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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A TAVR is a procedure to replace your aortic valve. It is done without removing your old valve. The aortic valve is between the left ventricle and the aorta. The left ventricle is the lower left chamber of your heart. The aorta is a blood vessel that pumps blood to your brain and body. The aortic valve opens and closes to let blood flow from your heart to the rest of your body.
- TAVR may be used to replace your aortic valve if open heart surgery is not safe for you. Your valve will be replaced with a tissue valve. The tissue may be taken from an animal, such as a pig or cow.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns
- Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing
- You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
- Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
- Weakness in an arm or leg
- Confusion or difficulty speaking
- Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
- You have trouble breathing.
Seek care immediately if:
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- Your stitches come apart.
- Your wound gets swollen quickly.
- Your heart is beating faster or slower than usual.
- Your arm or leg feels numb, cool, or looks pale.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You feel weak or dizzy.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever or chills.
- Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
- Your wound looks more bruised or there is new bruising near your wound.
- You have nausea or are vomiting.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Examples of blood thinners include heparin and warfarin. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin.
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- Antiplatelets , such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. Take your antiplatelet medicine exactly as directed. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.
- Acetaminophen helps decrease your pain. This medicine is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to take, and how often to take it. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Care for your wound as directed:
Ask your healthcare provider when your wound can get wet. Carefully wash around the wound with soap and water. Do not scrub your wound. You can let soap and water gently run over your wound. Gently pat dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Check your wound every day for signs of infection such as swelling, pus, or redness. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. Do not put lotions or powders on your wound. Do not take a bath or swim until your healthcare provider says it is okay. These activities can increase your risk for a wound infection.
Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds or do vigorous activities such as sports. These actions will put too much stress on your wound and heart. Take short walks around the house several times a day. This will help prevent blood clots. Ask your healthcare provider what other activities are safe for you to do. Also ask when you can return to your normal activities and work or school.
- Eat heart healthy foods. You may need to eat foods that are low in salt, fat, or cholesterol. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about a heart healthy diet.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause heart and lung damage. Nicotine can also slow healing. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Do not drink alcohol. Ask your cardiologist if it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Alcohol can increase your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Extra weight can increase the stress on your heart. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
- Exercise as directed after you recover. Your healthcare provider can help you create an exercise plan that is right for you. Exercise will help keep your heart healthy.
Ask your healthcare provider if you need antibiotics before procedures:
Some procedures may allow bacteria to get into your blood and travel to your heart. This can cause an infection in your heart and prevent you from healing. You may need antibiotics before certain procedures that happen in the next 6 months to prevent infection. This may also include certain dental procedures. Ask your healthcare provider for more information.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need to return for tests. These tests will make sure your valve is working correctly. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.