Skip to Main Content

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.

Heart Quiz

How healthy is your heart?

Find a Cardiologist

Fill out a contact form and we'll call you to refer a doctor.

More Information

The Effects of Heat on Your Heart

It’s the season of tan lines and outdoor activities. But before you spend more time under the sun, it’s important to know how high temperatures can affect the heart, especially if you have heart disease or are showing symptoms of a heart condition. Listed below are the effects of heat on your heart, along with some tips on how to protect your heart this summer.

1. The heat forces your heart to pump harder.

Your body gets rid of excess heat through sweating and rerouting blood flow so more of it goes to your skin. Both of these processes require more work from your heart. Since the warm weather creates a higher body temperature, it forces your heart to pump harder and beat faster to reroute more blood to your skin. During the summer season, your heart may circulate two to four times as much blood per minute as it would in a cooler season.

2. High temperatures can be dangerous for people with heart conditions.

A healthy person may avoid straining his/her heart on a hot weather by increasing water intake. However, people with heart conditions, especially those who have had a heart attack, may not be able to pump enough blood to get rid of the heat. Also, cholesterol-narrowed arteries may limit the blood flow, while stroke, diabetes and other memory conditions may negatively affect the brain’s response to dehydration. All of these may increase the person’s risk of heat stroke, seizures, fever and other heat-related illnesses.

3. Medications for heart disease may interfere with heat regulation.

Some medications for high blood pressure and heart disease may interfere with heat regulation. Individuals who take these medications also have to be extra careful when going outside. These drugs can block sweating, slow the heartbeat, increase urine output that may lead to dehydration and/or cause photosensitivity, a negative skin reaction to sunlight.

Five Ways to Protect Your Heart

Beat the heat and help your heart function efficiently this summer:

  1. Increase your water intake.
  2. Wear light-colored, breathable fabrics.
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as both of these may increase dehydration.
  4. Stay indoors during peak hours, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  5. Exercise early in the morning or at night to avoid pushing your heart too hard

Meanwhile, if you experience symptoms of a heat stroke, such as fever, seizures, fainting, rapid but weak pulse, extreme confusion and rapid but shallow breathing, call 911 immediately. If you are taking medications for heart disease and are experiencing nausea, fatigue, headache or muscle twitches due to extreme heat, call 911 and speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Find a Doctor

Sources:
American Heart Association
Harvard Health Publishing
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Science Daily
The Heart Foundation
U.S. News