Structural Heart Program

Compassionate Heart Team Approach

The Structural Heart Team at The Hospitals of Providence Sierra Campus is a multidisciplinary team of experienced physicians and nurses who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of complex cardiovascular conditions. The Heart Team Approach at Sierra Campus is facilitated by a comprehensive Heart Team with various training backgrounds and experiences who strive to provide the best outcomes for our patients.

What Makes The Hospitals of Providence Special?

Here are some of the reasons why patients choose The Hospitals of Providence for their safe heart care:

  • The Hospitals of Providence Sierra Campus is the only designated HeartCARE Center in El Paso.
  • Every patient is assigned a personal nurse coordinator to help them navigate their heart journey, from scheduling an appointment to recovery.
  • We offer a one-on-one education session to support patients and their families and caregivers.
  • Tests and screenings are bundled to help minimize patient hospital visits.

What Is Structural Heart Disease?

Structural heart disease covers any valvular heart disease or defect within the heart muscle or walls. Some conditions that fall under this disease are congenial or present at birth, while others develop with old age. Structural heart disease is an umbrella term for various heart conditions which may include any of the following:

  • Atrial septal defect
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Left atrial appendage
  • Left ventricular aneurysm
  • Paravalvular leak
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Patent foramen ovale
  • Valvular heart disease (i.e., aortic stenosis, mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation, etc.)
  • Ventricular septal defect

Symptoms of a Structural Heart Disease

Individuals who suffer from structural heart disease may experience different symptoms depending on their condition. These may include any of the following:

  • Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Chest tightness
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Leg cramps
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stroke

On the other hand, a patient who experiences either a fluid buildup on the tissues or a lack of oxygen may be at a higher risk of experiencing heart failure. Some of the signs of heart failure may include any of the following:

  • Coughing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Memory lapses
  • Poor concentration
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen ankles, belly, feet, fingers and lower back
  • Weight gain

Causes of a Structural Heart Disease

Again, many structural heart cases are congenital. But, if you did not have it at birth, your structural heart disease may be caused by any of the following:

  • Advanced high blood pressure
  • Aging
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Atherosclerosis in the aorta
  • Cancer treatments
  • Damaged or scarred tissue due to a heart attack
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Use of drugs

Risk Factors for a Structural Heart Disease

Aging causes the heart valves to get thicker and become stiffer. This, and any of the following, may increase a person’s risk for structural heart disease:

  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Having two flaps on the aortic valve instead of three
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • History of infective endocarditis (IE)
  • Inactivity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Complications Related to Structural Heart Disease

We recommend that you schedule an appointment with a structural doctor as soon as you experience signs of this condition because it may get worse and lead to death or any of the following health complications:

  • Blood clotting
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke

What Is a Structural Cardiologist?

A structural cardiologist, also called an interventional cardiologist, has one to two years of education and clinical training. This cardiology doctor focuses on diagnosing, treating and preventing structural heart conditions through catheter-based procedures, including angioplasty and stenting.

When Should You See a Structural Cardiologist?

As mentioned, it’s best to see a structural cardiologist as soon as you experience any of its symptoms for proper diagnosis and care.

A structural doctor usually conducts tests and screenings to confirm if the patient’s symptoms pertain to a structural heart disease and identify the root cause of the disease. These tests and screenings may include any of the following:

  • Angiogram
  • Blood tests
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Physical exam
  • Right heart catheterization
  • Stress test

Treatment Options for Structural Heart Disease

Do you have a structural heart disease? If so, your doctor may recommend any or a combination of the following treatment options depending on your specific condition:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Lifestyle changes (i.e., eating a healthier diet, exercising regularly, limiting stress, quitting smoking, etc.)
  • Medications
  • Ross procedure
  • Surgery
  • Transcatheter valve therapy

A Personalized Structural Heart Program

The Hospitals of Providence Sierra Campus has a robust yet personalized structural heart program facilitated by our experienced cardiologists, nurses, surgeons and heart imaging specialists. The highlights of our program include the transcatheter aortic valve repair (TAVR) MitraClip™ and the Watchman procedure.

What Is TAVR?

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Repair (TAVR) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure offered as an alternative procedure for people at risk for open heart surgery. TAVR repairs the damaged aortic valve by inserting a replacement valve into the damaged aortic valve.

What Is MitraClip?

Also known as transcatheter mitral valve repair, the MitraClip™ procedure is less invasive than open-heart surgery and helps to repair regurgitation (when blood flows back into the lungs, triggering irregular heartbeat, chest pain and shortness of breath).

What Is a Watchman Procedure?

Also known as left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO), the watchman procedure is a minimally invasive, one-time procedure designed to reduce the risk of strokes that originate in the left atrial appendage.

We invite you to learn more and schedule a screening to see if you may be a candidate for one of our structural heart programs. For more information, please call our Cardiac Coordinator at 915-747-8287.

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