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Structural heart disease occurs when your heart has an unusual formation that does not affect your blood vessels but messes with the way your heart functions. Such abnormalities include the valves, chambers, walls, and pockets of your heart. If these parts are harmed or shaped improperly, your blood flow can be changed, resulting in complexities like stroke, heart failure, or cardiac arrest.

Structural Heart Disease Symptoms

A structural heart disease might not indicate any symptoms at all at first. However, as it progresses, you can experience:

  • Malfunctioning kidney
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in ankles, feet, or abdomen.

Structural Heart Disease Treatment

With modern technology, we now have a minimally-invasive catheter-based approach to perform a thorough structural heart disease diagnosis. These advanced methods include:

  1. Atrial Septal Defect(ASD) & Patent Foramen Ovale(PFO) Repair: With a minor cut in the femoral vein in the groin, a heart structure specialist implants a closure device. This helps in treating ASD and PFO holes. However, more complicated issues can need surgery.
  2. Paravalvular Plugs: A catheter is injected into the femoral vein in the groin to install the device. This method is performed to stop the paravavular leakage.
  3. Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement: During this procedure, a new valve is positioned inside the existing, harmed valve without disrupting the natural valve. It requires a minor cut in the chest to insert the catheter.
  4. Mitral Valve Repair (MitraClip): A small piece of equipment called a MitraClip is linked to the mitral valve so the valve can properly shut to stop mitral regurgitation.

Minimally Invasive Diagnosis Techniques

  1. Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE): TEE has become a standard imaging modality for diagnosing structural heart diseases. It includes inserting a transducer into the esophagus to get high-definition heart images. Innovations in TEE technology, like three-dimensional imaging, have enhanced diagnostic precision.
  2. Intracardiac Echocardiography (ICE): ICE includes the placement of an ultrasound probe directly into the heart through catheterization. This technique offers real-time imaging during minimally invasive procedures such as transcatheter valve interventions.
  3. Real-time MRI: Real-time MRI has enhanced cardiac function and anatomy evaluation. It enables dynamic imaging of the heart structures without ionizing radiation.
  4. Guidance for Interventions: Cardiac MRI is widely used to direct minimally invasive interventions, offering detailed anatomical information and enabling more accurate device placement during procedures.
  5. High-Resolution CT Angiography: Advances in CT technology led to higher spatial resolution, allowing detailed visualization of cardiac structures. CT angiography is useful for pre-procedural planning and assessment of complicated structural heart diseases.
  6. Electroanatomic Mapping: These systems allow for accurate mapping of the heart chambers, helping diagnose and treat arrhythmias and structural abnormalities.
  7. Robotic-Assisted Procedures: Robotic-assisted systems provide greater accuracy and control during catheter-based interventions, decreasing the invasiveness of particular procedures.
  8. Novel Biomarkers: Research is ongoing to recognize certain biomarkers linked with numerous structural heart diseases. Blood tests can complement imaging modalities, offering additional diagnostic data.

Concluding Thoughts

Not everyone is courageous enough to undergo invasive procedures if your doctor suspects a structural heart problem. Fortunately, medical science has developed and found minimally invasive procedures to clear away the doubts.
From the latest cardiac diagnostic techniques to advanced treatments, contact us at Family Diagnostic Clinic. Call us at (281) 351-6800 to book an appointment.

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