Structural Heart Disease Program

Experience gives good outcomes

The Stanley W. Ekstrom Valve Center at St. Joseph Hospital (SJO) has become Orange County's, high-volume destination for catheter-based, “state-of-the-heart” treatment options.

We use the least invasive therapies to perform complex and effective structural heart and valve repairs. Bringing in emerging technologies has advanced our award-winning care. We offer hope to younger, older and all patients with congenital and acquired heart wall and valve diseases. 

Our Structural Heart Disease Program combines the skills of highly qualified, board-certified cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, radiologists, cardiac nurses, nurse practitioners and cath lab clinicians. These experts collaborate on developing and implementing individualized treatment plans to expedite recovery and restore heart and vascular health. 

For specific information on these procedures, contact the St. Joseph Hospital Heart and Vascular Center at 714-744-8849.

At St. Joseph Hospital, our heart and vascular specialists provide life-changing procedures such as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that replaces a restricted, calcified aortic valve (aortic stenosis) with a new valve. In aortic stenosis the valve leaflets calcify and thicken, restricting blood flow. Aortic stenosis causes the heart to work harder, resulting in fatigue, shortness of breath, heart failure, palpitations, fainting, and other symptoms. In a TAVR procedure, the aortic valve is replaced via a small incision in the groin. Because TAVR is so safe and successful in high-risk patients, in 2019 the FDA approved its use in patients at lower risk as well. A growing number of people threatened by aortic stenosis and serious valve disease are choosing to have a TAVR at St. Joseph Hospital. Here’s what sets the program apart:

  • St. Joseph Hospital began providing TAVR procedures in 2016. Our program quickly grew to qualify as a high-volume center in Orange County;
  • Our physicians and team members train other physicians and clinicians in the TAVR procedure; and
  • We have replaced aortic valves in more than 500 patients with outstanding outcomes.

With expert TAVR implantation, a replacement valve restores and regulates blood flow. After the TAVR procedure, the patient usually returns home the next day with significantly improved quality of life.

TAVR compares very favorably with traditional open heart valve replacement surgery. TAVR patients welcome:

  • Relief of symptoms, including pain and anxiety;
  • Improved quality of life, including the ability to return to normal daily activities;
  • A short hospital stay, often only overnight; and
  • Minimal scarring.

The Heart and Vascular Center welcomes your TAVR-related calls.

WATCHMANTM is a safe, long-term alternative to lifelong use of blood thinners (anticoagulants) for people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder linked to high stroke risk. Watchman is considered a “disruptive technology,” advancing how high-risk patients are treated. It is the only device approved in the U.S. for mechanical closure of the left atrial appendage of the heart, where the vast majority of stroke-causing clots form.  

St. Joseph Hospital is the highest volume Watchman program in Orange County. Since opening the Watchman Program in 2017, patients have experienced low complication and high procedural success rates. Stroke risk is reduced, and bleeding complications from anticoagulant therapy resolve.

We welcome recoveries.

We also welcome your questions and referrals.

Since September 2017, properly selected, high-surgical-risk patients with leaky mitral valves have come to the Stanley W. Ekstrom Valve Center at St. Joseph Hospital for the latest approach to transcatheter mitral valve replacement and repair. The new MitraClip procedure manages regurgitation while hastening recovery and improving quality of life.

The St. Joseph Hospital Heart and Vascular team has performed the region’s highest number of MitraClip procedures. Here are some of the MitraClip Program’s outcomes and proven benefits:

  • Reduced heart-failure-related symptoms in more than 90 percent of patients, with very low rates of procedural complications and device-related adverse events;
  • Effective for high-risk patients who previously had no options;
  • Expedited recovery and reduced scarring when compared to open heart surgery; and
  • Reduction in heart failure-related hospitalizations.

The patient is typically hospitalized for up to a few days and has an improvement in symptoms immediately after undergoing the procedure.

For referrals and questions on MitraClip procedures, please give us a call.