The normal aortic valve has three leaflets that open and close to control the flow of blood into the aorta from the left ventricle of the heart as it beats. In contrast, a bicuspid aortic valve, or BAV, has only two leaflets. With this malformation, the valve doesn’t function perfectly, however, it may function adequately for years with no symptoms or obvious signs of a problem. Depending on the degree of malformation, blood flowing through the valve may make an abnormal sound, or a murmur. While some bicuspid aortic valves are silent, the detection of a murmur may be the first indication of bicuspid aortic valve disease.
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Frequently asked questions about TAVR, including the definition, advantages and recovery information.
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TAVR stands for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure to replace the diseased aortic valve in patients with severe aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the aortic valve does not open fully due to a thickening of the valve leaflets, often caused by a buildup of calcium on the leaflets. This thickening makes it difficult for the leaflets to open and close, which decreases blood flow from the heart to the body. The condition may cause the heart to work harder to pump blood. For decades, open heart surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) has been the standard treatment for severe aortic stenosis, but in the past few years TAVR has rapidly replaced SAVR in high-risk patients as well as patients at moderate risk for surgery. This is due to excellent clinical trial results showing equal or better patient outcomes compared to SAVR. Most recently, in August of 2019, TAVR was approved for patients at low risk for surgery. These low-risk patients, whose aortic stenosis would typically receive an open-heart surgical aortic valve replacement, can now be considered a candidate for a TAVR procedure.
The tricuspid valve regulates blood flow from the heart’s upper right chamber (right atrium) to the lower right chamber (right ventricle). The valve’s role is to ensure blood flows in a forward direction from the right atrium to the ventricle. Any abnormal function of the tricuspid valve is known as tricuspid valve disease.