TAVR offers options, hope to patients with aortic stenosis


Less than a decade ago, patients with aortic stenosis had one treatment option: Open heart surgery. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the valve that leads to the aorta, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of your body. Surgery would remove and replace the aortic valve. Now, patients have another, less invasive option called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) that effectively addresses aortic stenosis.

We sat down with Brian Kolski, M.D., director of structural heart disease at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Southern California, to talk about TAVR. Watch the video to learn about:

  • Aortic stenosis and other structural heart conditions
  • How the valve is replaced during TAVR
  • Why TAVR is a less invasive option than open heart surgery

Read on for a few highlights from our conversation.

Popularity driven by patients

TAVR was first available for older patients who were unable to undergo open heart surgery, most often because of complicated conditions that made surgery a high-risk procedure. Now, TAVR is approved for more patients, including younger patients.

Patients today are also savvy; they’ve done the research and, of course, prefer a minimally invasive option.

“TAVR has grown exponentially since 2014, and we’ve been able to expand the procedure to many different patients,” said Dr. Kolski. “These patients today are also savvy; they’ve done the research and, of course, prefer a minimally invasive option.”

However, Dr. Kolski is quick to point out that just because a patient asks for the procedure doesn’t mean they are a good candidate for it.

“TAVR is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We use a comprehensive team view to make sure a patient is having the right surgery – not just the one they want,” Dr. Kolski states.

Watch the video below and learn more about the procedure – including how it works and the recovery process.

Collaborating for better patient care

Over 650,000 Americans die of heart disease every year making it the leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020, Providence heart experts treated nearly 600,000 people for heart conditions. As an interconnected health system across seven states, Providence has the ability to pull together heart specialists to collaborate across the system and deliver personalized care to every patient.

The mission of the Providence Heart Institute is to provide the highest level of care to our communities, regardless of where a patient lives.

“The mission of the Providence Heart Institute is to provide the highest level of care to our communities, regardless of where a patient lives,” says Matthew Ducsik, AVP of Providence Heart Institute. “Strong, integrated networks between our providers and programs help facilitate collaboration across specialties so physicians can develop and deploy clinical treatments to improve the care we provide to cardiovascular patients holistically.”

Shaping the future of heart care

Structural heart diseases can affect the heart’s anatomy, including the valves, chambers, walls and pockets. These breakdowns in the heart’s structure can be caused by conditions that develop over time, or a defect that’s been present since birth. Left untreated, structural heart diseases can lead to serious health issues, like congestive heart failure, heart attack or stroke.

Providence and its affiliated brands have been leaders in treating structural heart diseases, including aortic stenosis. For instance, Swedish participated in the first clinical trials for TAVR in 2012, before the procedure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Now, Swedish has performed more than 1,000 procedures; and Providence has performed more than 700 in the past few years.

“This is a newer technology, but this is not the first day,” says Ming Zhang, M.D., co-medical director of the structural heart and valve program at Swedish. “We have been thoroughly trained and certified for this procedure.”

This experience translates to a world-class, team-based approach to care – one that involves physicians, surgeons and specialists from several disciplines, collaborating in real time across borders.

“Our patients are evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team of heart surgeons, interventional cardiologists, imaging specialists, radiologists and vascular surgeons who work together on a multi-level approach involving clinic evaluation and imaging with echo CT and MRI,” says Sameer Gafoor, M.D. “We then discuss the patient together. We use a hybrid approach of transcatheter and/or surgical methods, offering the right therapy for the right patient at the right time.”

The best care for you starts with a conversation

If you or a loved one is suffering from aortic stenosis or a structural heart disease and want to know if you’re a candidate for TAVR, talk to your cardiologist. Your care team can discuss your condition and options to create a plan that’s personalized for your unique needs.


Schedule a visit

Schedule your appointment with your cardiologist today and to find out if TAVR is right for you. You can find a Providence cardiologist using our provider directory. Or, you can search for a primary care doctor in your area. 


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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Heart & Vascular Team is committed to bringing you many years of expertise and experience to help you understand how to prevent, treat and recover from cardiovascular diseases and conditions. From tips to eating better to exercise and everything in between, our clinical experts know how to help you help your heart.

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