Novant Health’s systemwide structural heart program (SHP) is a national leader in minimally invasive treatments for cardiac abnormalities. Novant Health’s SHP interventional cardiologists, heart surgeons, imaging specialists and electrophysiologists provide holistic, multidisciplinary care while reducing the need for open-heart surgeries and lengthy hospital stays for patients.

The SHP team focuses on transcatheter interventions and procedures for the heart, valve disease, atrial fibrillation (AFib), atrial septal defects, mitral valve disease, paravalvular leaks and more.

To provide minimally invasive surgical procedures for patients, Novant Health’s SHP is continuously innovating.

Minimally invasive approaches range from transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), to transcatheter mitral valve repair with MitraClip (TMVR).

At Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, we’re participating in a new TAVR trial with Alliance – and are one of only two places in North Carolina taking part in that trial. We’re also taking part in new mitral valve replacement trials with Encircle and Tendyne. Novant Health is one of 35 centers nationwide and the only hospital in North Carolina performing procedures with Encircle.

The SHP team reports outcomes to a national database to contribute to the growing knowledge base while tracking system progress.

“The Society of Thoracic Surgeons/American College of Cardiology Transcatheter Valve Therapy is a database that monitors patient safety and outcomes of transcatheter valve replacement and repair procedures,” said Kathleen Jones, PA-C, a cardiovascular disease specialist at Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute - Wilmington Main. “We are reporting our data from patients with a TAVR or TEER (mitral Transcatheter Edge-to-Edge Repair) in real time. We actively review this information to help grow our program and keep up with national standards.”

“Our program is constantly evolving in regard to how to more efficiently and expeditiously treat our patients,” said Robert Preli, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Novant Health Cardiology - Kimel Park Main in Winston-Salem. “All this is refined while keeping the human element and a personal touch at the center of each and every encounter. Patients truly get to know their providers and develop a relationship with us during their journey.”

Novant Health is known for systemwide – and industrywide – collaboration.

“Novant Health's program stands out due to its team-based approach,” Dr. Preli said. “Patients get the benefit of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons collaborating across specialties to ensure the best options and treatments are pursued for each individual.” That includes communication with referring physicians to keep them involved in their patients’ care.

Collaborating is a key part of care plans such as left atrial appendage occlusion with the Watchman device to address atrial fibrillation in patients who can’t be on blood thinners long-term. Per Medicare, this requires a dual physician acknowledgement that each patient is an appropriate candidate. The Watchman team of implanting physicians and imaging physicians meets with the patient, as does a second cardiologist, so both teams can reach a consensus.

Aortic valve replacement also requires collaboration across teams. “Our team consists of cardiothoracic surgery, specialized interventional cardiology, specialized advanced practice providers, and our nursing and support staff,” Jones said. “Together we determine the most appropriate way to replace a patient's aortic valve – transcatheter or surgical.”

As for collaborating across the healthcare industry, Novant Health’s SHP in Charlotte functions as a training center for outside physicians and representatives from device manufacturers. They travel to Novant Health to learn how to guide doctors to implant their products.

“There are only three such training centers in the country,” said Daniel Pu, MD, FACC, FSCAI, an interventional cardiologist with Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute - Presbyterian. “One’s on the west coast, one's in Ohio, and ours is the other. My partner, Oluseun Alli, MD, leads that program and has people with him nearly every week.”

Novant Health stays on the leading edge with clinical trials and device trials.

Trials are a critical way to provide patient access to the newest technology and treatment options.

“We’re involved in some leading-edge trials, including percutaneous replacement devices, which are still under FDA investigation,” Dr. Pu said. “Patients involved in these trials get the latest technology before it’s available to the general public.”

In 2023, Novant Health also participated in a clinical trial to test the new model of the Watchman device, the Watchman FLX Pro Device. This newest version is coated with a solution that prevents blood clots from attaching to the device, possibly reducing the needed amount of post-procedural blood thinners.

Across the system, Preli said, “We hope to continue to provide our patients with advanced technology that will allow quicker recoveries while maintaining high-quality outcomes.”

Systemwide, Novant Health structural heart physicians are available to consult with you about minimally invasive heart procedures for your patients. Learn more at