Structural Heart and Valve Care
Personalized structural heart and valve care for valve disorders and valve disease
Valve disorders limit the heart's ability to pump blood
They can lead to an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), heart murmur, heart failure or other serious conditions. Initial symptoms like shallow breathing and fatigue slowly get worse over time, so you might be mistaking important warning signs for normal aging.
If you have a heart murmur or arrhythmia, we can diagnose whether it’s caused by a heart valve problem. We can manage heart valve disease with medication, but the only cure is replacing the diseased valve.
Get a proper diagnosis for heart valve conditions
Our structural heart and valve care specialists use the latest procedures and technology to diagnose and treat any valve condition.
The first diagnostic test is an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. Your provider may then conduct further tests to reach a proper diagnosis.
Valves generally develop one (or both) of two distinct problems:
Stenosis (narrowing). The heart must work harder to force blood through a tightened valve.
Regurgitation (leakiness). Blood may backflow through a leaky valve.
Our advanced catheter treatments
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
UCHealth was one of the first in the Rocky Mountain region to perform TAVR, a leading-edge, minimally invasive procedure that replaces damaged aortic valves in patients who are too sick for open-heart surgery.
In addition, UCHealth was the first in the state to offer the latest in device technology with the MitraClip. MitraClip is a new device designed to minimize degenerative mitral valve regurgitation through minimally invasive surgery, improving the way patients feel without open-heart surgery. This technology is currently designed for those who are too ill for traditional surgery.
WATCHMAN™ left atrial appendage closure device
UCHealth was the first system in the state to offer this new technology. Now non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients have an alternative to long-term warfarin therapy. The WATCHMAN device reduces the risk of stroke for NVAF patients. Six weeks after the procedure, more than 95% of patients are able to stop their warfarin therapy. This one-time implant will not need to be replaced.
PFO closure. A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a hole in the heart that didn’t close the way it should after birth. We can use a catheter to guide the placement of a PFO closure device—which becomes a permanent implant—that will close the hole in the heart wall.
ASD closure. A transcatheter treatment option for secundum atrial septal defects.
Valvuloplasty. We use a catheter to place a small balloon inside your constricted heart valve. Inflating the balloon expands the valve, restoring normal blood flow.
Other surgical approaches
Surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR)
Your cardiothoracic surgeon and structural heart and valve care team remove the narrowed valve and replace it with a mechanical valve (made of metal) or a biological valve (made of animal or human tissue).
Minimally-invasive open-heart surgery
Similar to traditional open-heart surgery, this procedure is done through a smaller incision at the breastbone.
Let us help you get healthy again
Come see us if you need a proper diagnosis and/or treatment for a valve disorder or disease. Your personalized treatment plan will include cutting-edge technology and a team approach to help you heal.
Make an appointment at one of our
structural heart and valve locations
MedlinePlus: National Library of Medicine. Heart valve surgery (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002954.htm)
American Heart Association Journal. Standardized Definition of Structural Valve Degeneration for Surgical and Transcatheter Bioprosthetic Aortic Valves (https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/circulationaha.117.030729)