Structural Heart Valve Program

Structural heart disease refers to a defect in the heart’s valves, walls, or chambers. The condition can be present at birth (congenital) or can develop over time. The Structural Heart Valve Program at University Medical Center has a multidisciplinary team that specializes in managing congenital conditions as well as diagnosing and treating acquired structural heart conditions. We use the latest technology and techniques to deliver the highest quality, patient-centric care.

The most common types of structural heart disease are:

  • Aortic valve disease
  • Congenital heart diseases such as atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Mitral valve disease
  • Tricuspid and pulmonic valve disease

DiagnosisHeart diagram demonstrating transcatheter aortic valve replacement

Most of our structural heart disease patients come to us through a general cardiologist, an interventional cardiologist, or a cardiovascular surgeon. We find that early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment, so we are thorough in our investigations. We start by conducting a complete physical exam followed by additional tests that may include the following:

  • Echocardiograms
  • Computed tomography scans
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging scans

Treatment options

For years, structural heart diseases were treated with open heart surgery, but now less invasive approaches, also referred to as transcatheter valve replacements or percutaneous valve replacements, are available for patients.

There are a number of advantages to minimally invasive procedures including shorter procedure times, little to no scarring, less blood loss, decreased pain, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, and fewer complications.

If you are a good candidate for our structural heart program, your surgeon will work together with an Interventional Cardiologist to determine the most appropriate course of treatment.

At University Medical Center we offer several types of minimally invasive procedures to treat structural heart disease, depending on the specific situation. Treatments include: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), alcohol septal ablation, mitral clip, and amplatzer septal occluder.

Transcatheteraortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

TAVR, a minimally invasive procedure, repairs the valve without removing the old, damaged valve. Similar to a stent placed in an artery, the TAVR approach delivers a replacement valve that pushes the old valve out of the way, and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over regulating blood flow.

Dr. Pedro R. Cox-Alomar

Read the New Orleans Living Magazine interview with Dr. Pedro R. Cox-Alomar

Valve Clinic Information

Elizabeth Clement, PA-C, RDCS
Structural Heart Coordinator
Office: 504.702.3401
Fax: 504.702.3080