Heart Valve Repair and Replacement

You’ll find that our heart surgical experts share many years of combined experience repairing and replacing heart valves. We use a minimally invasive approach when possible, shortening your recovery time. In addition, we offer the nonsurgical TAVR procedure for aortic valve replacements, a lifesaving option for patients who aren’t candidates for conventional surgery.

CHI Franciscan Heart Valve Clinics

Your heart is responsible for the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body. Inside your heart are four valves, which open and close to allow blood to flow properly. Untreated heart valve problems can lead to severe fatigue, shortness of breath, pain and, with aortic valve stenosis, sudden cardiac death.

If you’ve been told you may need valve repair or replacement surgery, our experts will work with you to evaluate your condition and determine which level of care offers you the best possible outcome. We offer you:

  • Expert care. Heart valve treatment and diagnosis can be done in the facility at one of two locations: Franciscan Heart Center in Tacoma or the Heart & Vascular Center at Harrison in Bremerton. You’ll meet with your heart valve specialists for expert diagnosis and discuss your personalized treatment options.
  • Minimally invasive options. If surgery is recommended, we strive to use the least invasive surgical method possible. We’ll discuss with you whether a minimally invasive repair or replacement procedure is right for you.
  • Convenient, personal access. To learn more about our valve clinics in Tacoma or Bremerton, call 253-426-6700 and our Valve Clinic coordinator or a registered nurse can help you get started.

Heart valve repair and replacement: What to expect

If you’re having unexplained chest pain (angina), shortness of breath or fainting spells, you may have a heart valve disorder. If so, we may recommend surgery to repair or replace your valve. Our surgeons have deep expertise and success repairing heart valves.

When we need to replace the valve, you’ll receive one of two main types of heart valves:

  • Mechanical valve, made from manmade materials. These last the longest, but you’ll need to take a blood thinner for the rest of your life.
  • Biological valve, made of human or animal tissue. No need for long-term blood thinners, but tissue valves may need to be replaced in 10-15 years.

Before your procedure, your surgeon will carefully discuss with you which valve best meets your needs.

TAVR Procedure

The transcutaneous (sometimes called transcatheter) aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure is an innovative, minimally invasive procedure for aortic valve replacement. If you’ve been told you aren’t a candidate for aortic valve replacement in the past, ask your surgeon if a TAVR procedure is an option for you.

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