Structural Heart

Your Heart's Roadmap

Your heart has four valves with tissue flaps that open and close with every heartbeat. These flaps act as a roadmap for the heart, guiding blood flow in the right direction through the four chambers of your heart and throughout your body. If a problem occurs with one of your heart valves, our team at the DMC is here to help you.

Although some people have heart valve defects they are born with or disease that has developed over time, they may not have symptoms or even any problems. In other cases, the heart valve problem may worsen and cause symptoms to develop. When left untreated, advanced heart valve disease can cause heart failure, stroke, blood clots, or even death.

Navigating Your Care

The Structural Heart/Valve Clinic at the DMC is designed to make your visit more efficient, saving you time away from work or home by making sure you can be seen by our entire team in just one day.

The Structural Heart Program at the DMC encompasses interventional technology as well as the latest in structural heart innovations. The variety of minimally-invasive treatment options gives patients a wide range of personalized choices with the ability to make an educated decision based on their specific diagnosis.

A patient navigator will make all the necessary appointments and schedule you with one of our cardiologists and a cardiovascular surgeon, who are skilled in some of the most innovative valve procedures, and work together to develop your personalized care plan.

What You Can Expect

A visit to the Valve Clinic might include reviewing any previous tests or imaging of your heart, or some new testing may be performed. There are various options for treating valve disease, and our team will discuss those with you. Surgery to fix or replace a faulty valve may be needed. If that is the case, we offer minimally invasive techniques to lessen pain and blood loss, and allow you to get back to your daily routine faster, with a healthier heart.

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More Information

AFib: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Reducing Your Risk

Have you experienced catching your breath or experiencing palpitations even if you’re just chillin’ and watching TV? You may be suffering from atrial fibrillation (AFib), a type of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. AFib is more common in older adults, aged 65 and above.

What Happens During an AFib Attack?

During an AFib attack, the electrical signals that tell your heart to start beating becomes out of order. This malfunction affects two upper chambers of the heart (called atria) and causes them to quiver. It also disrupts the blood flow into the lower chambers of the heart or the ventricles, and causes them to contract faster or beat in an irregular manner. Because of this, the ventricles may not be able to pump blood to the rest of your body as it should.

The trembling in your atria may lead to blood pooling which may further cause blood clots. These blood clots may pump out of the heart, go to the brain and cause blockages which may then lead to a stroke.

What Causes AFib?

The main cause of AFib remains unknown. However, some conditions that may negatively affect your heart health and eventually lead to AFib are as follows:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the covering of the heart)
  • Thyroid disease

Heart surgery, taking certain medications and binge drinking may also lead to AFib.

What Are the Symptoms of AFib?

Quivering or fluttering heartbeat

Irregular heartbeat


Chest pain


Fainting or confusion


Shortness of breath



What Are the Treatment Options for AFib?

Medications for heart rate and rhythm

Blood thinners that can prevent blood clots and thus reduce risk of stroke

Electrophysiology treatments such as pacemaker placement or ablation

Lifestyle changes (i.e., consuming a healthier diet and exercising regularly)

How Can You Reduce Your Risk for AFib?

Consuming a heart-healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy weight

Exercising regularly

Managing your blood pressure

Managing stress

Avoiding smoking

Limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake


If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of AFib, please schedule an appointment with a cardiologist as soon as you can for early detection and treatment. AFib may come and go, but it may also be permanent and may increase your risk for stroke and blood clots, so please seek care before it even gets worse. Your heart care is our #1 priority.

American Heart Association
Centers for Disease Control