About Structural Heart Disease

To Your Health: Cardiology Blog

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What is Structural Heart Disease?

Structural heart disease refers to defects in the heart. These defects in the heart may include congenital abnormalities including atrial septal defects, patent foramen ovale and coarctation of the aorta.

Other pathologies include abnormalities that are acquired over time leading to a disruption in the natural pumping function of the heart and flow of blood. Such conditions may involve the valves of the heart leading to aortic stenosis, aortic regurgitation, mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation and paravalvular leak or processes involving the myocardium or pericardium such as hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, ventricular septal defect, pericardial tamponade and atrial fibrillation. All these conditions may cause an individual to feel short of breath, chest discomfort, fatigue, dizziness, light-headed or experience palpitations.

What Does It Mean To Perform Structural Interventions?

In the past heart defects were primarily fixed by a cardiac surgeon. Over the last decade tremendous improvements has been made in technology that now allow a structural heart disease specialist to treat these complex valvular and myocardial lesions in a more minimally invasive catheter (percutaneous) based approach.

What is the Heart Team Approach?

The heart team approach is currently being adopted as the new standard of care in cardiovascular medicine. It has been recognized by both the American College of Cardiology and the European Society of Cardiology and its use has been integrated into appropriate use criteria. The goal of the Heart Team is to improve the management of patients and their complex cardiovascular disease through a patient-centric multidisciplinary working relationship. At its core are the patient and their family. Due to the increasing advances in evidence based data it can be challenging for the patient to understand the decisions that need to be made. Through an interactive commitment between the patient’s health care team which includes the primary cardiologist, interventional cardiologist, structural heart disease specialist, imaging specialist, anesthiologist and cardiovascular surgeon appropriate decision making is carried out to optimize procedural performance and patient well-being.