Cardiac Conditions We Treat

There is no one way heart conditions and diseases develop. They can be inherited and present at birth, or they can arise due to lifestyle factors, during pregnancy, or during other medical treatment, such as cancer therapy.

At UI Health, our cardiology specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating both common and rare heart diseases and conditions. We provide state-of-the-art therapies to manage a number of cardiac conditions, and have long-term counseling, education, and therapy services to help keep you manage heart conditions and stay healthy.  

Heat conditions and diseases we treat include:

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is an abnormality in the structure of the heart of blood vessels that is present at birth. Congenital heart defects repaired in infancy still require lifelong care. We provide treatment, education, and counseling for adults with congenital heart defects, including:

  • Atrial and ventricular septal defects: Holes in the walls of the upper (atria) or lower (ventricles) heart chambers.
  • Congenital valve defects: Defects of the heart valves, which control blood flow through the heart.
  • Ebstein's anomaly: A defect of the heart's tricuspid valve, which may keep it from closing tightly.
  • Eisenmenger syndrome: Abnormal blood flow through the heart and lungs due to a hole (shunt) that develops between two chambers of the heart.
  • Marfan syndrome: A condition that causes abnormalities in the body's connective tissue, which supports multiple organs and systems that include the heart and blood vessels. This can cause leaking heart valves, aortic aneurysms, and dissections.
  • Pulmonary stenosis: A narrowing of the pulmonary value, which, allows blood to flow out of the heart into the pulmonary artery and then to the lungs.
  • Single ventricle defects: Also called single ventricle lesions, these are defects or syndromes that result in a heart only having one ventricle large or strong enough to pump blood. Examples include hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), double outlet left ventricle (DOLV), Tricuspid atresia, and heterotaxy defects.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot: A rare condition caused by four congenital heart defects that affect the structure of the heart and cause oxygen-poor blood flow out of the heart.
  • Transposition of the great arteries: A defect where the aorta is connected to the heart's right ventricle, and the pulmonary artery is connected to the left ventricle - the opposite of the heart's normal anatomy.  

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is the narrowing of blood vessels that deliver blood to the heart. When plaque builds up in arteries, they can become damaged or diseased, and the decreased blood flow may cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart attack.

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease — also called peripheral vascular disease  — is a common circulatory disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries, and the narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the head, organs, and limbs. Left untreated, this can lead to gangrene and amputation.

Genetic Cardiovascular Diseases

The cardiovascular genetics experts in the Familial Heart Disease Clinic specialize in treating and managing inherited heart conditions, including:

  • Cardiomyopathies: Heart muscle diseases that affect the heart's structure and performance. These may include:
    • Familial atrial fibrillation: An inherited heart condition that causes erratic electrical activity in the heart's atria, resulting in an irregular heartbeat.
    • Familial sudden cardiac death: Death that occurs from a genetically linked cardiovascular cause within one hour of the development of symptoms.
    • Familial thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection (TAAD): An inherited condition characterized by a weakening or stretching of the aorta that causes a bulge (aneurysm) or tear (dissection) in the aortic wall.
  • Inherited long QT syndrome (LQTS): An inherited disorder that disrupts the heart's electrical activity, which can cause life-threatening arrhythmias.
  • Marfan syndrome: The genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissues and most often can be found in the heart and blood vessels.
  • Premature coronary artery disease: Early-age hardening or narrowing of arteries that lead to the heart, increasing the risk for heart attack and other heart conditions.

Heart Disease Among Women

The Cardiovascular Program for Women provides state-of-the-art cardiac screening, prevention, and therapy services for women with symptoms and complications of heart disease, including:

Cardiovascular complications during pregnancy that result in cardiovascular disease

  • Complications from congenital heart disease during pregnancy
  • Coronary microvascular disease (small vessel disease or cardiac syndrome X)
  • Effects of Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and polycystic on the heart
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder that causes early onset heart disease
  • Functional amenorrhea, which accelerates heart disease
  • Impact due to gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and pregnancy-related hypertension
  • Pulmonary hypertension in women
  • Risk of heart disease due to diabetes or menopause

Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. If you have high blood pressure or blocked arteries in the heart, you are at risk of developing heart failure - or you already may have heart failure. The Heart Failure Program offers complete heart failure care, from early prevention strategies to end-stage treatment options.

Cardiotoxicities and Cardiovascular Disease

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may cause lasting damage to the heart, especially if patients already have a high risk for heart disease. The Onco-Cardiology Program at UI Health is equipped to search for warning signs and precursors to the development of cardiotoxicities related to cancer therapy, including:

  • Arrhythmia: A disruption of electrical impulses in the heart that can lead to abnormal heartbeat and ineffective blood pumping.
  • Cardiomyopathy: A disease of the heart that causes it to become larger, thicker or rigid. Severe cases of cardiomyopathy can also cause scar tissue to build up in the heart.
  • Cardiomyopathy makes the heart weaker and also interferes with the heartbeat, which can lead to heart failure, arrhythmias or heart valve problems.
  • Coronary heart disease: A disease that narrows and hardens the arteries that supply blood to heart muscles and is often caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries.
  • Heart failure: The inability of the heart to properly pump blood throughout the body. Hypertension: High blood pressure within blood vessels that can cause further heart problems.
  • Valvular diseases: A group of heart conditions that interferes with the four valves of the heart, which can cause blood to travel in the wrong direction or even block blood flow.