Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Structural Heart Program is transforming the treatment of structural heart disease, and giving new hope to people who are not candidates for traditional open-heart procedures.
What Is Structural Heart Disease?
Structural heart diseases involve the heart’s anatomy, or structures — valves, chambers, walls, and pockets. When these parts are not shaped correctly, or damaged, blood flow can be altered. This can lead to serious complications such as stroke , heart failure, or sudden cardiac arrest.
These defects can be present at birth or develop with age. Open-heart surgery is still the preferred method of treatment for most structural heart defects, but some people are not candidates due to their age or health history.
It’s been estimated that one in eight individuals 75 years or older have a moderate to severe structural disease.
Structural heart diseases include valves that don’t open and close properly (aortic stenosis , or mitral valve regurgitation), abnormal openings between heart chambers (ventricular septal defect), or an open pocket in the upper left chamber of the heart (left atrial appendage) that can increase stroke risk for certain patients with atrial fibrillation. Most of these diseases are progressive, making symptoms more severe, and complications more likely, with age.
Structural heart disease is one of the fastest growing fields in cardiovascular medicine. Incredible advancements in technology have now made it possible for many people with structural heart disease to be treated with non-surgical, minimally invasive and catheter-based procedures that offer lower risk, less trauma and a faster recovery.
Our Structural Heart Program is comprised of a team of experts, including interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of structural heart conditions. Every patient's treatment plan is a collaborative effort between a dedicated team of healthcare professionals in order to provide patients the highest level of personalized care.
Signature components of the structural heart program include:
- Transcatheter Valve Replacement (TAVR) for aortic valve stenosis. TAVR is a catheter-based technology that delivers and positions a replacement aortic valve while the heart is still beating.
- Transcatheter Mitral Valve Clip Insertion (MitraClip) for mitral valve regurgitation, is a catheter-based technology that uses a small clip attached to the mitral valve to treat degenerative mitral valve regurgitation. MitraClip® allows the mitral valve to close more completely, helping to restore normal blood flow through the heart. It’s a less invasive treatment option for patients who are not good candidates for surgery.
- Transcatheter Implant to Accomplish Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion (WATCHMAN) for atrial fibrillation that is not caused by a heart valve problem. Watchman is a one-time, catheter-based intervention that offers certain patients living with atrial fibrillation the opportunity to reduce their stroke risk and eliminate blood-thinning medication from their daily routine. This medically advanced technology uses a permanent implant device that can block blood flow from going into the area of the heart, the left atrial appendage. This area is where blood is most likely to pool during episodes of atrial fibrillation, and eventually clot.
- PFO/ASD Closure
There are two types of holes which can be present between the upper chambers of the heart: an atrial septal defect (ASD) and a patent foramen ovale (PFO). PFO/ASD closure is a routine procedure to close holes in the upper chambers of the heart. A thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel, usually in the groin, and guided to the heart using imaging techniques. A mesh patch or plug is passed through the catheter and used to close the hole. Heart tissue grows around the seal, permanently closing the hole.