Other Structural Heart Procedures

If you have a condition that involves the heart’s structure, it can leave you feeling tired and short of breath. At the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital, our heart experts offer minimally invasive treatments that fix the problem and relieve your symptoms. Our goal is to help you achieve your best health.

Expertise in the latest treatments for structural heart disease

Our heart team is known across the country and around the world for our superior care for structural heart conditions. When you come to Henry Ford, you can expect:

  • Pioneers in interventional cardiology: Our physicians have decades of experience in cardiac catheterization for all types of heart conditions. Through research and clinical trials, we continue to seek new ways to advance the standard of care for people with structural heart disease at all stages.
  • Advancements that bring hope to patients: At Henry Ford, our expert physicians help people who have no other treatment options. Our unmatched expertise in transcatheter procedures and dedication to research mean that whatever type of structural heart condition you have, we can treat it.
  • Dedication to 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 sophisticated 3D imaging and printing. We create an exact replica of your heart and use the model to precisely plan your treatment. This technology leads to shorter, safer procedure times, less pain and faster recoveries.

Minimally invasive treatment for structural heart disease

Our interventional cardiologists lead the field in minimally invasive procedures with excellent outcomes. We have a depth of expertise in procedures that use a catheter (thin, flexible tube with micro instruments) inserted through a blood vessel to access the heart.

Since 2012, our team has helped hundreds of people who have structural heart conditions that can lead to serious complications. We’re committed to helping our patients reduce the risk of complications and relieve their symptoms for an improved quality of life. Our minimally invasive procedures include:

Closure of the left atrial appendage (LAA)

Many people with atrial fibrillation (AFib) have an increased risk for stroke because they cannot take anti-coagulants (blood-thinning medications). AFib is an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) that causes blood to pool in the heart, particularly in the left atrial appendage (LAA). The LAA is a small pouch that extends from the left atrium (upper left heart chamber).

The slow-moving blood can develop clots, which can pass through the bloodstream to the brain, where they may cause a stroke. Find out more about how atrial fibrillation affects your risk of stroke.

By closing off the LAA, we can reduce the risk of stroke. We offer 2 catheter-based procedures to permanently close the LAA:

  • LARIAT® suture: With this device, our physicians deliver the suture to the outside of the heart, where the LAA extends from the left atrium (upper left heart chamber). They use catheters to guide the suture into place, where it tightens a loop around the LAA.
  • WATCHMAN™ device: This device is an expandable plug that seals the opening to the LAA from the left atrium. Our physicians use catheters to guide the device into the left atrium and position it in the opening to the LAA. We then expand the plug to seal the opening.

Closure procedures for holes in the heart

Certain structural heart conditions that can lead to stroke are congenital, meaning that they occur during fetal development, or develop shortly after birth. Two such conditions, which result in holes in the heart, are:

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD): This rare congenital heart defect happens when the septum, the wall between the heart’s upper chambers (atria), does not form properly as the baby develops in the womb.
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO): A common condition, this defect occurs when the normal opening between the atria does not seal shut after birth, as it should normally do within a few months.

Both of these conditions result in a hole between the atria, which can allow oxygen-rich blood to flow from the left atrium into the right atrium. If you have an ASD or PFO, you are at a higher risk for stroke due to blood clots. Read more about these heart conditions that lead to stroke.

Alcohol septal ablation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a genetic (inherited) condition that develops when parts of the heart muscle become abnormally thick. It usually occurs in the septum and the left ventricle. Learn more about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and its complications, including arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death.

At Henry Ford, our physicians have nearly 20 years of experience in performing alcohol septal ablation, a minimally invasive treatment for HCM. During this cardiac catheterization procedure, the physician:

  1. Guides a catheter (thin, flexible tube) to your heart, usually using a small incision in the upper thigh to access an artery
  2. Identifies the small artery that supplies blood to the area of heart muscle that is thickened
  3. Injects a tiny amount of purified alcohol into the artery to kill the thickened tissue

As the heart muscle heals, the affected tissue shrinks to a more normal size. The procedure opens up the left ventricle, resulting in better blood flow through the heart.

Atrial septostomy for pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure that affects the right side of the heart and the pulmonary (lung) arteries. These arteries carry blood from your heart to your lungs to pick up oxygen to send to the rest of the body. If left untreated, pulmonary hypertension can lead to enlargement of the heart, arrhythmia and blood clots.

The Center for Structural Heart Disease is one of few programs in the country that offers catheter-based atrial septostomy, a lifesaving treatment for pulmonary hypertension. In this minimally invasive procedure:

  1. We insert a balloon-tipped catheter (thin, flexible tube) through a small incision in your upper thigh into a blood vessel and thread the catheter to your heart.
  2. Then, we put the catheter through the septum and inflate the balloon to create a tiny opening between the atria.
  3. The opening relieves the pressure in the right atrium, improving blood flow through the heart.

Henry Ford: structural heart conditions we treat

Our interventional cardiologists are experts in treating diseases related to the heart’s structure. Among the many conditions we treat are:

Minimally invasive heart procedures at Henry Ford: what to expect

At the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital, you can expect the most advanced care from internationally known specialists in heart valve disease. We’re dedicated to providing the best possible outcomes for your health, with a compassionate touch. Learn more about what to expect throughout your care journey.

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Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email CommunicationAccess@hfhs.org.

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