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Cardiac surgery and TAVI

Cardiac surgery is considered if you have severe valvular heart disease and/or severe multi-vessel coronary artery disease. These are major open heart operations performed routinely under general anaesthetic. Patients should expect to stay in hospital for one week, if there are no complications, and expect a minimum recovery period of 6-10 weeks.

A detailed pre-operative assessment is required to assess suitability for surgery including blood tests, echocardiography, 12-lead ECG, coronary angiography, lung function testing and carotid artery scanning. It is important to determine the type, complexity and risk of operation and establish that potential benefit outweighs risks. It is also important to have a discussion with regards the choices available to you, such as the most suitable type of heart valve replacement.

Certain high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis, not amenable to conventional surgery, may be suitable for a less invasive Transcatheter Aortic Valve Intervention procedure, known as TAVI. In this procedure, a replacement valve is generally passed via the femoral artery (trans-femoral) or directly (trans-apical) and positioned in the heart.