Structural Heart Clinic patients typically have anywhere from 2-4 appointments with the heart valve team to create an appropriate treatment plan. The appointments usually include the valve clinic coordinator, interventional cardiologist, and cardiothoracic surgeon. Each appointment lasts from 1-3 hours and will include testing to create a care plan. At a later date an appointment will be made with an additional cardiothoracic surgeon. We encourage family or a significant other to participate in appointments so they can ask questions and learn about the procedure.
Please call 334-944-4278 (HART) prior to your appointment date to pre-register.
We kindly ask patients to bring the following:
- Photo identification
- Insurance cards
- List of all of your medications including the name, dosage, and instructions
Aortic stenosis is the narrowing and restriction of the opening of the aortic valve. The aortic valve connects the major pumping chamber of the heart to the artery connecting to the rest of the body. Causes include age related calcium deposits, rheumatic fever and birth defects. Symptoms include shortness of breath, feeling tired with little activity, chest discomfort, feeling like you might pass out and swelling in your feet, ankles or legs.
TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) is a procedure to place a new aortic valve inside of your stenotic valve using catheters instead of a traditional open heart surgery. This procedure requires an evaluation from a heart valve team.
Is TAVR the Right Plan of Care For You?
We aren’t sure yet. The heart valve team needs a lot of information about you, your heart, and your general health before we can make that decision. You will have several appointments and tests during this process. After testing, our team will then discuss your case at our heart valve team conference and formulate a plan for you.
What Happens Before Your TAVR Procedure?
There will be several things needing to be done prior to your procedure. This includes appointments, testing, and a heart valve team conference. After your case is discussed, you will receive a phone call from the valve coordinator giving you our recommendation. If TAVR is the right plan for you then we will review pre-TAVR instructions. If you were to have any questions or concerns during this process, please call Tyler at 334-712-3315.
Cardiac Echocardiogram (ECHO)
This is an ultrasound of the heart that will give us information about your heart valves and how well your heart is functioning. This test is painless and is done while you’re awake. It takes roughly 30-60 minutes. Even if you have recently had an ECHO, the heart valve team may want a new one done at this time.
Computed Tomography (CT Scan)
This is a test that uses x-rays and computers to give us information about your heat and blood vessels in your groin for possible access for the procedure. The test is painless and takes about 30 minutes. You will have to have an intravenous line (IV) placed in your arm to give you a special dye needed for the test. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before the test.
Coronary Angiogram (Heart Cath)
This procedure is done by a cardiologist where they will place an IV in your groin or wrist and use catheters, x-ray, and contrast dye to get information about your heart and the blood vessels in your heart. They may also measure pressures inside of your heart chambers. You will be given some medication to relax but still remain awake and will have to remain in the hospital for 4-6 hours after the procedure. Specific instructions will be given to you prior to this procedure.
Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT’s)
This is a test used to determine how well your lungs are working. The test measures lung volumes, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange inside the lungs. This is a non-invasive test and only requires several breathing exercises. Do not take any breathing medications the day of the procedure.
This is a non-invasive ultrasound test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of your carotid arteries in the neck that carries blood from your heart to your brain. The test is used to see if there is any blockage in these arteries.
Our hospital based clinic is managed by Tyler Windsor, a specially trained nurse practitioner. Tyler follows each patient who is referred to the clinic and collaborates with the physicians to ensure each patient gets the care they need before and after his or her procedure. He also maintains close contact with patients and their families.