Treating Structural Heart Disease

At UK HealthCare’s Structural Heart Program, we work with each patient to choose the most fitting treatment option for their structural heart condition. As experts in the latest minimally invasive transcatheter approaches and catheter-based interventions, we offer many leading-edge procedures that are less risky and ensure a faster recovery than traditional open-heart surgery. In fact, 85 percent of our patients do not require anesthesia for their procedures and are able to return home the same day.


These procedures include:

  • Left atrial appendage (LAA) occluders, which help lower the risk of stroke for patients with nonvalvular AFib by closing off the LAA in the heart to keep blood clots from escaping. These procedures are commonly performed in patients who cannot take blood thinners. At UK, we currently offer three types of LAA occlusion:
    • WATCHMAN™ is a permanent implant guided into place through a small cut in your upper thigh. As one of only five facilities in the state to offer WATCHMAN, the Structural Heart Program at UK currently ranks No. 11 in the nation for implant volumes. 
    • LARIAT is a leading-edge procedure during which we tie a stitch shaped like a lasso around the LAA, where blood clots may form, and use two tubes to help tie it off.
    • AMULET is an implant inserted into the heart and expanded to seal off the LAA. Because the LARIAT and AMULET procedures are currently available solely through clinical trials, we are the only team in the area  to offer patients access to these innovative procedures.  
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which is a minimally invasive procedure that helps correct aortic stenosis in patients who cannot undergo open-heart surgery. Our Structural Heart Program is the only team in Lexington to also offer transcatheter pulmonary and tricuspid valve replacements.
  • PFO closure, which uses an implant guided into the heart by a tube that covers the PFO hole and controls the blood leakage between heart chambers. As experts in this minimally invasive procedure, the UK Structural Heart Program performs more PFO closures than any other institution in the tri-state area.
  • AngioVac™, which is a device used to bypass blood flow and remove blood clots and blockages in patients who cannot take blood thinners or for whom open-heart surgery is not a safe option. During this procedure, we place two tubes in a patient’s veins. These tubes remove and filter the blood and then return it to the body.
  • MitraClip®, which is a minimally invasive procedure used to correct mitral valve regurgitation, particularly for patients for whom open-heart surgery is too risky. We clip a small device to the mitral valve that allows it to close and restores normal blood flow to the heart.