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AANA J. 2013 Oct;81(5):399-408.

AANA Journal Course: Update for nurse anesthetists--part-4--transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

Author information

  • 1Cleveland Clinic/Case Western Reserve University, School of Nurse Anesthesia, USA.
  • 2Cleveland Clinic/Case Western Reserve University, School of Nurse Anesthesia, USA.


Aortic stenosis is the most frequently acquired heart disease, and the prevalence is rising because of the aging population. If the disease is left untreated, survival in symptomatic patients averages only 2 to 3 years. Surgical aortic valve replacement is the only definitive treatment, yet 30% of elderly patients are not considered candidates because the presence of comorbidities makes the risk of sternotomy and cardiopulmonary bypass prohibitively high. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is an innovative, high-tech, less invasive alternative. The procedure is usually performed using general anesthesia and a multidisciplinary team from interventional cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery in a "hybrid" operating environment with advanced imaging capabilities. There are 2 major catheter-based approaches to the aortic valve: retrograde percutaneous through the femoral artery and aorta or direct antegrade through a thoracotomy and the left ventricular apex. Apnea and rapid ventricular pacing are used to interrupt cardiac ejection during balloon valvuloplasty and prosthesis implantation. The most significant complications include vascular damage, stroke, paravalvular aortic insufficiency, and heart block. Outcomes studies comparing TAVR with medical management demonstrate improved patient survival, functional status, and quality of life. Currently TAVR is considered the treatment of choice for patients who are not surgical candidates and is a proven alternative for high-risk surgical candidates.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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