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Structural Heart Defect Specialist

Arizona Heart Arrhythmia Associates

Electrophysiology & Cardiology located in Phoenix, AZ & Tempe, AZ

Structural heart defects are abnormalities in the chambers, valves, and walls of your heart that sometimes cause life-threatening complications. The team at Arizona Heart Arrhythmia Associates can diagnose your structural heart defect and provide treatments to keep your heart working as it should. Call one of their seven convenient locations in Phoenix, Avondale, Tempe, Chandler, Sun City, Dewey, or Prescott Valley, Arizona, to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.

Structural Heart Defect Q & A

What is a structural heart defect?

A structural heart defect is a problem affecting the walls of your heart, its chambers or valves, and the blood vessels leading in and out. Structural defects can be congenital (present at birth) or develop during later life.

Some of the structural heart defects seen most often at Arizona Heart Arrhythmia Associates include:

Aortic valve stenosis

The aortic valve in your heart connects to the heart's largest artery, the aorta. Stenosis means narrowing, and aortic valve stenosis involves the buildup of calcium particles on your aortic valve.

Atrial septal defect

The atria are the two upper chambers of your heart. An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the tissues separating these two chambers.

Patent foramen ovale

A patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a small hole between the atria that doesn't seal as it should after you're born.

Mitral valve regurgitation

In this type of structural heart defect, the mitral valve fails to close properly, allowing blood to leak into your left atrium when your left ventricle contracts.

Ventricular septal defect

The ventricles are the lower chambers of your heart. A ventricular septal defect is a hole in the tissues separating these chambers.

What might cause a structural heart defect?

Many structural heart defects are congenital, meaning they're present at birth. This could happen because of a problem with your genes, the presence of an abnormal chromosome, or something in your environment, but often the cause is unknown.

Structural heart defects that develop after birth could be due to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Endocarditis
  • A heart attack
  • Certain medications
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Rheumatic fever

Structural changes can also occur as part of the aging process; for example, the blood vessels and heart wall tend to thicken and get stiffer.

What symptoms might a structural heart defect cause?

In adults, common symptoms of a structural heart defect might include:

  • Palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Kidney problems
  • Leg cramps
  • Migraines
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)

These symptoms are typical of many cardiovascular diseases, so it's important to get an accurate diagnosis from Arizona Heart Arrhythmia Associates.

What treatment might a structural heart defect need?

There are several treatment options for a structural heart defect. Arizona Heart Arrhythmia Associates frequently uses catheterization procedures that don't require open-heart surgery, such as:


Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) substitutes a damaged or faulty aortic valve in patients with aortic valve stenosis.


The Watchman left atrial appendage closure device helps prevent strokes in patients who have a type of arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation.


MitraClip can repair the mitral valve in patients with mitral regurgitation.

You might require surgery for a hole-in-the-heart condition like atrial septal defect (ASD) or patent foramen ovale (PFO).

To take advantage of cutting-edge treatments for structural heart defects, call Arizona Heart Arrhythmia Associates today or book an appointment online.