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I just came across this forum. I’m a healthy 59 year old female. I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse 20+ years ago by echo after a murmur was heard. I’m also hypertensive. I do all the ‘right’ things, maintain a good weight, eat healthy, exercise (mostly walking and yoga). I had a recent blood pressure check up with my primary care PA and she was concerned about my murmur. She ordered an echo and treadmill stress test. They just called today with the report that the stress test was abnormal and the echo showed severe prolapse, severe regurgitation and severly increased left atrial volume. I’ve had gradually more noticeable symptoms lately that I’ve just attributed to aging... more ‘winded’ on exertion, an awareness of my heart beating, occasional light headedness, etc. But nothing that made me think that anything was wrong. Now I’m so anxious, waiting for a cardiology referral, and then a plan. A lot of my anxiety is thinking about my mom- MVP, Afib, stroke... all the bad things that can happen. I don’t sleep well anyway and now I’m really not sleeping. Just needed to vent. It’s the wait, and I have a feeling it’s only just begun. My concern is travel and activity, I’m scared to damage my heart further.
tmwright88, February 5, 2019 9:19am EST
Hi, I was in a similar situation - 54, healthy, do all the right things (eating, exercise, stress management) but had heart murmur since birth. Never told there was an issue until I had symptoms one night about 5 years ago that brought me to my cardiologist where I was told I had mitral valve prolapse. Fast forward 4.5 years, I was told similar to you (severe regurgitation and left atrial volume increased) but didn't experience the symptoms on exertion but while lying or sitting. My cardiologist and surgeon recommended being proactive, so we chose to repair the valve. Fast forward 4 months, I'm five weeks post surgery (mitral valve repair) and doing well. Emotional support is very important along the way, it's very normal to have anxiety and to be much more aware of symptoms once you're given such a diagnosis. The good news is your being proactive and having it looked at. The ambassadors here on this site are very good and they usually respond with some good advice - take advantage of this. Good luck and be positive!
AmbassadorDN, February 5, 2019 6:56pm EST
First, here is a link to heart valve disease to help you learn more, as well as some valuable resources: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-valve-problems-and-disease/heart-valve-disease-resources
To share a bit and help give you a bit of insight, I was born with a congenital defect that affected my mitral valve. I was always told I wouldn’t need surgery until I’d be about 60 or so but I was 30 when it was time. A sudden onslaught of symptoms landed me in the ER. Unfortunately, womens’ Heart Disease is often under- and misdiagnosed. In fact, the ER doctor accused me of being a hypochondriac which made me question my symptoms. Still, I knew the shortness of breath and fatigue pointed to something wrong, and sure enough, it was my valve. I’ve had a total of 3 heart valve surgeries with my most recent in 2017.
I completely understand how you’re feeling. I’ve been there myself. Fears and worries are normal when facing heart surgery, as well as when you mix in a family history. Though trying not to worry is easier said than done, the fact that you reached out here on the Support Network is a step in the right direction. We are all here for you, ready to share and cheer you on!
You should be fine with traveling and doing activity, but do clear with your doctor first. My cardiologist encouraged walking prior to my first surgery. Even though I could barely exert myself without shortness of breath, I still made an effort to walk as much as possible. The better shape you are in before surgery, the better your recovery may be!
Feel free to keep us posted, vent away, ask questions as you anticipate surgery.
I wish you all the best!
To Heart and Soul Health,
Superman2020, February 6, 2019 8:44am EST
I am a 50 year old male, I had the same problem as you, I’m sitting on the coach now be cause I had it done 2 weeks ago, it was amazing because they wheeled me into the operating room, put a o2 mask on and my wife came in and said your doing great the surgery was a success. I was like that impossible because they just wheeled me in, like 5 secs ago. While I was out for approx 5 hours and didn’t even know it! I left the hospital on the 3rd day, I had the da Vinci method which use 5 robot probes in the right side of chest. My doctor was from Chicago. On the second day in the hospital my heart went into a fib, they gave me meds to fix it, it worked. I’m sleeping on the coach upright because I can’t sleep on my left side yet nor the right. I suggest you get a powered recliner. That’s a must. It helped me a lot. Of my incisions healed up nicely but no infection. Be sure to do your deep breathing exercises every day. You will do fine. Remember this is all they do, you don’t, so that’s why your worried. So far so good