Structural Heart Disease

What is Structural Heart Disease?
Structural heart disease most often refers to cardiac defects which are congenital in nature (birth defects), but may also include abnormalities of the valves and vessels of the heart wall that develop with wear and tear on the heart, or through other disease processes. The three most common congenital heart diseases are atrial septal defect (ASD), patent foramen ovale (PFO), and coarctation of the aorta.

An ASD is a hole in the wall (septum) which separates the top two chambers of the heart. A PFO is similar to an ASD; it is a flap-like hole in the wall that separates the upper two chambers of the heart, a coarctation of the aorta is a narrowing of the vessel, in the upper chest that carries the blood from the heart, to every other part of the body to supply oxygen and other nutrients.

What are Symptoms of Structural Heart Disease?


  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA or mini-stroke)
  • Migraine headaches
  • Low oxygen levels in rare patients.
  • “Bends” in divers


  • Heart palpitations
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Stroke


In Coarctation of the Aorta

  • High blood pressure in the arms and head w/ low or normal blood pressure in the legs
  • Stroke
  • Premature coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Leg cramping w/ exertion
  • Kidney dysfunction


Treatments for Structural Heart Disease
There are treatments in the cath lab treatment for ASDs, PFOs and coarctations. For both ASDs and PFOs there is a catheter based procedure that utilized specific closure devices. Stenting is used to treat patients coarctations.

For more information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease or to make an appointment with a CIVT physician call 212.305.7060
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