Medication Management for Structural Heart Disease
If you have structural heart disease with mild symptoms, you can take medications to control the symptoms. At the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital, our heart experts carefully evaluate your symptoms to decide which medications can best help you.
Depth of expertise in treating structural heart disease
Our interventional cardiologists (specialists in catheter-based, minimally invasive heart procedures) have years of experience in caring for people with all types of heart disease, at all stages. When you come to us for your heart care, we perform a thorough evaluation to design a customized treatment plan for you. We can help you decide whether to manage your symptoms with medications or to have a procedure for the condition.
At the Center for Structural Heart Disease, you can expect:
- Focus on personalized care: We work quickly to understand the causes of your condition, so we can provide a customized treatment plan specifically for you. To do so, we have specialists from several disciplines working on your case together. In weekly conferences, they combine their expertise to help you achieve your best health.
- Experts in minimally invasive heart care: Our world-renowned interventional cardiologists are pioneers in catheter-based procedures for heart valve and other structural heart diseases. Our team performed the first TAVR procedure in the U.S. and developed a new approach for it: the transcaval approach. We lead the field in developing the latest transcatheter procedures for structural heart disease.
- Patient safety: Our commitment to safe, effective care is part of the reason we can provide such advanced treatment with excellent patient outcomes. One way we enhance patient safety is through the use of 3D imaging and printing. Using the most advanced technology available, we can create exact replicas of a patient’s heart. We use the models to precisely plan each patient’s treatment, allowing for shorter, safer procedures that involve less pain and faster recoveries.
Medication management for heart symptom relief
Medications cannot help with the physical problems of structural heart disease, such as a heart valve that does not open or close properly. However, medications can help relieve your symptoms and lower your risk of complications.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and your overall health, we may prescribe one or more of the following medications:
- Antibiotics: Reduce the risk of infection after dental work, which can introduce bacteria into the bloodstream that can lead to heart valve infection
- Anti-coagulants (blood thinners): Prevent blood clots from forming in the heart by increasing the time it takes for blood to clot, but may cause severe bleeding in some people
- Aspirin: Acts a blood thinner to prevent the development of blood clots
- Beta blockers or other heart rate medications: Lower your heart rate, help control blood pressure and prevent pounding in the chest
- Blood pressure medications: Help control how hard the heart is working and prevent the heart walls from thickening from overwork
- Calcium channel blockers: Lower your heart rate, help relax the heart muscle to improve its contractions, and help relax and widen the smooth muscle lining of the arteries
- Cholesterol medications: Lower your levels of blood cholesterol
- Diuretics (water pills): Help reduce fluid buildup in the lungs and legs, which helps improve breathing and ability to be physically active
- Heart rhythm medications: Help prevent or reduce abnormal heart rhythms by slowing down the electrical conduction in the heart
Lifestyle changes for heart health
Lifestyle changes can help minimize your symptoms so you feel better. At Henry Ford, our nutrition and exercise specialists offer educational programs for heart disease prevention that can help you with these lifestyle changes:
- Healthy eating: Eating fruits, vegetables and low-fat sources of protein and limiting your intake of sodium, added sugar and saturated or trans fats can lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Physical activity: Aerobic exercise, such as walking, for at least 2.5 hours per week can improve physical fitness, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and help with weight management.
- Smoking cessation: Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of coronary artery disease and heart valve stenosis (narrowing).
- Stress management: Reducing stress through meditation, physical activity, mental healthcare and other programs can reduce blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease.
- Weight management: Losing just 3 to 5 percent of your body weight can improve blood pressure and lower cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose (sugar) levels in your blood.
Henry Ford: Heart conditions we treat with medication management
In the early stages of structural heart disease, we prescribe medications to help relieve symptoms of the following conditions:
- Aortic valve disease
- Mitral valve disease
- Pulmonary and tricuspid valve disease
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Heart conditions that lead to stroke
Exceptional heart care at Henry Ford: What to expect
Our team of physicians, surgeons, expert nurses and other clinicians is dedicated to providing the highest quality care with a compassionate touch, for an excellent patient experience. Learn more about what to expect through every step of your care journey.