Perhaps you were born with a congenital heart defect that affects your heart’s valves and structure. Or maybe a valve disease or structural heart condition developed over time. You need expert, personalized heart care so you can continue to be healthy and active.
At Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, our experienced specialists treat a wide range of valve and structural heart diseases, including the most complex cases. Our team includes general cardiologists, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, all with advanced training in structural heart disease. We work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs.
Valve Disease and Structural Heart Disease: Why Choose Vanderbilt
At Vanderbilt, you will find:
- Expert heart team: Our heart team includes general cardiologists, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, all with advanced training in structural heart disease. We work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs.
- Convenient care: You won’t need to make multiple appointments with specialists. You can receive a diagnosis and treatment plan within the same day. Our goal is to streamline your care and reduce your stress before, during and after treatment. We are also available for any questions you may have. For your convenience, you can always contact your team through our secure online portal, My Health at Vanderbilt.
- Care for a wide range of conditions: We treat patients who have routine or complex problems related to the aortic, mitral, pulmonary or tricuspid valve. Our heart team offers the latest treatments. In fact, patients from around the region travel to us for advanced surgery to treat rare structural heart conditions.
- Expert treatment for congenital structural heart problems: We also treat complicated congenital heart conditions that affect the heart’s structure. As you age out of pediatric heart care, you need specialized congenital heart care to address your unique needs. Learn more about the adult congenital heart disease program.
- High TAVR volume: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a leading treatment for aortic valve replacement. We perform nearly 200 TAVR procedures a year, more than anyone else in the region and on par with the most active TAVR centers in the country. This minimally invasive procedure has a high success rate and helps patients recover quickly.
- Minimally invasive surgical treatments for valve disease: Our surgeons are experts in minimally invasive approaches to surgical or open valve replacement. Even if you had previous heart surgery, we can potentially offer you less invasive techniques.
What Is Heart Valve Disease?
Your heart is a finely tuned system, with 4 valves that are responsible for regulating blood flow: the aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid valves. When these valves are not working correctly, it leads to heart valve disease. You may have been born with valve problems (congenital heart valve disease) or developed them with age or as a result of an infection.
Since blood cannot move throughout your heart and body efficiently, your heart has to work harder. That is why many people with valve problems often feel short of breath. Heart valve disease happens when your valves either:
- Do not fully open and blood cannot flow correctly
- Do not fully close, causing blood to leak into the wrong place
Heart Valve Disease and Structural Heart Conditions We Treat
We treat a wide range of structural heart conditions, include rare disorders. Patients turn to us for expert, personalized diagnosis and treatment of their condition, no matter how routine or complex. Conditions we treat include:
- Congenital and native valve disease such as:
- Bicuspid aortic valve
- Aortic stenosis and regurgitation
- Mitral stenosis and regurgitation
- Mitral valve prolapse
- Pulmonary stenosis and regurgitation
- Ebstein’s anomaly of the tricuspid valve
- Septal defects such as:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD)
- Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD)
- Ventricular septal defect (VSD)
- Residual cyanotic defects or Eisenmenger syndrome
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Partial and total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR)
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Transposition of the great arteries
- Truncus arteriosus
- Single ventricle defects such as tricuspid atresia, double inlet left ventricle, hypoplastic left heart syndrome (Fontan procedure patients)
- Heart rhythm disorders and devices for patients with congenital heart disease
Heart Valve Disease Tests and Diagnosis
We use advanced imaging tests and minimally invasive procedures to diagnose heart valve problems. We diagnose you quickly and efficiently, so you can get started on treatment.
Diagnostic tests may include:
- Echocardiography (echo): This is a noninvasive test using sound waves. We pass a device called a transducer over your chest to capture images of your beating heart.
- Transesophageal echo (TEE): In this specialized type of echo, we guide a narrow transducer down your throat to your esophagus to get more detailed images.
- Cardiac catheterization: We insert a thin tube called a catheter into your blood vessels to help diagnose your specific condition.
- Cardiac MRI: This test uses powerful magnets to create images of your heart and help confirm a diagnosis of a valve condition.
- Electrocardiogram: We use this test to record your heart’s electrical activity.
- Chest X-ray: We may use this test to determine the type and severity of a valve defect.
Heart Valve Disease Treatments
Your treatment depends on the cause and severity of the valve problem. Treatment options include:
- Monitoring: We may advise watchful waiting to see if the problem worsens or causes symptoms. We monitor you regularly, so if there is any change in your condition, we can quickly begin active treatment.
- Medication: Medications cannot cure heart valve disease, but they can ease your symptoms.
- Minimally invasive valve replacement: For certain patients, we are able to replace faulty valves without performing open heart surgery. This minimally invasive approach leads to an easier recovery for you.
- TAVR: TAVR allows your doctor to replace a worsening aortic valve. Vanderbilt does more TAVR procedures a year than anyone in the region. Learn more about TAVR.
- MitraClip®: Our interventional cardiologists and surgeons use the MitraClip device to repair a leaky mitral valve.
- Surgical valve replacement: You may not be a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure to repair or replace the valve. We may determine that a traditional (open heart) surgery will give you the best outcome. If we use an open approach, we may use minimal access techniques, which avoid complications of conventional approaches. Vanderbilt cardiac surgeons are able to handle even the most complex cases. Learn more about valve replacement and repair.
Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute Locations
Our experienced team of doctors may see patients at additional locations. To find the location closest to you, call (615) 322-2318.
8401 Highway 111
Byrdstown, TN 38549
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Medical Center East
1215 21st Ave. S., 5th Floor
Nashville, TN 37232
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One Hundred Oaks
719 Thompson Ln., Suite 22100
Nashville, TN 37204
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1397 S. College St., Suite 1
Winchester, TN 37398
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121 Memorial Drive
Franklin, KY 42134
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1010 Medical Center Dr.
Powderly, KY 42367
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