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Structural Heart Program

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Our specialized team can find the right therapy for you

Structural heart disease often requires a specialized, skilled treatment approach. The team at WellSpan Health is here to help you manage your unique heart condition and improve your quality of life.

We are a well-integrated group of experts in interventional cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiac imaging, cardiac anesthesiology, congestive heart failure and cardiac-specific internal medicine who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of the non-vascular structures of the heart.  This includes common conditions, such as diseases of the heart valves or abnormal communications between the chambers of the heart. 

Our cardiologists are well versed in the latest approaches to structural heart care, including minimally invasive techniques, as well as proven experts in established procedures.

Our heart team works with every patient on an individual basis. First, we clearly define and understand a patient’s unique heart condition. From there, we work to understand your goals, needs and concerns.

Our team approach includes experts from multiple disciplines, including interventional cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiac imaging, heart failure and cardiac anesthesia. We review appropriate treatment options and make a joint decision together that’s right for you. 

Learn more about the Structural Heart program and procedures such as TAVR, Mitral Valve Clip and Watchman at WellSpan. Contact us today at (717) 812-3617.


Conditions Treated

Our team of cardiologists treat a wide-range of structural heart conditions, including:


How We Can Help

Atrial Appendage Closure (Watchman)

Advances in minimally invasive technologies have changed treatment strategies to minimize risk of stroke from Afib. Left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) procedures eliminate the possibility of blood collecting in the left atrial appendage, which is where most Afib-related blood clots form. Closing the left atrial appendage involves implanting a small device in the opening of the atrial appendage. Over time heart tissue forms over and around the device, permanently sealing off the opening to the left atrial appendage and completely preventing blood from flowing in and out of the appendage.

Potential Benefits of Atrial Appendage Closure
These procedures provide many benefits for Afib patients. The benefits for each patient vary depending on their condition and overall health.

  • The procedure is minimally invasive. Done through a needle stick in the vein without an incision. Usually only one access site is required at the groin.
  • Recovery tends to be quick and easy. Most patients leave the hospital one day after the procedure.
  • Anticoagulant medications no longer necessary after tests have confirmed that the appendage has been sealed off.
  • Most people can return to normal activity within a few days to a week.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

TAVR is an innovative and minimally invasive new procedure that treats patients with a serious, life threatening condition called aortic stenosis

Since 2012, WellSpan physicians have been performing TAVR for patients from York County and around the world. This cutting-edge technology is offered to patients with severe aortic stenosis and moderate to extremely high surgical risk.

WellSpan physicians were involved with many of the pivotal research trials that helped bring this new therapy to approval by the US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). WellSpan remains on the forefront of medical technology by staying involved in multiple current local, national, and international trials involving TAVR and other structural heart therapies, which enables us to offer world-class cutting-edge technology right here in York County. 

TAVR is a non-surgical procedure that involves the insertion of a catheter into the patient’s femoral artery, a vessel that provides blood to the leg. Through this catheter, a new valve is delivered to the heart through the aorta. The new valve consists of a valve made of bovine or porcine heart tissue supported by an expandable metal cage. This new valve is then placed inside the diseased valve to replace the old one with a new and normally functioning valve. Because of the minimal invasiveness of the procedure, most patients are able to go home within 1 to 3 days after the procedure.  Patients who receive this new valve usually feel much better within a few days.


Percutaneous (non-surgical) Mitral Valve Repair: MitraClip

Patients with mitral regurgitation who are not ideal candidates for surgery can often be treated with percutaneous mitral repair. This is a non-surgical, catheter-based procedure where the two leaflets of the mitral valve are brought together with a clip at the place where the leakage occurs. This corrects the area of leakage in the mitral valve resulting in a significant reduction in mitral regurgitation. Most patients can expect to go home the next day. WellSpan physicians frequently perform percutaneous repair of the mitral valve and have been doing so since 2015.


Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) closure

Patients born with a hole between the top chambers (atrial septal defect, ASD) or the bottom chambers (ventricular septal defect, VSD) of the heart may develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and ultimately congestive heart failure if untreated.

Both ASDs and VSDs are most commonly treated by a non-surgical procedure called ASD or VSD closure. In this procedure, a small, self-expanding patch is delivered through a catheter from the leg vessel. This patch is placed across the defect to close the hole. Most patients can expect to go home the next day after the minimally-invasive procedure. Interventional cardiologists at WellSpan have been performing ASD and VSD closures since 2012. 


Percutaneous Transvenous Mitral Commissurotomy (PTMC) or Mitral Valvuloplasty

Many patients with mitral stenosis  can be treated with a non-surgical procedure called percutaneous transvenous mitral commissurotomy (PTMC) or just mitral valvuloplasty for short.  PTMC or mitral valvuloplasty is a procedure where a balloon on a catheter is inserted into a vein in the leg and up to the heart and across the mitral valve. The balloon is inflated in the valve causing the valve to dilate and effectively treat the mitral stenosis.


Physicians

Distances are estimated from zip code: 17401. Update zip code

Brian Schuler, MD

Brian Schuler, MD

Distance: 2.8 mi.

Paul Tolerico, MD

Paul Tolerico, MD, FACC

Distance: 2.8 mi.

James Harvey, MD

James Harvey, MD

Distance: 2.8 mi.

William Nicholson, MD

William Nicholson, MD

Distance: 2.8 mi.