Valvular heart disease treatment in North Central Florida

The Heart & Vascular Center at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida, is proud to offer Structural Heart services. NFRMC is the first facility in Florida and the 7th in the nation to be recognized by the American College of Cardiology as a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement certified facility.

For more information about the Structural Heart Program, please call (352) 333-5610.

The heart's function is dependent upon its four valves: mitral valve, aortic valve, tricuspid valve and pulmonary valve. When functioning properly, the heart's valves are responsible for facilitating blood flow and delivering oxygen throughout the body.

Our program brings together healthcare professionals involved in every area of cardiac care to treat disease of the heart valves, including:

  • Cardiologists
  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Diagnostic technicians
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program coordinator

Heart valve conditions we treat

Our program focuses on treating valve conditions affecting the left side of the heart, where valve disease is most common. This means we offer advanced care for patients with valve disease of the aortic and mitral valves.

Aortic and mitral valve regurgitation

Regurgitation occurs when either the aortic or mitral valve does not close properly, allowing blood to leak through the valve when it should not. For example, picture a door frame. If the door frame becomes stretched, the door is unable to close and will swing through the frame.

If the aortic or mitral valve becomes stretched or misshapen, it is unable to close correctly.

Aortic valve regurgitation may be caused by a congenital abnormality of the valve, an aortic aneurysm, degeneration of the valve or an infection.

Mitral valve regurgitation may be caused by an enlarged heart, mitral valve prolapse or a rupture of the tendons or papillary muscles that facilitate valve movement.

Aortic and mitral valve stenosis

Valve stenosis occurs when there is an abnormal narrowing of the valve that does not allow enough blood to flow through the valve. This subsequently means that there is not proper blood supply to the lungs and rest of the body.

Aortic stenosis causes may include progressive wear and tear of a bicuspid valve, wear and tear of the aortic valve in older patients and scarring of the aortic valve due to rheumatic fever as a child or young adult.

The most common cause of mitral valve stenosis is rheumatic fever. Other causes include wear and tear of the mitral valve in older patients, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment options for heart valve disease

Treatment for heart valve disease differs from patient to patient and depends on the severity of a patient's symptoms and how well their heart functions. For some patients, this may mean medication management and close observation by a physician. However, sometimes heart surgery is needed to repair or replace a valve.

Valve repair may be an option for some patients experiencing mitral regurgitation. For patients with aortic regurgitation, aortic stenosis and mitral stenosis, valve replacement may be needed. Mechanical and tissue valves are available for patients undergoing a valve replacement. Our surgeons discuss what options are available with each patient.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)

Not all patients with aortic stenosis are candidates for open-heart surgery to replace a damaged aortic valve.

During the TAVR procedure, the new valve is attached to a catheter and inserted into the femoral artery or into a small incision in the chest into the heart. The balloon is inflated to secure the new valve in place, directly over the old valve. Recovery is similar to a heart cath and the patient usually goes home the next day.

Symptoms of heart valve disease

If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated for heart valve disease:

  • Chest pain and pressure, often described as a feeling of squeezing or heaviness
  • Fainting, dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Heart murmur heard by a physician
  • Shortness of breath or breathing too hard
  • Swelling of the legs

Visiting the Structural Heart Program

Our program's services are offered at North Florida Regional Medical Center at 6500 W Newberry Road in Gainesville, Florida. You can also schedule an appointment with the Florida Heart and Lung Institute by calling (352) 333-5610 or by visiting Florida Heart and Lung Institute.

Transcatheter Valve Certification from the American College of Cardiology

Transcatheter Valve Certification from the American College of Cardiology

The Structural Heart Team at NFRMC has been awarded the Transcatheter Valve Certification from the American College of Cardiology. NFRMC is the first accredited Transcatheter valve center in the state of Florida and the 7th in the United States for their excellence in structural heart care.