Structural Heart Disease Must Not be Taken Lightly

Publication Date: 29 November, 2021

Source: Headline Daily


The heart has four chambers, 2 upper chambers (atria) and 2 lower chambers (ventricles). Blood flows through a valve before leaving any chamber of the heart. The valves keep blood flowing through the heart in one direction and prevent backward flow of blood. This allows the heart to pump blood effectively to the rest of the body.

Dysfunction in any of the valves can have serious effects on the heart structure, for example damage to the heart muscles hence affect the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. It can also lead to abnormal heart rhythm.

Valve disease is a common structural heart disease and can be congenital, meaning it was present at birth, or it can be developed over time through wear and tear, or because of some other underlying diseases or due to infection. Two common heart valve problems include leaky valve and narrowed valve. These two problems, can cause structural and functional changes in the heart chambers, preventing the chambers from pumping blood normally.

The patient may experience a wide range of symptoms including extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats, leg and abdomen swelling and pulsing at neck. If left untreated, advanced valve disease can cause heart failure, stroke, blood clots or death due to sudden cardiac arrest.

Treatment options include medication, open-heart surgery or minimally invasive transcatheter procedure for valve repair or replacement.


Transcatheter procedure is a new alternative treatment for patients with heart valve disease. This new option is for those who are at intermediate or high risk for open-heart surgery due to their medical condition. The decision to treat a leaky or narrowed valve and treatment option is dependent on the decision made after the consulting physician discussed in detail with the hospital heart team.

Technology has advanced tremendously, enabling physicians to treat very challenging heart valve diseases with minimal risk. It optimizes procedural results, and improving patients’ survival rate and quality of life.

In the next article, I shall give you an update about the commitment from our structural heart team on minimally invasive devices for the treatment of heart valve disease.