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Heart & Vascular Institute

Structural Heart Disease Program

Temple’s Structural Heart Disease Program treats abnormalities or defects of the cardiac walls, chambers or valves. Structural heart defects can compromise function, and in some cases lead to clinical consequences like heart failure or even cardiac arrest. Temple offers an array of options to repair the heart or help patients reduce risk and improve quality of life.

Treating Congenital & Acquired Abnormalities

Some structural heart defects are congenital (present at birth). The most common of these are atrial septal defects (ASDs), which are holes in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria); and ventricular septal defects (VSDs), holes in the wall between the two lower chambers (ventricles). If any of these holes are large enough to cause major problems, Temple cardiovascular surgeons can often patch or sew them shut.

Closeup of cardiologist examining screen during procedure

Other structural abnormalities develop over time as the result of normal wear and tear, injury or infection. Some of the most common such defects involve the valves that control blood flow through the heart. They may stiffen and fail to open properly (due to scarring or calcium deposits) or become too floppy and let blood flow back in the wrong direction. If a valve condition seriously burdens the heart, the valve may need to be repaired or replaced.

Often Temple’s cardiovascular specialists can perform heart repairs using catheter-based procedures: a flexible tube is threaded into the heart via the blood vessels and used to perform repairs. This is especially useful for patients whose health makes traditional open surgery risky. When we do perform open surgery, we strive to use minimally invasive approaches that reduce scarring, blood loss, and recovery time.

Temple’s multidisciplinary structural heart disease team is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art, compassionate care designed to meet the needs of each patient. As pioneers in their field, these physicians are working on leading-edge treatments for structural heart disease. Our team includes:

  • Cardiologists
  • Interventional cardiologists
  • Cardiovascular surgeons
  • Cardiovascular imaging specialists

Page medically reviewed by:
Suyog A. Mokashi, MD
December 14, 2022