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Structural Heart DiseaseUncategorized

Structural Heart Disease – Types, Diagnosis, Treatment

By January 28, 2024January 30th, 2024No Comments

Structural Heart Disease Treatment in Waco, TX

Structural heart disease refers to conditions or issues that affect the structure and function of any part of the heart such as the valves, walls, chambers, or muscles in the heart.

When the structure of any of these parts of the heart is not shaped correctly or damaged, blood flow can be altered, leading to severe complications such as stroke, heart failure, or sudden cardiac arrest.

Structural heart disease can occur from birth or develop as one ages.

Types of Structural Heart Disease

The three main types of structural heart disease are:

Cardiomyopathy

This is a disease of the heart muscle. It makes it difficult for the heart to deliver blood to the rest of the body. This condition can lead to heart failure.

Heart valve disease

This is a disease that prevents one or more valves from functioning properly. It prevents one or more valves from opening and closing properly to control blood flow. When a valve doesn’t open and close as it should, it can prevent blood from flowing through the heart to the rest of the body. Instead of blood flowing to the rest of the body, it will begin to flow backward to the heart, leading to volume overload in the heart.

Congenital heart disease

This is a structural heart problem that is present at birth. It can be one or more problems with the heart’s structure present at birth.

Other types of structural heart disease include:

  • Aortic valve stenosis – Narrowing of the aortic valve, thereby unable to open as it should.
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy – A condition that occurs when the muscle wall of the left ventricle of the heart thickens.
  • Myocarditis – A condition whereby the heart muscle becomes inflamed

Symptoms

Most people can have structural heart disease without experiencing any signs or symptoms at the early stages. Symptoms will begin to show as the disease progresses. Common symptoms of structural heart disease include:

  • Chest pain
  • Tightness or pressure in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling in the abdomen, ankles, or feet
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Stroke

Structural vs non-structural heart disease

Structural heart disease is when the heart has an abnormality that impacts the structure and function of the heart but not the blood vessels while non-structural heart disease is when the heart has an abnormality that impacts the blood vessels but not its structure and function.

Who might get structural heart disease?

Structural heart disease can affect anyone regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or race. Many cases of heart disease are congenital (present at birth). However, the condition can also develop later in life in others.

Structural heart disease may be more common in people with a family history of the disease. It may also be more common in children whose birth mother had viral infections during pregnancy, were exposed to industrial solvents during pregnancy, took certain medications during pregnancy, drank alcohol during pregnancy, or had Rubella during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The risk of developing heart disease increases as one gets older. It’s been estimated that one in eight persons who are 75 years or older have a moderate to severe structural disease.

Conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or a previous heart attack increase one’s risk of developing heart disease. A history of alcohol intake or drug abuse may also increase one’s risk of developing heart disease.

Diagnosis and Tests

Structural heart disease can be diagnosed during pregnancy, childhood, and adulthood.

During pregnancy, your doctor may use a fetal echocardiogram to detect any heart disease in your baby. Echocardiogram is an imaging technique that uses sound waves to form a picture of the baby’s heart. The doctor will be able to see the baby’s heart to check for any heart disease.

In children and adults, your doctor may use a stethoscope to listen to your heart murmur.

If your doctor suspects that you have heart disease, you will be referred to a heart specialist (cardiologist). The cardiologist will perform a series of tests including:

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create images of the heart’s chambers and valves. This test is used to examine how your heart pumps blood.

Electrocardiogram

An electrocardiogram measures the electrical activity of the heart. It is used to check the heartbeat of your heart.

Exercise stress test

This stress test is used to monitor your heart during stressful activities. You will be asked to walk or run on a treadmill while your provider monitors your heart.

Holter monitor

A Holter monitor is used to record your heart’s electrical activity for 24 to 48 hours while you go about your daily activities.

Imaging tests

A chest X-ray, CT scan, or cardiac MRI is used to see the inside of your chest to check for structural problems.

Cardiac catheterization

This procedure is used to look at close-up images of your heart and blood vessels for structural problems.

Coronary angiogram

Cardiac catheterization is used to perform angiography. Contrast dye will be injected through a catheter into your blood vessels so that your doctor can see the area more clearly. An X-ray will be used to view how blood flows through your heart, arteries, and valves. 

What Does It Mean If I Have Structural Heart Disease?

