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What might I ask my doctor about nonsurgical aortic valve replacement?

In November 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new treatment for heart patients with severe aortic valve stenosis who are not good candidates for open-heart valve replacement surgery. This new procedure, called transcatheter valve replacement (TAVR), replaces the diseased aortic valve through a tube that is placed in the patient’s leg, or through an incision in the chest that is much smaller than traditional surgery.

As part of a conversation with your physician about the possible benefits and complications of TAVR, you might consider asking the following questions:

  • How will percutaneous aortic valve replacement benefit me? Will I live longer? Will I feel better?
  • What personal risk factors and potential benefits should I consider when making this decision?
  • Is this new treatment safe? What are the risks?
  • Where can I learn more about the procedure?
  • Should I wait until more people have the procedure or other new devices become available?
  • Can I receive this treatment at a local hospital or do I need to travel? Who would perform the procedure?
  • Have other people had this procedure? What are the odds that I will survive?
  • What will happen if I don’t have this procedure?
  • How can I find a doctor with the expertise and experience to do this procedure?
  • How many times has my cardiologist performed the procedure? What is his or her success rate?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.