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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Cottage Heart and Vascular Center - TAVR Team

Are You a Candidate for TAVR?

For more information on TAVR, or to refer a patient, please call Jillian Loewen, NP, TAVR Coordinator at
805-324-9012.

When your heart needs advanced medical care, the experience of the Cottage Heart and Vascular Center’s top cardiologists, surgeons and vascular specialists are here for you. We are proud to be the first facility in our area to offer patients TAVR, an alternative to open-heart surgery.

Severe Aortic Stenosis (AS)

Your native valve is the valve you were born with. AS occurs when your aortic valve does not open as it should. This makes your heart work harder to pump blood through your body. This affects your health and limits your normal daily activities.

Severe AS may be caused by the following:

  • Age
  • Calcium buildup that narrows the aortic valve
  • Radiation therapy
  • Infection of the heart

Left untreated, severe AS can lead to heart failure or even sudden death.

What Is TAVR?

TAVR is the first non-surgical replacement of the aortic valve in your heart. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for appropriate patients with aortic valve stenosis who are not candidates for open surgery to replace their natural aortic valve.

In the past, the only way to replace this valve was through open-heart surgery. What differentiates TAVR from open-heart surgery is that a team of specialists places a collapsible aortic heart valve into the body via a catheter that is inserted through the leg, and threaded up to the heart. This breakthrough technology means a surgical incision through the chest is not needed. 

Patient Testimonial

Cottage Health TAVR Patient - Bob Reed

Four days after undergoing the TAVR procedure, Bob Reed went home. After a few weeks, he was back at his Cottage Health volunteer post. “You’ll see me running through the hospital like I used to.”

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Emerging Valve Therapies

Cottage Health TAVR Lecture Video

Cardiologist Joseph Aragon, MD, discusses how new technology and techniques are helping patients suffering from heart valve problems.

Watch Video

  • This drawing shows a healthy heart valve. The valve can open wide to let blood flow freely.
  • This drawing shows a narrowed heart valve. The valve lets less blood through, which means less blood is pumped out to the body.

Is TAVR the Best Option For Me?

To decide if this surgery is right for you, we need a lot of information about you, your heart and your general health.

After discussing your treatment options, a decision will be made jointly between you, your family and our Heart Team. If you wish, you may continue with your current treatment instead.

For more information on TAVR, or to refer a patient, please call Jillian Loewen, NP, TAVR Coordinator at 805-324-9012.

Quality of Life Improvements

A standard tool is used to assess health at 30 days and 1 year. At 30 days most TAVR patients;

  • Felt less pain
  • Had improved health
  • Are less anxious
  • Could take care of themselves better
  • Went back to everyday activities

This improvement was maintained at 1 year.

Testing Prior to TAVR Procedure

To give us a complete picture of you and your health, you will need the following tests:

  • Echocardiogram - This test uses sound waves to make an image of your heart. Your doctor uses this test to look at your heart valve.
  • CT Angiogram - You will lie on a table that moves into a scanner. The scanner will take detailed pictures of your blood vessels so that we can see if your blood vessels from your groin to your heart are large enough for the tube that carries your new valve to your heart. It also helps us determine what size of valve you will need. This test includes a shot of contrast (X-ray) dye into a vein in your arm.
  • Carotid Ultrasound (or doppler) - This is a test to evaluate for plaque build-up or disease in the blood vessels that lead to your brain.
  • Pulmonary (Lung) Function Test - This is a breathing test to measure how well your lungs are working.
  • Initial Evaluation by Two Cardiothoracic Surgeons - This is used to evaluate your surgical risk and determine if you would be a good candidate for TAVR. 
  • Coronary Angiogram - This test checks your heart and blood vessels. We insert a tube into a blood vessel in your leg or arm, then we guide the tube into your heart. Next we inject X-ray dye through the tube. The dye helps the heart and blood vessels show up more clearly on the X-rays we take. During this test, your doctor may put tubes in your heart to measure the pressure in different areas. This is called right heart catheterization. For your convenience, we will do our best to set up all of your tests on the same one or two days. Further workup may be required depending on the results of these tests. Your Heart Team will discuss this plan with you and your family.
  • Dental - If you have not been to the dentist in the last six months, please see your dentist and have your teeth cleaned.
  • Frailty Testing - This is done to determine how well you will recover after a procedure, such as TAVR. This is a series of small exercises and questions done in the office. Do not be discouraged if you are unable to complete, or struggle with some of the testing.

What's Your Heart's Age?

Cottage Heart & Vascular Center - AssessmentUse this tool to find out if your heart age is higher or lower than your actual age. After completing the online assessment, you'll receive a free personalized report that outlines important information about your heart health.

Go to the Heart Assessment

One Year Anniversary of Successful TAVR Surgeries

Cottage Health - Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

Cottage Health held a celebration for the cardiac medical team and patients who've successfully undergone a relatively new heart surgery technique called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).

Learn More about TAVR Procedure

Evelyn Alberts - TAVR Patient

Evelyn Alberts - TAVR Patient - Cottage Heart & Vascular Center

Within days of the TAVR procedure, 91-year-old Evelyn Alberts, of Montecito, was back at home enjoying her active and independent lifestyle.

Watch Video

TAVR Team

Joseph Aragon, MD, Interventional Cardiologist

Alan Malki, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Michael Shenoda, MD, Interventional Cardiologist

Colin Shafer, MD, Non-Invasive Cardiologist

Caleb Thompson, MD, Cardiology, Cardiology-Interventional

Phillip West, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Jillian Loewen, NP, TAVR Coordinator

Cardiac Anesthesiologists

Surgical Nurses & Technicians

Cath Lab Nurses & Technicians

Perfusionist