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Hello, All. I've recently been diagnosed with aortic regurgutation (leaky aortic valve), and doctor says I might need valve surgery in 5-10 years. I'm 66 years old and in otherwise good health. Just wondering what to expect -- repair or replace? Guess I won't even think about it now as medical technologies are constantly evolving.
AmbassadorMR, August 29, 2019 2:17pm EST
Hi and welcome to the support network. This is the place where you can discuss your condition with other heart valve patients like myself who have been down the diagnosis and treatment path that you are now on.
You didn't metion the level of severity that your aortic valve is leaking (regurgitation) but I'm assuming that it is mild to moderate since your cardiologist is talking about a 5-10 year time frame for treatment. Another important part of your condition will be whether or not TAVR (catheter based valve replacement) is an appropriate option for you as compared to open chest surgery. If you don't have other complicating factors this much less invasive TAVR procedure is a major advance in the treatment of valve disease.
The current literature supports repairing damaged valves whenever possible versus replacing your valve with an artificial one. This isn't always possible so again, it will depend on your individual circumstance. If you happen to have a bicuspid aortic valve (congenital defect) your treatment options will be affected so maybe you can let us know a bit more about your diagnosis. In the meantime, the best thing that you can do is live a heart healthy lifestyle (diet, exercise, no tobacco, limited alcohol) and make regular appointments for discussion with your cardiologist to monitor the progression of your heart valve issue. We are here for you and wish you all the best as you begin your heart valve journey to long-term health.
Yours In Heart Health,
AmbassadorB, August 29, 2019 7:07pm EST
Like Ambassador MR, I, too, have been on the heart procedure path, and have a strong appreciation for your question about repair or replacement.
Mark (Ambassador MR) offered excellent comments and suggestions and I would only reinforce what he says: Live a heart healthy life! Smart diet, exercise, no tobacco, limited Happy Hour drinking, and regular interface with your Cardiologist. At the age of 66 and enjoying good health, you do not have any reason to be concerned about your "seniority". I was in my 70's when I had my aortic valve replaced and am still amazed at how much better I felt, following the procedure. Stay the course.
Ambassador B (Bernie)
AmbassadorC, August 31, 2019 8:20am EST
Welcome to the support network❣️ You have found a community of heart warriors with experience involving all four valves. While my journey with heart valve disease involved the mitral valve, I whole heartedly agree with the recommendations my fellow Ambassadors provided. For me, it was a watchful waiting approach upon diagnosis of my leaky mitral valve. That said, I will add that it is crucial to follow up with Drs recommendations if any further testing is needed as these will become your benchmarks. For me, I received a repair rather than a replacement via open heart surgery.
If you have not already, I invite you to research the heart valve education site that can provide you with a wealth of information re valve disease. This may also help you with understanding your overall condition.
Heart valve disease from this landing page there are other sections addressing treatment options and managing heart disease.
Again, welcome and please reach out to us with any further questions. We welcome you with heart.