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Apr 16, 2012

TAVI Improves Quality of Life in Patients with Aortic Stenosis

It is important that the procedure not only extends life but improves quality of life as well.

Aortic stenosis occurs when the main artery carrying blood out of the heart, called the aorta, does not open fully. This condition decreases blood flow from the heart, which over time can cause symptoms and complications that can reduce both length and quality of life. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments that can minimize symptoms and help patients live longer, from medications to procedures that can repair or replace the aortic valve in patients with aortic stenosis. And a recent study shows that a minimally invasive procedure, called transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), helps treat aortic stenosis and significantly improves quality of life.

This study, recently published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, included more than 100 patients undergoing TAVI for the treatment of aortic stenosis. Patients completed quality of life questionnaires in the year following their procedure, and not only did researchers find significant improvements in quality of life among patients, the quality of life in patients improved so much that after 1-year, it nearly matched that of the general U.S. population.

And why is quality of life so important? Aortic stenosis often worsens with age, causing debilitating symptoms later in life, such as shortness of breath and chest pain. Once symptoms set in, treatment is necessary but surgery can be risky, especially for older patients with other health conditions. So for high risk patients to whom TAVI is often recommended, it is important that the procedure not only extends life but improves quality of life as well. And based on the 1-year findings of this study, TAVI may be successful on both fronts, which is key to the treatment of aortic stenosis.

Questions for You to Consider

  • What is TAVI?

  • Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a minimally invasive procedure in which the faulty aortic valve is replaced with a prosthetic valve using a small tube that travels from an artery in the leg or chest to the heart. TAVI is less invasive than traditional open-heart surgery and often reserved for individuals at increased risk of complications from aortic valve surgery.