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The University of Chicago Medicine is home to one of the most respected cardiology programs in the country, and our physicians are leaders in diagnosing and treating a wide range of heart valve and structural heart conditions. Our highly trained interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and vascular surgeons offer the latest medical therapies, nonsurgical procedures and surgical solutions — including minimally invasive techniques — for patients with heart valve conditions.

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease and structural heart disease is an umbrella term that encompasses the full scope of conditions caused by defects or abnormalities in the heart's valves, walls and/or muscle. Heart valve conditions are either congenital heart disease (present at birth) or can form later in life due to aging, infection or correlated underlying condition. 

In a healthy heart, all four heart valves (mitral, aortic, tricuspid and pulmonary) work together to pump blood from the upper chambers (aria) into the lower chambers (ventricles) to push blood out to the lungs and vital organs. When one or more of these heart valves is damages or defective, the heart cannot function as efficiently and can lead to serious health complications. However, patients can feel confident that our cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have the extensive experience necessary to diagnosis and treat high-risk patients, including complex heart valve disease.

Heart Valve Disease Symptoms

Symptoms and severity of structural heart disease will vary depending from patient to patient, but the most common symptoms are: 

  • Chest pain or tightening
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations/irregular heart beats
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Leg cramping
  • Migraines
  • Shortness of breath/Difficulty exercising
  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) also know as a mini-stroke

These symptoms may be a sign of a heart condition or of another medical condition. If you experience one or more of the above symptoms, contact your physician for further evaluation. 

Structural Heart Valve Treatments

As a leader in cardiac care, we offer a comprehensive approach to treating heart valve and structural heart disease. UChicago Medicine cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have pioneered many of the advanced minimally invasive and transcatheter techniques that are used globally today. Our team works closely to develop a tailored treatment plan for each patient, which could include a combination one or more of the following:

  • Lifestyle management can include maintaining a healthier weight, managing stress, quitting smoking and controlling pre-existing conditions, such as blood pressure, cholesterols and diabetes.
  • Medication can be used to control heart valve conditions by increasing the heart's ability to pump, regulate heartbeats, relieve discomfort and prevent blood clots.
  • Transcatheter/Interventional procedures are an alternative to traditional surgery for high-risk patients with heart valve disease or congenital heart defects.
  • Heart valve surgery, including traditional heart surgery and robotic heart surgery, is performed for heart valve repairs, heart valve replacements and heart valve reconstructions.  

Why UChicago Medicine for Valve Disease

Our cardiologists and cardiac surgeons excel at not only diagnosing structural and valve heart disease, but also creating a personal treatment plan for each patient that complements their exact needs and wants.

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Find a Valve Disease Location Near You

Request an Appointment

The information you provide will enable us to assist you as efficiently as possible. A representative will contact you within one to two business days to help you schedule an appointment.

You can also make an appointment with our providers by:

Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home

Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists

Filling out an online questionnaire (e-visit) to get a same-day diagnosis and treatment for common conditions.

To speak to someone directly, please call 1-888-824-0200. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.


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Structural Heart Disease