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tomohm, September 10,  2020  3:29pm EST

Soon to have heart surgery

I'm 53 years old.  8 months ago I learned during a regular physical that I have a bicuspid valve with an aortic aneurysm.  My doctor sent me to a cardiologist who rans some tests and sent me to a cardio surgeon because of the aneurysm.  At the time my aneurysm measured 5cm and I was told at 5.5cm surgrey would be needed but until such time I needed to be tested every six months.  Two months ago I had my first test and the results showed the aneurysm has now reached 5.1cm.  Now my doctors say I should have the surgrey now to fix the aneurysm.  My surgeon is saying that he recommends repair of the aneurysm now but he also says that he won't be able to tell me if the valve could or should be repaired until I go and check myself into the hospital to have the aneurysm repair.  He said that the day before the surgery they will do another procedure where they will insert a camera inside me to check the condition of the valve and determine what should be done about the bicuspid valve.  He did discussed the possibilities of repairing the valve or replacing it with it with either a mechanical valve or biological valve but as he said... "that is a game-time decision".   I'm now scheduled to go to the hospital on Nov 9 but the surgery is set for Nov 10.  As I understand, I will go through this procedure on the 9th that will determine wether I need to fix and/or replace the valve.  Seems like I'll have very little time to consume the information he provides me on the 9th just to have surgery on the 10th.  But I have done a lot of research about the topic of valve repair and valve replacement so hopefully I will be ready to make this decison when ready.  If I need to replace the valve I will choose the inspire biological valve.  Though it does sound odd to me that I don't know whether I will have valve surgrey until the day before I have the surgrey to fix the aneurysm.  But I have choosen the best cardio hospital in my state with the chief surgeon doing the process so I have faith in my doctors.  

4 Replies
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, September 11,  2020  8:58am EST

    " I have chosen the best cardio hospital in my state with the chief surgeon doing the process so I have faith in my doctors. " I love this statement. It truly is the best course of action to take. At some point, we all have to have faith in our medical team :) . I can share the resources we have on heart valve treatment and surgeries if that is helpful for you. And I look forward to reading what our other members can share in terms of personal experiences as well. 

    Have a great Friday, Best Katie

  • AmbassadorR
    AmbassadorR, September 11,  2020  3:04pm EST

    Hi Tomohm,

    Heart Surgery can be a scary experience, but for me, I took comfort in knowing that this type of surgery, was performed regularly around the country and the world. I also had surgery for an aneurysm, and had an aortic valve replacement, plus several bypasses and a Maze procedure for Afib. I recovered well and was back doing my regular fitness routines a few months later, including walking a couple of hundred miles across France six months after surgery. I was 61 at the time of my surgery and relatively healthy and fit. That makes a big difference.

    I had a tissue valve replace my old valve. I knew going in what procedures were going to occur, but I have since learned that we are all different. The medical care we require can change from person to person. What works for one person may not be the best for another. The science of heart surgery is abundant with information. These days the number of surgeries are much more common than I ever would have imagined. Having a good facility and surgeon should provide a lot of comfort for you. I also had a very good surgeon and that made me feel comfortable going into surgery.

    As you get closer to the surgery date you'll know more about what will be going on and perhaps how the decisions are being made. I would recommend you have all your questioned answered prior to going in so you are comfortable with everything. Sounds like you have a good medical team who would gladly answer all your questions. Keep us posted.



  • AmbassadorB
    AmbassadorB, September 11,  2020  7:49pm EST


    I am one of the heart valve patients that has an appreciatiion of your current status and the questions that you are currently facing.   I suspect that only a very few have proceeded with the program recommended for them and not come through the experience with a: "Whew!  I'm so glad that I did this!"  Take a look at the key points:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1.   Hospital status?   (Care for the patient, availability of the latest equipment, reputation.)   Your assessment:    "Best Cardio Hospital in the State!"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2.  Doctor qualification?     Your assessment:  "  - -   chief surgeon doing the process so I have faith in my doctors."    Clearly, his experience, training and involvement - validates your thinking.   None better!                                                                                                                                                                                        3.   Age factor:   You're in the "younger" population.  Overall ability to come through with Colors Flyiing  -  Excellent!    I was 30 years older.                                    4.   General Health:   Clearly there are no other health factors that would suggest added risk.                                                                                                            5.   Wait - for whatever reason(s)?    Your aneurysm has grown and waiting for repair is not an option!   You have a suggested plan on evaluation and repair/replacement of the bicuspid valve.   Your surgical team is "on the ball" and has outlined  the best plan for further work.  Tomohm - don't delay.   You will be impressed at the overall improvement in the quality of your life - following the procedure(s).

                                  Good Luck!    Stay the course!     As Ray has suggested, keep us posted and don't hesitate to ask us any question about our cardio experience.

    Ambassador B       Bernie




  • AmbassadorC
    AmbassadorC, September 12,  2020  5:02am EST

    Welcome Tomohm to the support network as you are among a community of heart warriors. We are many hearts but one, as we are each other's strength for the journey ahead. I echo the remarks and insights shared by my fellow Ambassadors. I have found that based on my journey, having done the research and homework on your cardiologist and surgeon is key to lessening the upcoming anxiety you are facing. Putting your heart in the hands of your team is crucial and you must feel 100% comfortable with your decision, and it sounds like you have done just that. The next step is to continue your open dialogue with surgeon. Do not be afraid to ask follow up questions. When I had a repair to my mitral valve, my surgeon recommended to me the possibility that the repair may in fact have to be a replacement but he wouldn't know until he fully "got in" to see in real time what condition the valve was in. Having said that, I had to decide prior to going in to surgery that if I needed a replacement which would I choose? Tissue or mechanical? I had to weigh the pros and cons of each, based on my lifestyle. The way it was explained to me is that while the TEE test, (see TEE) can provide information to the surgeons before surgery, it's only a road map. The true indicator is when you are under and the surgeon can see in real time the state of your heart. While this is not to be construed as medical advice, it is something that sounds as if your surgeon is preparing you now in advance for, so that you may do your research ahead of the procedure. From my experience, you will find that you must in fact be your own advocate. Don't hesitate to get a list of follow up questions to discuss in advance of your surgery date. I'm happy to share with you my questions that I had for my surgeon re my mitral valve, if you would like. 

    While it is perfectly normal to feel anxiety and apprehension in advance of surgery, know that we welcome you with heart❣️ Please continue to keep us informed or if you have additional questions. We are each other's strength for the journey. 

    Ambassador C 

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