Structural Heart Center

Structural conditions affect the interior walls of your heart, valves and your arteries and veins. Some structural heart conditions are congenital; others develop as you age.

The focus of the OSF HealthCare Cardiovascular Institute is on improving quality of life for patients with structural heart disease. The main goals for treatment of structural heart disease are to control the symptoms and halt the progression of the disease to lower the risk for heart attack, stroke and other complications. These conditions may include:

Aortic Valve Stenosis & Regulation

The aortic valve controls blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. In aortic stenosis, the valve narrows, restricting blood flow from the heart. In aortic regurgitation, the valve opening does not close completely, causing blood to leak backward into the heart. As a result of either of these conditions, the heart muscle may have to pump harder and blood flow to the body may decrease, which can ultimately lead to heart failure.

Mitral Valve Stenosis & Regurgitation

The mitral valve controls blood flow between the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. In mitral valve stenosis, the valve narrows, restricting blood flow through the heart. In mitral valve regurgitation, the valve does not close completely, allowing blood to flow backward through the valve and possibly into the lungs. As a result of either condition, the heart muscle may have to pump harder and blood flow to the body may decrease, which can ultimately lead to heart failure.

Pulmonary Valve Stenosis & Regurgitation

The pulmonary valve controls blood flow between the heart and the lungs. In pulmonary valve stenosis, the valve narrows, restricting blood flow to the lungs. In pulmonary valve regurgitation, the valve does not close completely, allowing blood to flow backward into the heart. Pulmonary valve stenosis can cause the heart to work harder, ultimately damaging the muscle and leading to heart failure, while pulmonary valve regurgitation can cause enlargement in the right ventricle, one of the four chambers of the heart.

Tricuspid Valve Stenosis or Regurgitation

The tricuspid valve controls blood flow between the right atrium and the right ventricle of the heart. In tricuspid valve stenosis, the valve narrows, increasing pressure in the right atrium and decreasing blood flow to the lungs. In tricuspid regurgitation, the valve does not close entirely, allowing blood to leak backward into the right atrium.

Septal Defects

The left and right side of the heart are separated by a wall called the septum. Some people are born with a hole in either the upper septum (atrial septal defect) or the lower septum (ventricular septal defect). When these defects are present, oxygen-rich blood from the lungs may mix with oxygen-poor blood returning from the body.

Patent Foramen Ovalves

Foramen ovales are holes in the heart needed before birth to transfer oxygenated blood from the umbilical cord to the unborn child, bypassing the lungs, which are not used by the fetus. Soon after birth, this hole generally closes, but in about 20% of people, it does not close completely. This remaining opening is called a patent foramen ovale.

Paravalvular Leaks

A paravalvular leak is an opening that forms on the outer edge of a prosthetic (artificial) valve where it is secured to the heart tissue. Paravalvular leaks may occur at the site of a loose or broken suture, which can result from endocarditis (inflammation of the lining inside the heart) or poor valve placement.

Learn more about structural heart disease , treatment options and ways to manage the condition.