Structural Heart Disease Specialist

Downriver Heart and Vascular Specialists

Cardiovascular Specialists & Interventional Cardiologists located in Downriver Area, Southgate, MI

Structural heart disease can be present at birth or develop gradually over the years as daily wear and tear and lifestyle choices affect your heart’s health. Either way, these conditions increase your risk of serious problems like arrhythmias and heart failure. The experienced team at Downriver Heart and Vascular Specialists performs advanced on-site diagnostic testing and provides individualized treatment that targets your type of structural heart disease. If you need compassionate care for heart problems, call the office in the Downriver area of Southgate, Michigan, or connect online to request an appointment.

Structural Heart Disease Q & A

What are the different types of structural heart disease?

Structural heart disease includes any problem that affects your heart valves and the tissues that form your heart. 

These are just a few examples of the different types:

Atrial septal defect

When a baby is born with a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers, the condition is called an atrial septal defect.

Ventricular septal defect

This problem occurs when a baby has a hole in the wall separating the heart’s two lower chambers.

Patent foramen ovale

Before birth, a baby’s heart has a natural hole between the two upper chambers. This hole is not a congenital defect. It serves a purpose before delivery and normally closes after the baby is born. When the hole doesn’t close, the condition is called patent foramen ovale.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

This structural heart disease develops when your heart muscle is abnormally thick. As a result, the heart can’t pump blood properly.

Heart valve disease

The four valves in your heart can develop problems such as stenosis and regurgitation. In stenosis, the valve thickens, which reduces blood flow. If you have regurgitation, the valve doesn’t close properly, allowing blood to flow in the wrong direction.

What symptoms may occur if I have structural heart disease?

You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Syncope
  • Chest tightness
  • Leg cramps
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swollen ankles, feet, or abdomen

If you develop swelling, it’s due to edema, which is a buildup of fluids.

How is structural heart disease treated?

To identify the type of structural heart disease, your provider performs on-site diagnostic testing. You may need an echocardiogram, carotid ultrasound, vascular ultrasound, nuclear testing, angiogram, or stress testing, to name a few of the possible tests.

The treatment for structural heart disease ranges from taking blood thinners and other medications to surgery. The team performs minimally invasive surgery using a catheter that they guide through your blood vessels to your heart.

Your provider may need to implant a defibrillator or pacemaker, or they may repair your heart valves. They frequently perform a procedure to close a patent foramen ovale. 

If you have aortic valve stenosis, your provider does a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). During a TAVR, they use a catheter to insert a new aortic valve.

If you need treatment for structural heart disease, call Downriver Heart and Vascular Specialists or schedule an appointment online.