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Structural Heart Disease

Smiling couple Structural heart disease describes any abnormality within the chambers and/or valves of the heart. While these conditions are often congenital, or present at birth, some people develop the disease later in life because of wear and tear on the heart, infections, aging, or other underlying conditions. 

There are different types of structural heart diseases that are treated with minimally invasive techniques at Tampa General Hospital, including:

  • Aortic valve stenosis – This condition is caused by progressive thickening of the aortic valve which leads to a narrowing of the orifice through which the blood leaves the heart and travels to the rest of the body. As the heart beats, the valve opens and closes and with time, calcium deposits can form in the valve leaflets, rendering them stiff.
  • Mitral regurgitation – This condition is caused by a defect in the mitral valve that results in a leakage of blood from one chamber into another. The function of this valve is allow blood to go in one way from the left atrium into the left ventricle but not the other way round. When the valve closes down, a defective valve does not seal well and regurgitation occurs. This can result in an inefficient blood delivery to the body and congestive heart failure can occur.
  • Mitral stenosis – This condition is caused by stiffening of the mitral valve leaflets that occur many years after the occurrence of rheumatic heart disease. The blood that normally flows from the left atrium to the left ventricle backs up in the lungs, resulting in congestive heart failure.
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD) – This congenital defect causes a hole to form in the wall between the heart’s upper chambers – the right and left atria. As a result, oxygen-rich blood and oxygen-poor blood mix, which causes oxygen-poor blood to be delivered to vital organs.
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO) – This condition occurs when a hole that’s naturally present at birth in the septal tissue separating the right and left atria does not close as it should during infancy. The hole has a flap-like structure that opens and can cause abnormal blood flow and the mixing of oxygen-poor and oxygen-rich blood.
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD) – Either present from birth or developing later in life, a VSD is an opening in the wall separating the lower chambers of the heart – the left and right ventricles.
  • Arterial/venous fistula – A fistula is an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein that interrupts the flow of blood to the heart. 

The physicians at Tampa General Hospital treat these forms of structural heart disease related symptoms at our state-of-the-art cardiovascular center. Our team of specialists includes cardiac surgeons, echocardiographers, interventional cardiologists, and anesthesiologists who can perform valve repair or replacement, VSD closure, ASD closure, PFO closure, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), MitraClip®, and other structural heart disease procedures

To be referred to a structural heart disease specialist at Tampa General Hospital, visit Physician Finder or call 1-800-822-DOCS (3627).