How to Prepare for a TAVR Procedure

If your Heart Team has recommended a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure as the best course for repairing your heart valve, you may be wondering how to prepare.

As with any procedure, it’s important to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have. This includes educating yourself on the potential benefits and risks of the procedure. There are certain measures that can be taken by the Heart Team during a valve replacement surgery, such as using an embolic protection device. But there are also things that you can do to help the procedure and recovery process go as smoothly as possible. The following tips and guidelines will give you an idea of what to expect and help you prepare for the procedure and recovery.

Diet & Activity

  • Ask your Heart Team what level of activity is suitable for you leading up to the procedure.
  • Be sure to have someone nearby to monitor you during exercise in case you experience any issues (i.e. shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, etc.).
  • Follow the dietary guidelines given to you by the Heart Team. Patients undergoing TAVR procedures are commonly asked to limit their liquid and salt intake.

Medications:

  • Discuss all the medicines and natural health products you take with the Heart Team. Be especially sure to talk about any blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), dabigatran (Pradaxa), apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), clopidogrel (Plavix), prasugrel (Effient), ticagrelor (Brilinta), or aspirin. The team will provide instructions about whether you should stop taking these medicines before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what the team wants you to do.
  • Ask about your routine medications that may not be related to the heart. Should you take them as scheduled before your procedure?
  • Tell your Heart Team about any allergies or reactions to medications you have had in the past.

Planning for Post Procedure

  • Let your Heart Team know if you have an advanced care plan.
  • Make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from the hospital. You will want to designate someone to wait with you during the procedure and assist you through the recovery process.

Your Heart Team may recommend that you bring several items to the hospital, including:

  • A list of your medications
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids or dentures
  • Items to help you relax, such as music, games or books

The night before: Before the transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure, remove all nail polish. Take a bath or shower and clean yourself well. If your care team suggested that you use any microbial soaps, follow their instructions. After you bathe, don’t use lotions, creams, powder or deodorant.

The day of: If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water. Be sure to take off all jewelry and piercings, and take out contact lenses. Remember to give a friend or family member anything of value to hold.

If you notice any new or unusual symptoms leading up to the TAVR procedure, contact your Heart Team right away. And don’t hesitate to ask questions!