structural heart care

How is Structual Heart Disease Treated

In the past, the mainstay of treatment for structural heart diseases was open-heart surgery, in which the surgeon cut open the chest to access the heart. The Structural Heart Disease Program at Adventist Health White Memorial offers catheter-based procedures, a technologically advanced alternative for many patients.

Catheterization is probably best known as the technique employed in angioplasty. This is the “balloon procedure” interventional cardiologists use to open a blocked artery in the heart, which is usually the cause of a heart attack. A catheter device is inserted through an artery in the groin or wrist — or another artery of the body — then threaded through the vascular system over a wire to reach the heart. This eliminates the need for the large chest incision of open-heart surgery.

These less-invasive, catheter-based procedures are the future standard of care for many structural heart diseases. At Adventist Health White Memorial, catheter-based procedures are performed in our state-of-the-art Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.

What are the benefits of catheter-based procedures?

Catheter-based procedures are minimally invasive, which means it takes only a small puncture — usually through the skin — to insert the catheter, as opposed to a large incision for open-heart surgery. As a result, procedures are usually quicker and have an overall lower risk of complications. In addition, patients typically experience less pain after surgery, less trauma to the body from the procedure, a shorter hospital stay, a faster overall recovery process, and other benefits of this less-invasive approach to treatment.