Structural heart and valve disease is a condition that involves problems with the tissues or valves in the heart. The heart has four valves, and each one has flaps of tissue that open and close with every heartbeat. The flaps make sure blood flows in the right direction. When one or more valves doesn’t open fully or lets blood leak back into the heart chambers, it makes the heart work harder and reduces its ability to pump blood. This can lead to serious health issues.
Structural heart and valve problems often are present at birth (congenital) but also can be caused by infection, heart disease, or heart attack. The condition may have no symptoms and cause no problems, but treatment is needed in other cases. When symptoms are present, they can include chest pain or tightening, shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, leg cramps, migraine headaches, and stroke (including transient ischemic attack, also known as a TIA or mini-stroke).
The UAB Structural Heart & Valve Program is the oldest and largest program of its kind in Alabama. It provides ongoing care – sometimes for life – to patients who have or are at risk for structural heart and valve disease. Our experienced surgeons and cardiologists take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating this condition, and their expertise ranges from traditional open-heart surgery to robotic-assisted valve repair and the latest in minimally invasive surgical techniques, which require only small incisions (cuts).
The UAB Structural Heart & Valve Clinic has achieved several important milestones in the past decade. In 2012, we performed the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in Alabama, and UAB has performed more TAVR procedures than any other hospital in the state. As an added service, patients who have been told by non-UAB doctors that they need valve surgery can speak to a UAB structural heart and valve surgeon for a second opinion.
- Haywood Fuller | Valve SurgeryHaywood Fuller traveled to UAB for an accurate diagnosis and lifesaving surgery to correct his heart valve problem.WatchClose
- James Davies, MD | Aortic Valve ReplacementDr. James Davies appeared on ABC 33/40’s “Talk of Alabama” to discuss UAB’s expertise in aortic valve replacement.WatchClose
- Ernest Tate TAVR Procedure – Chapter 1The surgeons and interventional cardiologists of UAB’s structural heart program repaired a serious heart issue with minimally invasive techniques instead of traditional open-heart surgery.WatchClose
- James Moebes: TAVR ProcedureBecause of his age and the severity of his aortic valve stenosis, physicians at another hospital recommended hospice care. Fortunately, Mr. Moebes was referred to UAB for the minimally-invasive TAVR procedure. UAB physicians, who perform more TAVR procedures than any other hospital in Alabama, were able to successfully treat this patient’s condition and offer him a second chance at life.WatchClose
- Ernest Tate/TAVR Procedure – Chapter 2The surgeons and interventional cardiologists of UAB’s structural heart program repaired a serious heart issue with minimally invasive techniques instead of traditional open heart surgery.WatchClose
- Heart Valve DiseaseThe heart has four valves that are responsible for keeping blood moving through its chambers and around the body. James Davies, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UAB, talks to Daytime Alabama on WVTM-TV, Channel 13, in Birmingham, Ala., about how valve disease can be prevented, detected, and treated.WatchClose
- Charles Estes – Aortic Valve Stenosis89 year old Charles Estes was not about to let a heart valve problem slow him down. The WWII vet volunteered to be the first person in Alabama to undergo a new minimally invasive procedure for aortic valve replacement.WatchClose
- Wade Gladden – Aortic Valve StenosisAt 90-plus years old, Mr. Gladden’s heart was weakened, he had aortic valve disease and needed multiple procedures. With help from UAB’s team of cardiovascular sub-specialists, the veteran has survived and thrived.WatchClose
- Gil Barrow – 500th TAVR PatientPastor, professional baseball player, heart attack survivor. Gil Barrow has experienced many things in his life, but he never thought the latter would be a part of his story. Now, because of his new opportunities in both health and retirement, he has spread the word about TAVR and the doctors at UAB who helped him get back on the right track.WatchClose
- Sarah’s HeartWhen Sarah Ford found out she needed heart surgery, she made the drive from her home in Dothan to Birmingham to receive treatment at UAB. The experienced surgeons, compassionate staff, and cutting-edge care at UAB made her feel secure and safe.WatchClose
- Meet the Team: Kyle Eudailey, MDDr. Eudailey specializes in adult cardiac surgery, including aortic surgery and transcatheter treatment of valve disease. He is grateful for the opportunity to help patients improve their quality of life.WatchClose
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