The aortic valve: structure, complications and implications for transcatheter aortic valve replacement

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The aortic valve operates in a complex haemodynamic environment, opening and closing over 100,000 times a day. When complications arise, such as aortic stenosis, prognosis can be very poor, leading to death within the first few years. Surgical valve replacement is currently the standard treatment for aortic stenosis. A thorough understanding of the anatomy and function of the native valve is imperative when developing a prosthetic replacement that can withstand the complex demands of the heart. This review focuses on the anatomy, structure and disease of the aortic valve and the implications for a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Current complications with TAVR, such as major vascular bleeding, conduction disturbances and patient-prosthesis mismatch (PPM), can be overcome by reducing the delivery profile and through the use of more accurate imaging technologies to work towards a fully functional and durable prosthesis.

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