Structural heart disease

With a highly experienced and dedicated clinical team across Australia and access to innovative technology and minimally invasive approaches, GenesisCare provides leading specialised diagnosis, treatment and management of structural heart disease.

Structural Heart Disease
Chapter one

What is structural heart disease?

Structural heart disease is the term used to describe conditions affecting the valves, muscles or walls of the heart.

This is different from coronary artery disease, which concerns the heart’s “plumbing,” or problems with the blood vessels that feed the heart, and an arrhythmia, which refers to problems with the electrical system of the heart. Structural heart problems may be present from birth (congenital), but they often can develop with aging or as a result of other diseases. The most common form of structural heart disease is often related to the heart valves and is usually discovered when a heart murmur is detected by listening to the heart, or when a cardiac ultrasound is performed.

The most common structural heart diseases include:

  • Aortic valve stenosis
    When the aortic valve has become hardened and narrowed.
  • Mitral regurgitation
    A condition caused by the mitral valve (which is the major valve between the 2 heart chambers on the left side of the heart) not closing properly.
  • Chamber wall defects
    A hole in the wall (septum) that separates the two upper (atrial) or two lower (ventricular) chambers of the heart.
Chapter two

Signs and symptoms

Though the symptoms and signs of structural heart disease can vary, the most common may include:

  • Chest pains – if severe please call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. This is an emergency.
  • A tight feeling in the chest
  • Shortness of breath when walking, at rest, or when lying down
  • Palpitations
  • Swollen feet or legs
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Sudden weight increase
  • Cough
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

Talk to your doctor to learn more about your symptoms and how you can check and manage them.

Chapter three

Diagnosis

In order to understand how your heart is functioning, you may be referred for one or more of the following tests. It is important to complete these before your appointment with the GenesisCare Clinic, to give our team all the information needed to best support you.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is used to assess the electrical activity in your heart. It gives your team information regarding the rate and rhythm of your heart and can help identify abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias). It is non-invasive, painless and provides information very quickly.

  • Small sensor pads called electrodes will be attached to your chest, arms and legs
  • The electrodes have wires which are attached to an electrocardiogram machine that will record and then print out cardiac electrical activity
  • Within minutes, the test is complete and your team will review the results

For more information click here

Echocardiogram (Echo)

Echocardiography is an ultrasound and serves as an easy way for your cardiologist to assess your heart muscle, valves and large blood vessels. The test may take up to 45 minutes and you shouldn’t experience any pain or discomfort during it.

  • You will lie on the examination bed
  • To get the images of your heart, the technician will place a thick gel on your chest
  • The technician will then place a transducer directly over the left side of your chest over your heart
  • The technician will press firmly as they move the transducer and will ask you to hold your breath for a short time
  • The results will be sent directly to your cardiologist

For more information click here

Pathology

Your doctor may send you for blood tests to assess your heart function.

Pathology or blood tests are an important way to help your team monitor how your medications and heart function are affecting other aspects of your overall health. For instance, some tablets can affect your kidney function, and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium in the bloodstream. Initially testing may be required frequently as your medications are increased to help strengthen your heart and reduce your symptoms. Once stable, monitoring will not need to be as often.

Chapter four

Treatment options

Once you have been diagnosed, your GenesisCare doctor will provide you with a personalised management plan to support you with an holistic approach to your structural heart treatment.

Your treatment plan may include one of the following procedures:

Chapter five

Coming to GenesisCare

What can you expect as a structural heart disease patient

  • Diagnosis and required surveillance will be completed at your local GenesisCare centre to reduce travel inconvenience.
  • We provide diagnosis, treatment and support tailored individually to you and your needs.
  • Greater support with specialist team-based care that is designed to give you an improved outcome and better care, faster.
  • Access to structural heart research program, giving you access to innovative treatments.

Your structural heart team

At GenesisCare we specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of structural heart conditions. You can trust in our experience; our team are well respected locally and internationally as experts in their field of minimally invasive procedures to repair or replace your damaged heart valve or chamber wall.
We work in a collaborative team ensuring you get the best outcome available. Our minimally invasive procedures can mean a faster recovery time compared to traditional surgery, which can improve the control of your symptoms.
View information about the GenesisCare structural heart care in WA.