Structural Heart Disease

Structural heart disease occurs when there is a defect in your heart’s structure, such as the heart chambers, walls or valves. You may be born with a heart defect (congenital heart disease) or develop one as you age. Either way, structural heart disease can cause significant health problems.
If a heart defect affects blood flow, you may have a stroke, heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest. You may also experience: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

In the structural heart program at UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute in Lexington, Kentucky, we have the tools, technologies and expertise to detect and treat all structural heart conditions. From diagnosis to treatment to recovery after surgery, we provide high-quality, compassionate care that heals your heart. We also keep your cardiologist and other providers in the loop, so your health team never misses a beat.

Conditions we treat

Many types of structural heart disease exist, and we treat them all. A few common conditions we care for at the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute include:

  • Aortic valve stenosis: The aortic valve is the final heart valve blood passes through when exiting the heart. Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve narrows. This forces your heart to work harder to pump blood, reduces blood flow in the body, and increases your risk for heart failure or other complications.
  • Bioprosthetic valve failure: In certain cases, replacement heart valves fail to work properly. Valves made of animal or human tissue that fail result in bioprosthetic valve failure.
  • Heart valve disease: Blood flows from one heart chamber to the other through a series of valves. Heart valve disease occurs when one of these valves becomes damaged or diseased. Examples of heart valve disease include aortic valve stenosis, mitral valve regurgitation and tricuspid valve regurgitation.
  • Mitral valve regurgitation: When the heart’s mitral valve doesn’t close tightly, blood doesn’t move efficiently through the heart’s chambers. Instead, some blood flows back from the lower to the upper heart chamber. This can cause fatigue, shortness of breath and eventually congestive heart failure.
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO): Before birth, a hole exists between the wall of the upper two chambers. Known as the patent foramen ovale, this hole typically closes within the first few months of life. When it doesn’t, blood leaks through the hole from the right to the left atrium. A PFO doesn’t usually cause symptoms. However, it can become a problem if a blood clot forms. This defect occurs in more than 25 percent of Americans.
  • Tricuspid valve regurgitation: Like mitral valve regurgitation, this condition is when blood flows backward. This can cause the lower heart chamber to enlarge. You may experience weakness, fatigue, lower body swelling or other symptoms.

Why choose UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute structural heart program?

For more than 25 years, UK’s structural heart program has led the way in treating structural heart conditions both common and rare. We provide unparalleled personal attention to each patient. Our multidisciplinary approach means several physicians review every case. You can, therefore, be sure your treatment plan has been recommended by multiple experts. And as an academic institution, we utilize the latest research and techniques to provide leading-edge care.

Members of our multidisciplinary team include:

  • Advanced cardiac imagers
  • Advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician associates)
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Interventional cardiologists
  • Nurses
  • Patient navigator
  • Structural heart coordinator

This team collaborates to provide the full suite of structural heart disease treatment options. A few advanced treatment options we offer include:

Housed within UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky according to U.S. News & World Report, our full-service structural heart program at UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute is appreciated by patients and their loved ones. It has also been recognized for excellence by outside organizations.