Structural Heart Defects

Phoenix Heart -  - Cardiologist

Phoenix Heart

Cardiologists located throughout Greater Phoenix, AZ

The American Heart Association estimates that 1.4 million adults live with a congenital heart defect. The interventional cardiologists at Phoenix Heart specialize in treating structural heart defects using catheter-based therapies to achieve optimal results. If you have symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fatigue, schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, Buckeye, and Black Canyon City, Arizona.

Structural Heart Defects Q & A

What are Structural Heart Defects?

Structural heart defects encompass a group of problems that may involve the heart’s walls, valves, or blood vessels. These defects may be present at birth or develop as you get older.

These are a few examples of structural heart defects:

  • Aortic valve stenosis: a buildup of calcium deposits on the aortic valve
  • Atrial septal defect: a hole in the wall that separates the two upper chambers in your heart
  • Ventricular septal defect: a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers
  • Patent foramen ovale: a small opening between the two upper chambers that fails to seal after birth


Even when structural defects are congenital, they may not cause symptoms until you’re an adult.

What Causes Structural Heart Defects?

Congenital heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defects. They may be associated with abnormal chromosomes, single gene defects, or environmental factors. However, their exact cause usually remains unknown.

Adult structural heart defects may develop due to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Previous heart attack
  • Medications
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Endocarditis


Structural changes also take place as you get older. For example, the heart wall and blood vessels tend to become thick and stiff.

What Symptoms Develop Due to Structural Heart Defects?

Congenital heart defects are noticeable during the first few months after birth. Babies develop bluish skin, have difficulty breathing and feeding, and fail to gain weight.

The most common symptoms that appear in adults include:

  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Leg cramps
  • Migraine headaches
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack


It’s important to schedule an examination at Phoenix Heart if you develop any of these symptoms because they’re signs of many potential heart problems.

How are Structural Heart Defects Treated?

The interventional cardiologists at Phoenix Heart specialize in using catheter-based therapies to treat structural heart defects in patients who can’t undergo open-heart surgery.

They frequently perform catheter-based procedures such as:

  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement for aortic valve stenosis
  • Watchman™ left atrial appendage closure to prevent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation
  • MitraClip® to repair the valve in patients with mitral regurgitation


If you develop symptoms like chest pain, call Phoenix Heart or schedule an appointment online.