Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center

Innovative Therapies

Trans-Catheter Aortic Valve Implantation/Replacement (TAVI/TAVR)

As we age, one of the most common aortic valve problems is aortic stenosis, a condition that causes the aortic valve to inadequately open due to calcium deposits on its flaps (called cusps). Traditionally, this condition required the valve to be replaced with either tissue or a mechanical valve through open heat surgery.

Trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI, also called trans-catheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR) allows the aortic valve to be replaced through a small incision in the groin. The surgeon introduces a catheter carrying a new valve in a "crumpled" form and delivers it to the position of the natural aortic valve. When the new valve is in place, either it can be expanded with a balloon or it can be self-expanding.

Since TAVR spares the patient the invasive nature of conventional surgery, it is proving to be a good option for patients who need aortic valve replacement but have other conditions that would make conventional surgery a high-risk option.

The surgeons at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular center are leaders in performing TAVR, doing more procedures than any other center in the Houston area and many major heart centers in the United States.

For more information, visit the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center's Valve Clinic website.

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Fenestrated Endovascular Grafts

Houston Methodist Hospital was one of only a few research centers in the country selected for clinical trials on the Zenith Fenestrated AAA Endovascular Graft, which has recently been approved for treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms.

The Zenith Fenestrated AAA Endovascular Graft was developed to provide an endovascular repair option for patients with a length of aorta above the aneurysm that is too short to form a seal using a standard (non-fenestrated) endovascular graft.

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Branch Stent Grafting

Endovascular approaches to aortic repair are now common, and many of these were developed here at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center.

Endovascular stent repair of the aorta involves the use of experimental devices that allow surgeons to deploy stents within the main body of the aorta as well as in its many important branches (e.g. kidney arteries in the abdomen and brain vessels in the arch). These approaches may prove useful in complex aneurysms and avoid the need for open aortic aneurysm repair.

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Neurologic/Brain Protection During Aortic Surgery

Patient safety is always our primary concern. Since aortic surgery is associated with an elevated risk for brain and neurologic injury, protecting the brain and spinal cord is an essential part of aortic repair techniques. We can now preserve the vascular branches that supply the brain and spinal cord using special approaches and instruments that allow us to provide the most advanced neurologic protection.

At the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, we are using advanced technology such as trans-cranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound and cerebral oximetry during surgery to detect any possible brain injury and allow for intervention in real time. We have published extensively about methods for protecting the brain during cardiovascular surgery and developed a multi-modality neuromonitoring program for use during aortic surgery.

Learn about other treatments for aortic disease:

For more information about the Methodist Aortic Network or to schedule an appointment, please call 713-441-5200 or complete our online contact us form.