an ambulating, moderate- to high-risk patient is about a week.
Be sure to talk to your doctor to find out if a minimally invasive TAVR procedure is right for you as you near the lifespan of your tissue valve.
Make an Appointment
To make an appointment to discuss whether you are a candidate for a valve-in-valve replacement, call the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center at 888-287-1082 or email us at CVCCallCtr@med.umich.edu. Visit our Make an Appointment page for more information about what to expect when you call us.