Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center’s highly specialized physicians use a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and manage heart valve disease, often allowing our patients to be evaluated by all specialists in one visit — an approach that is unique to our facility.
Valve Clinic: All Your Doctors, One Convenient Visit
Patients who attend our Valve Clinic are seen by a team of physicians and health care providers, including cardiologists
and cardiac surgeons. This team approach provides the best possible care for our patients and can greatly reduce the need for multiple appointments.
For patients who need valvular intervention, our state-of-the-art valve program offers a wide range of treatment options.
Comprehensive Approaches for Heart Valve Disease
Hear from UC San Diego patients about their experience with heart valve disease and how their lives were saved.
Conditions We Treat
Valvular heart disease is any disease process involving one or more of the heart's four valves, which include the tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral and aortic valves. Treatment can reduce symptoms such as weakness and shortness of breath, and can help prolong life. Our Valve Clinic treats all types of valve disease, including referrals of the most challenging cases. Conditions we treat include:
Valve Repair or Replacement Surgery
Valve disease can be treated with medication, but depending on the severity of the case, valve repair surgery or replacement surgery (insertion of an artificial heart valve) is often necessary. Our surgeons are experts in performing all types of valve surgeries with excellent outcomes, including aortic valve repair and replacement and complex mitral valve repairs.
Learn more about specific types of valve repairs and replacements.
Traditional and Minimally Invasive Valve Surgeries
Although traditional open heart surgery is still the standard for many patients, in certain patients with isolated valve disease, a minimally invasive approach can be taken. Using this approach, the surgery is performed through a small incision, providing access to the heart and lungs for surgical procedures such as aortic valve replacements, and mitral valve repairs and replacements.
Robot-Assisted Cardiac Surgeries
The da Vinci® Surgical System provides an even less invasive treatment option for valve surgery. Our surgeons use the da Vinci robot to address mitral and tricuspid valve disorders, cardiac tumors, some congenital defects and select coronary bypass procedures. Robotic surgery usually results in a shorter recovery time and hospital stay, allowing patients to quickly return to their normal daily activities and work.
Percutaneous Valve Replacement
First-Ever Procedure May Be Safer Technique for Left-Sided Surgeries
The UC San Diego team recently used a novel approach to extract pacemaker leads that had been placed on the wrong side of the heart — problematic because the left side of the heart is connected to the brain. Our new technique for protecting the brain may have application for other left-sided percutaneous cardiac procedures, including TAVR.
Read more and see a video.
When a patient's heart valve cannot be repaired, it must be replaced. In patients who may not be appropriate candidates for traditional or minimally invasive valve surgeries, percutaneous options allow a replacement valve to be delivered and placed through a catheter that is threaded through blood vessels rather than performing open heart surgery. Our interventional cardiologists and surgeons have extensive experience with percutaneous treatments for valvular heart disease.
Percutaneous techniques enable balloon valvuloplasty to treat mitral valve stenosis and also allow replacement of the aortic valve in high-risk patients with critical aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening).
UC San Diego Health recently became the first medical center in San Diego to offer transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) – a new alternative for some patients with aortic valve stenosis. This minimally invasive procedure allows us to repair a valve without removing it.