Structural Heart Disease Treatments

Structural heart disease refers to defects or abnormalities that affect the heart. Some structural problems are congenital, or present at birth. Structural heart disease also can develop later in life due to age, infections, or another health problem.

At the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute, we bring together leading experts in structural heart disease to provide you with optimal care. Our physicians specialize in catheter-based, minimally invasive heart surgery. This approach means a less painful, faster recovery for you.

Types of structural heart disease

We treat a wide range of structural heart diseases, including:

  • Coronary artery fistulas: This condition is usually congenital (present at birth) and occurs when a heart artery abnormally connects to a heart chamber or another blood vessel. A coronary artery fistula can lead to heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), or other heart conditions.
  • Heart valve disease: One or more heart valves doesn’t open or close properly, interfering with blood flow into and out of the heart. Learn more about heart valve disease.
  • Holes in the heart: Some people are born with openings, or holes, in the heart. There are different types of openings, including:
    • Septal defects: An opening forms between the heart’s upper chambers (atria) or lower chambers (ventricles). This congenital problem sometimes heals on its own or may not cause problems. Severe septal defects can lead to pulmonary hypertension and heart failure.
    • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): An opening, or hole, in the body’s main artery (the aorta) fails to close naturally after birth. In some people, this condition increases the risk of pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. Many people with PDA don’t need treatment.
    • Patent foramen ovale (PFO): An opening between the heart’s two upper chambers doesn’t close naturally after birth. In some people, a PFO increases the risk of migraines and strokes. Many people with PFOs don’t need treatment.

Treating structural heart disease at AHN

Our dedicated team of experts works together to develop a treatment plan specific to your individual needs. When appropriate, we use catheter-based procedures, which make recovery easier. We offer:

  • Septal defect or PFO closure: Your physician places a mesh patch, or plug, over the opening in your heart (septal defect) via a catheter inserted through a leg or arm artery.
  • Fistula closure: Your physician places a wire coil over the abnormal connection (fistula) via a catheter inserted through a leg or arm artery.
  • Left atrial appendage (LAA) closure: AHN is one of a select few medical centers using the WATCHMAN™ device to permanently close the heart’s LAA. People with atrial fibrillation often develop blood clots in the LAA. This device keeps clots from entering the bloodstream and causing a stroke.
  • Heart valve surgery: We’re a leader in minimally invasive procedures, including transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and MitraClip®, to repair or replace diseased heart valves. Learn more about heart valve surgery.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN cardiovascular services.