Structural heart program in Aurora, Colorado

We are a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Our team of highly-trained cardiac specialists perform more than 450 heart surgeries annually and have some of the lowest complication rates in the state of Colorado. Our program includes a dedicated heart surgery [HA1] program, specialized treatment for heart failure [HA2] and a multidisciplinary approach to treating vascular conditions.

Treatment for valvular heart disease

Valvular heart disease refers to damage in one of the four heart valves: the mitral, aortic, tricuspid or pulmonary. Valves that are functioning normally make sure that blood is flowing in the heart in the right direction at the right time. Valvular heart disease occurs when the valves become too narrow or cannot close completely.

Treatment options for valvular heart disease include:

  • Antibiotics or long-term antibiotic therapy
  • Antithrombotic (clot-preventing) medications
  • Blood-thinning medications for patients who have AFib or continue to have transient ischemic attacks (TIA, sometimes called a mini stroke)
  • Valve surgery (to repair or replace a damaged valve)

Heart valve consultation and treatment

Physicians at TMCA’s Valve Clinic are specialists in heart valve consultation and treatment. We provide traditional valve replacement surgeries, as well as minimally invasive treatment methods for patients with aortic stenosis. Our interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons work closely with referring heart doctors to establish a personalized plan of care.

The most effective treatment option for aortic stenosis is valve replacement. The two primary approaches provided at TMCA are:

  • Surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR): Open-heart surgery in which the aortic valve is removed and replaced with either a mechanical replacement or a biological valve made from human or animal tissue.

  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR): An innovative, catheter-based approach to aortic valve replacement. TAVR is approved as a treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are considered an intermediate or high surgical risk and unable to undergo the open-heart surgery required for SAVR. For patients who can tolerate SAVR, traditional open-heart surgery may still be the preferred method of treatment.


This procedure has the potential to provide relief to patients whose health previously disqualified them as surgical candidates or who are found to be higher risk surgical candidates. Incisions are small and the procedure leaves chest bones intact, allowing the average hospital stay to be shorter for these patients.

How does TAVR work?

Unlike SAVR, TAVR allows the aortic valve to be replaced through a catheter-based approach. Because this procedure does not require open-heart surgery, TAVR is a far less invasive method of treatment.

Using a catheter, surgeons enter the heart through the transfemoral, transapical or transaortic arteries. In most cases, the transfemoral approach is used, but individual patient needs may require alternative approaches.

After the catheter is inserted into the heart, a new valve is then inserted inside the damaged aortic valve. This new valve is then expanded, pressing against the flaps of the damaged valve and allowing blood to flow at its proper level.

Heart patients eligible for TAVR

The new guidelines for TAVR will potentially allow younger and healthier patients to opt for the procedure instead of open-heart surgery. Compared to traditional open-heart surgery, TAVR may significantly improve recovery times for heart patients. In some cases, these patients might also experience shorter hospital stays.

Each patient’s heart is unique and requires individualized treatment. Our cardiac professionals can assess whether each individual case meets the criteria for TAVR.

Whether using TAVR or SAVR, our expert team at TMCA will work in conjunction with the patient and referring physician to create a treatment plan to ensure a full recovery.

To find out if you are eligible for TAVR under the new guidelines, contact the Center for Lung & Heart Health at (303) 695-2971. Our heart specialists are available to answer any questions patients have about TAVR and SAVR.