What is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement?

A transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is recommended when a doctor determines that a patient has severe aortic stenosis. This occurs when a heart valve that regulates the blood flow from the heart, called the aortic valve, narrows or becomes obstructed.

TAVR is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows a new valve to be inserted within the existing, failing valve. A specially-trained Heart Teamworks together to perform the procedure. It can save lives and significantly improve quality of life for patients.

Unlike SAVR, a surgical aortic valve replacement that requires open-heart surgery, TAVR procedures typically involve a shorter recovery time and there is less risk of stroke both during and after the TAVR procedure.

What is Cerebral Embolic Debris?

During a TAVR procedure, a long flexible tube (catheter) is threaded through an artery (often through a small incision in the leg) to reach the aortic valve. Once in position, an artificial replacement valve at the tip of the catheter is expanded, pushing the diseased natural valve aside.

In the process of inserting the catheter, embolic debris – calcium, tissue or other organic or foreign matter – may break loose and travel through the bloodstream toward the brain. If this matter sticks, it could potentially limit the blood and oxygen supply to the brain, which can lead to long-term damage.

Stroke Risk

When the oxygen supply to the brain is restricted, the patient is at a greater risk for a stroke, which may cause permanent brain damage or cerebral injury. Unfortunately, the nature, frequency and extent of the damage are difficult to predict. Studies show that almost 1 in 10 patients exhibit obvious signs of brain injury (or stroke), as a result of cerebral embolic debris released during the TAVR procedure which is as high, or higher, with surgery (SAVR).1

Treatment Options

To protect patients from the risk of a stroke during TAVR, medical centers are beginning to offer Protected TAVR™ using the Sentinel® Cerebral Protection System. The Sentinel system is the only device that filters, captures and removes potentially dangerous debris before it can reach a patient’s brain.

Sentinel technology has been used to protect thousands of patients worldwide and is the most-studied device in the field of TAVR cerebral protection.

Find Hospitals Using Sentinel CPS

1 Kapadia S, Kodali S, Makkar R, et al. Protection against cerebral embolism during transcatheter aortic valve replacement. JACC. 2017;69(4): 367-377.