Structural and Valvular Heart Disease Care - Forrest Health

Structural and Valvular Heart Disease Care

Your heart is like a house—things can go wrong in and around it and be repaired, but should its structure start to fail, a different approach is needed. If you have structural heart disease, you don’t have to lose hope. We offer treatments right here in Hattiesburg, so you can stay close to home for your heart care. 

Our structural heart program treats a variety of cardiac conditions that affect the very makeup of your heart. With innovative procedures at our disposal, our team of cardiologists and surgeons are here to help keep your heart’s structure strong.

Treatments We Offer

A multidisciplinary team of interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and other specialists come together at Forrest General's comprehensive structural heart center to offer you several advancements in the treatment of structural heart disease.

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive cardiac surgical procedure performed on intermediate- and high-risk patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis or a narrowing of the aortic valve. Approximately 250,000 Americans suffer from this debilitating and life-threatening condition.

Traditionally, open-heart surgery has been the treatment for severe aortic stenosis. However, patients with severe aortic stenosis are often elderly and have other complex medical conditions that make invasive surgery high risk. These patients once had little or no treatment options, but are now being considered for minimally invasive valve replacement with TAVR at Forrest General Hospital.

Forrest General was one of the first health systems in the region to offer the TAVR heart valve procedure. In TAVR, a physician team inserts a catheter with an artificial valve attached. The valve is anchored inside the aorta and expands, helping to restore blood flow and replacing the diseased valve. TAVR has shown to significantly improve survival and quality of life. Recovery after the minimally invasive procedure is much shorter compared to recovery associated with open-heart surgery with an average hospital stay of 2 days.

Forrest General is a leading high volume TAVR center with an experienced multidisciplinary heart team. Our team is dedicated to delivering high-quality world-class care. With over 300 TAVR procedures performed, our patients have outstanding outcomes with a lower rate of mortality and stroke compared to the national average.

Left Atrial Appendage Closure (WATCHMAN Device)

Atrial Fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm originating in the upper chamber of the heart, affects more than 5 million Americans and is responsible for a 5x greater stroke risk than those with a normal rhythm. Atrial fibrillation results in decreased blood movement in the upper chambers of the heart and thus increases the likelihood of developing blood clots in the left atrial appendage.  This blood clot then has the potential to travel to the brain resulting in a stroke.

Blood thinners such as warfarin and other newer forms of oral anticoagulants have been the standard therapy to reduce stroke risk. However, these medications are not appropriate for some patients due to the bleeding risk and other adverse side effects.

The WATCHMAN device, a left atrial appendage closure device, offers patients with atrial fibrillation an alternative to taking oral blood thinners.  The procedure is a minimally invasive procedure where the device is inserted through a vein and placed in the left atrial appendage and deployed which then occludes the left atrial appendage preventing clots from escaping. Studies have shown that this device is a safe and effective alternative to blood thinners for stroke risk reduction.

At Forrest General, a multidisciplinary team made of electrophysiologist, interventional cardiologist, and cardiac anesthesiologist have been providing comprehensive care to patients with atrial fibrillation.


Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (MitraClip)

Transcatheter mitral valve repair ( MitraClip) is a minimally invasive treatment for mitral regurgitation, a condition in which the heart’s mitral valve does not close tightly, allowing blood to leak backward into the heart.

The Mitraclip is guided through a vein into the heart, and the device is positioned to grasp the leaflets of the valve allowing for improved closure of the valve and reduced leakage of blood to the lungs.


Mitraclip therapy is available for patients who are not candidates for traditional open heart surgery. Mitraclip has shown to significantly improve quality of life and decrease the rate of hospitalization. Recovery after the minimally invasive procedure is much shorter compared to recovery associated with open-heart surgery with an average hospital stay of 2 days.

Forrest General is a leading high volume transcatheter mitral valve repair center in the country with an experienced multidisciplinary heart team. We are proud to be the first hospital in Mississippi to offer this life-changing procedure.  Our team is dedicated to delivering high-quality world-class care. With over 75 Mitraclip procedures performed, our patients have exceptional outcomes and improvement in the quality of life.

Watch a quick video from one of our cardiologists explaining MitraClip here.

Transseptal Puncture

Transseptal puncture allows doctors to access the left atrium, or the left side of the heart, without having to place catheters in the aorta, by puncturing the septum that separates the chambers of the heart. Access to the left atrium is commonly needed for atrial fibrillation ablation and treatment of structural heart disease.

Balloon Valvuloplasty

A balloon valvuloplasty is a procedure that widens a heart valve that is narrowed. During this procedure, a thin flexible tube called a catheter is inserted through an artery in the groin or arm and threaded into the heart. When the tube reaches the narrowed heart valve, a balloon at the end of the tube is inflated. The balloon then widens the valve opening.

Septal Defect and Patent Foramen Ovale Closure

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is a hole between the upper chambers of the heart that didn’t close the way it should after birth. To close the hole in the heart wall, a catheter can be used to guide the placement of a patent foramen ovale closure device, which becomes a permanent implant. The catheter is initially inserted into a large vein through a small incision made usually in the inner thigh area and is slowly moved into the heart to deliver the closure device to the location of the opening.

Alcohol Septal Ablation

ASA is a minimally-invasive procedure performed by an interventional cardiologist in the cardiac catheterization laboratory to remove overgrown heart muscle. The procedure is used to relieve symptoms and improve functional status in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

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Employment Policy: It is the policy of Forrest Health to recruit and select candidates for employment without regard to race, color, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity),
religion, national origin, age, disability or other status protected by applicable federal or state statutes.

A Board of Trustees appointed by the Forrest County Board of Supervisors is charged with the oversight of Forrest Health. The system is completely self supporting and does not operate on local taxes.
Forrest Health facilities are approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for participation in Medicare and Medicaid Programs.