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Structural Heart Program

The heart is complicated wonder –– an evolutionary miracle of anatomy. With its complexity, though, it’s not uncommon for its components or structure to have, or to develop, a defect that causes a loss of functional capacity or other cardiovascular risks. Often such defects are present from birth. Still other structural abnormalities develop over time as the result of normal wear and tear, injury, infection or age. These conditions often cause no symptoms or risk, and in some cases may never even be detected. In other cases, they can bring sometimes subtle but often significant decrease in cardiovascular strength and capacity, sometimes leading to progressive and dangerous decline, including heart failure and risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke or even cardiac arrest.

Lourdes has one of the teams of cardiologists, imaging specialists, interventionists and surgeons most experienced in its region in addressing these problems. This collaborative group is accomplished in performing advanced, minimally invasive procedures to correct structural heart problems.

Malfunctioning valves, “holes” in the heart’s walls and defects in its chambers ––
Lourdes structural heart services provide complete up-to-date care for such
abnormalities that affect the flow of blood within and from the heart.

Fortunately today, heart specialists can precisely evaluate and often nonsurgically intervene to correct problems in the heart’s valves as well as its chambers and walls. Using minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures, they can repair or replace structures to improve the efficiency of the heart’s pumping capacity and enhance vigor and physical well-being in patients with these conditions.

In catheter-based procedures, the cardiology team inserts a thin, flexible tube into the heart via blood vessels. These percutaneous (through the skin) procedures are almost always done by making a small cut (incision) to access the circulatory system in the thigh near the groin (transfemoral access), or –– less commonly, when a patient’s anatomy is not suitable for this access –– in a small incision in the left side of the chest just below the heart (transapical access) or in the ascending aorta (transaortic). The interventional team guides the catheter, and the tools at its tip, using radiologic imaging, and performs procedures while the heart is beating, so there is no need to stop the heart for heart-lung bypass.

This approach is especially important option for patients who have certain conditions that need direct treatment but who are not candidates for surgery because of health status that would make it difficult for them to tolerate an open operative procedure. The nonsurgical approach makes treatment available for more patients. Minimally invasive approaches also reduce length of hospital stay, recovery time, scarring and blood loss.

Lourdes offers a highly experienced structural heart program in these areas:

Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center is uniquely qualified to treat structural heart problems. Lourdes has been ranked among the top hospitals in the nation for the cardiac and stroke care and overall clinical excellence by HealthGrades. It conducts procedures in its hybrid laboratory, which permits the team to switch from catheter-based procedures to surgical procedures if and as necessary, in the same room with all equipment and staff available and no need to move the patient.

The Lourdes team of cardiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists and specially trained nurses are nationally recognized for their clinical excellence and compassionate care. They are always available to answer any questions that patients and their family members may have.

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