If you have structural heart disease, it will be more difficult for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. Your body needs blood to function optimally. Blood contains nutrients and oxygen that the cells in your body need to function and survive.

If your heart is unable to pump blood to the rest of your body, the cells in your body will lack the nutrients and oxygen to survive. The organs and tissues in your body will begin to malfunction and get damaged. A lot of things will begin to go wrong in your body. If left untreated, it can lead to serious heart problems such as heart failure or heart attack.

Management and Treatment

Monitoring

Some types of structural heart disease don’t require treatment. In this case, the patient will need to be monitored throughout their lifetime.

Medications

Some patients may need medications to help manage their conditions and their side effects. Your doctor will prescribe various medications depending on the specific type of heart disease that you have.

Surgery

Most heart diseases require surgical interventions. Surgery could be minimally invasive surgery or open-heart surgery depending on the severity of the heart disease.

Minimally invasive surgery could be used for:

  • Valve repairs or replacements
  • Ventricular assist device placement.
  • Atrial fibrillation repair.
  • Atrial septal defect closure.
  • Atrioventricular canal defect surgery.
  • Cardiac tumor removal.
  • Coronary artery bypass.
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure.

Open-heart surgery requires the opening of the chest wall to directly access the heart.

Open-heart surgery could be used for heart conditions such as:

Prevention of Structural Heart Disease

Heart disease can be prevented during pregnancy as well as adulthood.

Prevention during pregnancy

You can reduce the risk of your child having a heart disease during pregnancy by:

  • Asking your doctor for advice about the medications and supplements that you should take and not take.
  • Not smoking and using tobacco products.
  • Not drinking alcohol.
  • Not taking recreational or addictive drugs.

Prevention during adulthood

You can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices such as:

  • Losing excess weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Exercising
  • Eating heart-healthy diets.
  • Limiting your intake of alcohol
  • Not smoking
  • Not taking recreational or addictive drugs.
  • Managing stress
  • Managing other health conditions that may increase your risk of developing heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid disease.

FAQ

How common is structural heart disease?

Structural heart disease is quite common, especially in older people. It’s been estimated that one in eight persons who are 75 years or older have moderate to severe heart disease.

The most common type of heart disease is heart valve disease. 2.5% of all people in the United States have heart valve disease. The most common heart valve disease in the United States is mitral valve regurgitation.

The most common type of birth defect in the United States is congenital heart disease. About 1.4 million adults and 1 million children in the United States have a congenital heart condition. About 40,000 babies given birth each year in the United States have congenital heart disease.

How does structural heart disease affect my body?

If you have heart disease, your heart is unable to efficiently pump blood to the rest part of your body. As a result, the cells in your body lack nutrients and oxygen to function and survive. The organs and tissues in your body are also not left out. You will start to experience various severe health issues and symptoms. This heart disease could lead to heart attack and heart failure if not timely treated and managed.

Is LVH structural heart disease?

Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is a structural heart disease. It is the thickening of the wall of the main pumping chamber of the heart which may lead to increased pressure within the heart and poor pumping of blood.

Can ECG detect structural heart disease?

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a common test used to detect or evaluate heart disease. It measures the electrical activity of the heart. It is used to check the heartbeat of your heart. It can be used to diagnose abnormal heartbeat and certain heart conditions.

Is cardiomegaly a structural heart disease?

Cardiomegaly means an enlarged heart. It is a symptom of a condition that causes the heart to get enlarged. Cardiomegaly is not a structural heart disease but a symptom of a disease of the heart that could be structural.

What are the structural changes in heart failure?

  • Blood backs up and causes fluid to build up in the lungs, legs, and feet.
  • Poor blood flow may lead to skin changes such as turning blue or gray.
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain

Best Clinic to Treat Structural Heart Disease in Waco, TX

Structural heart disease should be well managed and treated by an experienced cardiologist.

If you’re looking for the best clinic in Waco, TX, to help manage and treat any structural heart disease that you may have, we recommend Waco Heart & Vascular.

At Waco Heart & Vascular, you will get to meet with the best cardiologists and get the right treatment for your condition. We specialize in the treatment of diseases that affect the heart, particularly structural heart diseases.

Contact us today via our phone line at 254-235-9355. You can also Book an Appointment to meet one of our cardiologists.

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