ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – February is American Heart Month and we spoke to some local experts at Guthrie Sayre to spread awareness of this Cardiac procedure that can help save lives. Transcatheter Aortic Valve replacement or better known as TAVR.

Is a minimally invasive procedure that requires a small cut in the skin. It no longer requires open heart surgery, but the aortic valve is one of four valves that controls blood flow to the heart.

TAVR replaces an aortic valve that is no longer working properly or is diseased with an aortic valve made from animal tissue. This allows for the blood flow in the body to be restored and allows the heart to work at its normal pace.

This procedure is still fairly new first introduced in 2002. A valve will typically last you 10 years and is very simple to replace if another is ever needed.

Dr, Sudhakar Sattur Chief of Cardiology at Guthrie says, “Unfortunately with this particular condition there is not much we can do to avoid. Some of it is genetic, and some of it is age related,” he said. “It’s degeneration of the valve tissue but following the doctor on a regular basis we can keep an eye on this condition. So that when the time comes, we can address this appropriately before a patient starts to have symptoms,” he said.

He continues by saying, ” The animal tissue that is used to make these valves is pericardium tissue and that tissue is not monogenetic. It has been thoroughly studied and has been used for other prior open surgical valves. Based on that it began to be used for TAVR valves. Over a period of time like everything else it is known to degenerate.”