What are Structural Heart Diseases?
Structural heart diseases involve abnormalities in the heart’s anatomy or “structures” (i.e., valves, chambers and walls). When the heart’s structures or parts are damaged, blood flow can be altered, and major complications such as stroke, heart failure, or death can follow. Some of these conditions may be present from birth, while others are acquired later in life.
As we age, some of the heart structures may degenerate or get damaged, giving rise to structural heart diseases. Structural heart diseases include valves that don’t open and close properly (e.g., aortic stenosis or mitral valve regurgitation), abnormal openings between heart chambers (ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect), or an open pocket in the upper left chamber of the heart (left atrial appendage) where blood can stagnate and form clots, leading to an increased stroke risk in certain patients with an abnormal, irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. Most of these diseases are progressive, thereby making symptoms more severe and complications more likely with increasing age.
What is a Structural Heart Disease Program?
Previously, treatment for most of the structural heart and valve diseases involved open heart surgery. However, recent advances allow treatment of many structural heart diseases with minimally invasive, catheter-based approaches, where valves and plugs can be placed in the heart through tubes inserted via the arteries or veins of the legs.
To offer these advanced therapies to patients, a ‘Structural Heart Disease Program’ has been developed at Heart South Cardiovascular Group, wherein, physicians have formed a multi-disciplinary team including general cardiologists specializing in cardiac imaging, electrophysiologists, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to evaluate & treat complex structural heart diseases using latest technology. These procedures include TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement), Mitra-Clip, Watchman Impantation, Alcohol Septal Ablation, Atrial and Ventricular Septal Defect closure, Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) closure and Peri-Valvular Leak closurec. At Heart South, our Structural Heart Program is designed to be patient centric, providing compassionate yet state of the art care to our patients and their loved ones.