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Structural heart

The structural heart program focuses on the surgical treatment of heart disease and other vascular conditions. Surgical options may include repairing or replacing damaged valves through methods such as TAVR and SAVR.

Structural cardiology

Heart valve issues impact your physical and emotional health, but we work hard to be a trusted partner in restoring your health.

Structural heart disorders affect your heart's ability to effectively pump blood, and can either be congenital or arise from years of wear and tear. The structural cardiologists at HealthONE hospitals prioritize your personal well-being, using minimally invasive surgical techniques whenever possible.

Expert advice, available 24/7

Free health-related advice is just a phone call away. Our nurses help you understand your symptoms, treatment options and procedures. They will also help you find a provider or specialist and schedule an appointment.

Free health-related advice is just a phone call away. Our nurses help you understand your symptoms, treatment options and procedures. They will also help you find a provider or specialist and schedule an appointment.

Types of structural heart diseases we treat

We treat many complications related to the heart's structure (i.e., the valves and muscles of the heart), including:

  • Aortic stenosis
  • Atrial septal abnormalities
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Mitral stenosis
  • Valvular regurgitation
  • Ventricular septal abnormalities

Structural cardiology services we provide

Depending on the severity of your structural heart disease, we offer a variety of treatment options, including surgery and medication therapy.

Nonsurgical treatments for structural heart disease

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


While many structural heart complications require surgical intervention, we will always prioritize nonsurgical treatment whenever possible. Valvular heart disease, for example, can sometimes be treated and managed with medications such as:

  • Antibiotics or long-term antibiotic therapy
  • Antithrombotic (clot-preventing) medications
  • Blood-thinning medications for atrial fibrillation (AFib) to prevent clots forming and leading to transient ischemic attacks (TIA), otherwise known as "mini strokes

Structural heart procedures we offer

Our interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons are specialists in heart valve consultation and treatment. We provide traditional valve replacement surgeries as well as minimally invasive treatment methods for aortic stenosis. Minimally invasive surgical methods offer you less pain, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times.


The most effective treatment option for aortic stenosis is valve replacement. The two primary approaches we provide are:

  • Surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) — SAVR is an open-heart surgery in which the aortic valve is removed and replaced with a valve that is either mechanical or biological (made from human or animal tissue).
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) — TAVR is a catheter-based approach to aortic valve replacement. It is typically best if you have severe aortic stenosis or have been considered intermediate- or high-risk for SAVR.

Whether you are having TAVR or SAVR, our expert team will work with you and your referring physician to create a treatment plan that ensures a full recovery by incorporating education and aftercare support.


TAVR

Your heart is unique and requires unique treatment. Although new TAVR guidelines will potentially open the eligibility up to the younger and traditionally healthier population, we will still need to intricately assess your personal health beforehand to determine eligibility. This could be through computerized tomography (CT) scans, an echocardiogram or a diagnostic heart catheter to examine your arteries.


How TAVR procedures work


If you qualify for the procedure, we will use further diagnostic testing to size the replacement valve to your exact dimensions. Unlike open-heart surgery, TAVR does not remove the existing valve, instead, inserting a new aortic valve through the catheter. Additionally, TAVR procedures use small incisions and conscious sedation, rather than general anesthesia, so that your chest bones can remain intact and unaffected.


What to expect after TAVR surgery


As with other minimally invasive procedures, TAVR may significantly improve your recovery time and shorten your hospital stay. Typically, you are admitted on the same day as your procedure and your inpatient recovery period lasts only two to three days, versus four to eight days for traditional, open-heart surgery. Blood flow and velocity often improve immediately after surgery, and you may even notice improved circulation within 24 to 48 hours.

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