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

Owning a Pet May Be Good for Your Heart

Ever heard pet owners say their lives changed when they got their pets? Turns out they are not exaggerating and even have science to back them up. Having a healthy heart is important at any age. And researchers found out that human-animal interaction (primarily dogs or cats) leads to increased fitness levels, stress relief and overall happiness and well-being through constant companionship.

Here are five reasons why owning a pet may be good for you:

1. Less stress.
High levels of stress are associated with issues in cardiovascular health and other health behaviors such as overeating and physical inactivity. Studies have shown that pet owners have lower stress levels in the presence of their pets. Interacting with pets boosts the production of “happy hormones” such as oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin.

2. Increased physical activity.
Owning a pet, especially dogs, motivates pet owners to become more physically active. Research shows dog owners walk one hour more in a week than non-pet owners. Being more physically active reduces the incidence of obesity, which is a common risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

3. Pets provide social support and social interaction.
Pet companionship provides important social support that can motivate pet owners to develop positive health behaviors. Owning a pet also eases people out of isolation and shyness, making pet owners less anxious. Thus, making it easier for pet owners to interact and start a good conversation with other people or other pet owners.

4. Improved cardiovascular health.
In addition to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, owning a pet is also associated with a slower progression of high blood pressure in older adults. Research shows that pet ownership relates to improved cardiovascular reactivity that helps with recovery from stroke and heart attack. Researchers suspect that this is because pets improve the mood of their pet owners.

5. Increased productivity.
Wherever your workplace may be, pets can help productivity. Having a pet also helps build a good impression on others as people with pets are viewed as trustworthy and have a good sense of camaraderie.


If you do not have a pet yet, you may consider adopting or fostering one. Owning pets is associated with numerous benefits for the heart and overall health, including improving heart health through supporting an active lifestyle, preventing cardiovascular diseases, and helping with recovery from a cardiovascular event.

Keep your pets close to your heart, and they will help you take care of yours.

American Heart Association
Human Animal Bond Research Institute