Structural heart disease refers to any problem or defect that occurs within the structure of the heart, including the chambers and the valves of the heart.
While these defects often occur from birth — known as congenital defects — other causes include natural aging, infection and general illnesses, said Dr. Elizabeth Retzer, an interventional cardiologist with Centegra Physician Care who serves as the medical director for the Catheterization Laboratory and transcatheter aortic valve replacement for Centegra Hospital-McHenry.
“Symptoms of structural heart disease can vary, and include such things as shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling, palpitations, irregular heartbeats and heart rhythm, lightheadedness and dizziness, stroke and heart failure,” Retzer said.
“Many of the symptoms of structural heart disease can mimic other cardiovascular problems,” Retzer said. “If you are concerned that you may have any of these symptoms, please go to your primary care physician or your cardiologist for further examination. On physical exam, your physician will be able to tell if you have any new murmurs or other abnormalities and can order further testing, which will likely include an ultrasound of the heart.”
Traditionally, structural heart disease has been treated with open heart surgery. Today, more minimally invasive, catheter-based techniques are available to allow for faster recovery and fewer risks to the patient.
Centegra Hospital-McHenry offers minimally invasive valve replacement, including the innovative transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure. TAVR is a less-invasive alternative to open heart surgery.
The McHenry hospital has a five-star quality rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, putting it in the top 7 percent of hospitals in the nation for quality.
Talk to a cardiologist if you are experiencing symptoms of structural heart disease.
Call Centegra Physician Care Cardiology at 815-759-8070.
Centegra Health System : 4309 Medical Center Drive, McHenry, IL 60050 :
815.338.6600 : centegra.org