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mkirschmann, January 7,  2019  12:36pm EST


Good Morning! Last month I discovered that I have a BAV with a sever leak as well as a thoracic aortic aneurysm that is 4.2 cm. During this time it also came out that I have had the BAV since birth, but no one told me, nor did I grow up visiting cardiologist. My first appointment with a cardiologist is scheduled to be on January 14th and I have so many questions. My hope is to learn as much as possible so I can prepare for what sounds like an inevitable surgery. I want my body to be in the best possible shape. I am 33 years old weigh 140 and live a moderately active life. The past month has been so overwhelming as I wait for this next appointment. 

How did any of you prepare yourself physically for surgery? 

3 Replies
  • THoMC
    THoMC, January 7,  2019  11:56pm EST

    I had the exact same thing. Birchwood aortic valve is usually not discovered until it calcifies, at a faster rate than a normal valve. Stenosis sets in, which is a narrowing of the valve flow rate. Then the heart starts to work harder to push blood through and long term this can cause distortion of that side of the heart.

    I would not worry. It is easily treatable although the surgery is nasty to recover from and there is a very small risk of death.

    Everyone's heart over time gets a bit worn out.


    I am not an expert. For myself, I chose a heart surgeon with a good ratings. Most important, I had my surgery that did lots of heart valve surgeries and rated well for it. It is a team effort.  The surgeon happened to be especially good at aortic aneurismaneurisms too and fixed them both in the same surgery. His name was Dr Judah Askew. 


    I waited around two years before having the surgery. It has not progressed enough. I had few symptoms 


    Then I had an onset of serious symptoms. An echo showed that it was time. 


    It is not good to get it fixed too soon. The valve has a life expectancy. Symptoms cannstaynstable for a long time. Hey the longelongerr you go if symptoms start getting worse, the chance of sudden death increases.


    A heart that begins to get deformed can go into rapid heart rate and suddenly stopping. That symptom is  finally what happened more frequently.

    One day I went to the gym and lifted weights on my legs. My heart went into a wildwildly fast heart beat and would not stop. That is because my heart was unable to supply enough blood to those large leg muscles. It is the beginning of heart failure.

    I also felt kinda sick at times and a pain.I

    The risk at that point is a sudden heart stoppage from a malfunctioning heart.

    So it was time for the surgery.

    I exercised  on a treadmill before in the weeks before slow and steady.

    Do Not cause a sharp increase in heart rate.


    Be in good health..


    I have myself positive thoughts before laying in the table and after in recivery, that it would  go well. The next day is critical care. It is so bad. The first  two days are bad. Then the first week. After about five weeks it is much better. Take it real easy the first two weeks follow directions. Move around as ordered.


    I was back to normal in about two months. I may be an exception. I have stayed fit.


    Know the facts. Relax. Be responsible. Make smart decisions. There will be risks. Go through them and live a normal lifespan. Value today.


    Be present. Live in the now. Do not worry. Great care  now exists. 

  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, January 9,  2019  9:08am EST

    Good morning, thank you so much for sharing what is happening in your world. I can provide the information we have on heart valve treatments for you as well. Please let us know how things go and what we can do to help you. Best Katie 

  • BL1970
    BL1970, January 10,  2019  11:24am EST

    Dear Katie,

    Hi, my name is Ken. I can certainly understand your fear. I am a child adult survivor of three open heart surgeries, the first one in 1968 when I was 11 years old. At this time I receved no counseling, emotional support before, during and after surgery. I have suffered long term emotional situations for the lack of this. I was born with aortic stenosis and have a prosthetic valve.

    So Katie, first let me give you some support. Yes, you face some some difficult procedures, however, there have been stellar achivements in the science of heart-related surgeries. Back in 1968, (yes the dinosaurs were gone by then-I alway get asked this,) such surgeries as yours were not an option. There just were no advances at this time. I am glad they are there for you.

    Also, now that I finally have had intense therapy around the traumas involved in such surgery, I have become an advocate for patients to get ALL the information they can from your doctors, surgeon, etc., that you can. There is no such thing as a dumb question.  This includes emotional support, what to expect during and after surgery, what recovery looks like and your future.

    Needless to say, I think you will do very well. It is a big deal; after all, it is life changing, in a good way.

    And by the way, even way back then, the surgery itself did not hurt.

    Please stay in touch fellow zipper club member to be. It is good for you to share your story.

    With all my heart



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