What is structural heart disease?

Heart disease is responsible for one death every three minutes in the UK and we know that diet and exercise helps us maintain a healthy heart. In this episode, Anna Richardson talks to Dr Mike Mullen, consultant cardiologist at HCA Healthcare UK’s The Harley Street Clinic about the kind of heart disease which no amount of diet and exercise can solve - structural heart disease. 

Listen now to Getting to the heart of it

Episode 16 - Getting to the heart of it

For many of us, the increased public focus on living healthier lives is certainly a step in the right direction for preventing heart problems.

However, as Anna finds out from Mike when it comes to structural heart disease, which can affect even the fittest amongst us - understanding more about heart attack symptoms such as frequent breathlessness is vital to managing the condition correctly.

This was recently proved by none other than Mick Jagger, who after undergoing heart valve replacement surgery was back soon back to living his normal life and doing those dance moves we all know and love!

Listen now

What we learned in this cardiac podcast episode 

As with all heart problems, it seems the key to getting back to a fit and healthy life is identifying the symptoms and receiving treatment as early as possible. So how do you spot problems with your heart valves and what can you do to treat this type of heart disease? 

Heart disease Fact

Your heart beats over two billion times in your lifetime, and although heart disease can be influenced by lifestyle and diabetes, Mike tells us that heart disease can also be caused by wear and tear over many years of use. In fact, you could be living with severe heart disease without knowing about it.

Heart Fact

Getting out of breath is not just a sign of age. Mike says if you are struggling to do things you were able to do before, get your heart listened to by a GP, as it could be a sign of structural heart disease. 

Structural heart disease Fact

Structural heart disease is very treatable, and most people go on to live normal lives. However, Mike explains that  structural heart disease  will kill 50% of patients within two years if it is left untreated. 

Open heart disease Fiction

Open heart surgery is the only way to replace faulty heart valves. Mike Mullen has been instrumental in bringing a procedure called TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) to the UK. TAVI replaces valves via a catheter. Given the non-invasive nature of the treatment, Mike tells us, patients can be home the next day. 

What to do next

Dr Mike Mullen

Mike Mullen is a Consultant Cardiologist at HCA Healthcare UK’s The Harley Street Clinic, his NHS base is at the Barts Heart Centre in London, where he is the lead for structural heart intervention.  He is internationally recognised for his expertise in the treatment of structural heart disease, with nearly 20 years of experience in this field.


Mike’s areas of clinical expertise include valvular heart disease, patent foramen ovale (PFO), atrial septal defect (ASD), aortic coarctation and other congenital heart diseases.  He has played a key role in the development of many new technologies for the treatment of these conditions and their introduction into the UK, including transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), MitraClip and suture closure of patent foramen ovale.


Mike is frequently invited to give lectures and live demonstrations at national and international conferences. 


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If our podcast topics have inspired you to seek further advice, our team will be happy to make an appointment for you with a consultant. 

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