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 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 & Structural Heart Disease?
Valve 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 (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 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 valve disease.
What are the Symptoms of Structural Heart Disease?
Symptoms and severity of structural heart disease will vary depending from patient to patient, but the most common symptoms are:
- Chest pain or tightening
- Heart palpitations/irregular heart beats
- High blood pressure
- Kidney dysfunction
- Leg cramping
- Shortness of breath/Difficulty exercising
- 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.