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Posted By: Daniel Thibodeau, MHP, PA-C
February 08, 2019
Over the last few years more and more development and technology has been devoted to transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. This procedure, developed and used for only those with severe aortic stenosis, is done by either a self-expanding or balloon expanding catheter that places the native or replaced valve leaflets against the aortic root walls, creating a new valve structure. The technology is rapidly improving, and the early success was mixed. Concern still remains on the potential for stroke with this procedure. As the device is deployed by either self-expanding or balloon technique, there is the potential for an embolic event or hypoperfusion to occur that can cause a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). Another risk associated with this procedure is the creation of an embolus on the aortic root wall that has potential to dislodge.
The initial data on these new procedures are not consistent, and questions are raised as to the real number of increased CVAs and lesions that result. In addition, recent studies suggest that in patients who undergo these procedures, there may be a small showering effect of emboli that are silent—without symptoms detected—or transient in nature. In some studies, most of these events appear to have resolved after a 3-month post-procedure time frame. To help counter these potential adverse effects, measures are being taken and used where other devices are employed to attempt to capture any emboli or material that may have the potential to cause a stroke.
All in all, the success levels for this procedure are still noteworthy and a consideration for patients who have severe disease and significant quality-of-life issues. PAs and nurse practitioners who have patients with this condition should consider getting a cardiology evaluation so that patients may get the most up-to-date advice on managing this disease.
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