Structural Heart Program at Northern Light EMMC turns to more technology to help patients

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The cardiovascular program at Northern Light EMMC is turning to more technology to improve the lives of patients.

(Image Source: MGN)

Structural heart diseases involve the heart’s anatomy or “structures” — valves, chambers, walls, and pockets. When the heart’s parts are not shaped correctly or damaged, blood flow can be altered, and major complications such as stroke, heart failure, or sudden cardiac arrest can follow. Some of these conditions are present from birth, while others can be acquired later in life.

Until recently, the only way to treat moderate-to-severe structural heart disease was with open-chest surgery. Since the creation of the Structural Heart Program, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has been able to bring many recently approved medical advancements using minimally-invasive procedures and catheter-based interventions to patients in Maine.

The WATCHMAN Device offers an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners for people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, also known as non-valvular AFib. This permanent heart implant effectively reduces the risk of stroke—without the risk of bleeding that can come with the long-term use of warfarin, the most common blood thinner.

Transcatheter mitral valve repair is catheter-based technology that uses a small clip attached to the mitral valve to treat mitral regurgitation. MitraClip allows the mitral valve to close more completely, helping to restore normal blood flow through the heart. It's a less invasive treatment option for patients who are not good candidates for surgery, and has been shown to significantly reduce shortness of breath in patients with severe mitral regurgitation who may not be candidates for open surgical valve replacement.

To learn more about Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Structural Heart Program, log on to or call 207.973.8054.