• 6 replies
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NancyGroover, June 1,  2020  9:06am EST

Valve repair failure

I am a healthy 67 year old. I had an open heart surgery almost three years ago.  repaired mitral valve, maze, and a LAA clip. Now my mitral valve has another tear in it. My surgeon says this is very unusual. Thanks 🤨. My aorta has a moderate leak. I have an appointment with an interventional cardiologists in 2 weeks. I am hoping to avoid another open procedure. Anyone else been down this road. 

6 Replies
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, June 2,  2020  9:41am EST

    I am so sorry that you are having to experience this! It sounds like you have a good relationship and communication with your doctor. I can share the educational materials we have although it sounds like you are asking the right questions of your medical team.  I also want to share the personal stories of our heart valve ambassadors to help inspire you as well. Please know that we are here for you and that you are not alone in this. 

    Best Katie

  • AmbassadorDN
    AmbassadorDN, June 2,  2020  11:18am EST

    Hi, Nancy,

    I'm Debra N, former HV Ambassador, and I have been down a very similar road as you. I have had a total of three heart valve surgeries:  mitral valve repair, tissue valve, and now mechanical. While cases such as ours are rare, they do happen. In my experience, my repair lasted almost ten years before the valve needed replacing, and the tissue valve that basically took the place of my native valve failed within months which meant another surgery 17 months after the tissue valve implantation. (Tissue valves are supposed to last at least 20 years).

    My advice to you is to speak candidly with your surgeon; from what you've written, it seems as if another surgery may be possible for you. If you want to avoid another open-heart procedure, ask your surgeon about less invasive options, such as minimally invasive surgical procedures. No one wants to have heart surgery, obviously, but exploring the best options for your body as you face another possible surgery should be discussed with your surgeon.

    I wish you the best, and I'm sure others will be popping in shortly to offer their words of encouragement and advice.

    Take care, and keep us posted!

    To Heart and Soul Health,


  • KimberlyG
    KimberlyG, June 2,  2020  11:24am EST

    Hi Nancy.  

    Sharing how I cope with my daily health obstacles ( heart valve replacement and three pacemaker surgeries: Eleven year heart valve disease survivor).

    I  rely on my faith in God,  stay connected with my entire medical team: especially when I experience any new symptoms: write in my journal and maintain a positive outlook on life. 

    May your day be filled with love, joy and peace 


    Ambassador Kimberly 



  • AmbassadorB
    AmbassadorB, June 2,  2020  3:44pm EST

    Hi Nancy,

    You're doing the right things!  Your key player, the Cardiologist, is like the football quarterback on the field.  He will know you, be familiar with your records, and know what the best program is to follow.   Perhaps the most important aspect of your program is his experience and knowledge that will enable him to optimally prioritize the next steps.  Place your confidence and trust in his judgment.

      Nancy and Kimberly (preceeding comments) are two wonderful ladies that I am priviledged to know;  that have been where you are, have come through with flying colors and are enjoying a very high quality of life.   And, so will you!

    All the best!

    Ambassador B

  • AmbassadorMR
    AmbassadorMR, June 5,  2020  2:55pm EST

    Hi Nancy,

    While I haven't had to have a re-operation I can certainly relate to your trepidation about the thought of possibly having another open heart surgery. All of us who have been through this process (my aortic valve replacement was in 2012) hope that our valves or repairs will last as long as possible and maybe for the rest of our lives. We all dread the idea of going back into the OR and dealing with another recovery process. I guess it just goes with the turf but it can be very challenging when you get the news that your condition has taken a new turn and another intervention will be needed.

    I strongly suggest that you get a second and even third opinion from the most reputable hospitals and surgeons once a course of treatment is recommended from your current team. This should in no way be seen as a lack of trust in your doctor but instead, just good common sense when you are facing a possible re-operation. Second and third operations carry different and greater risks and it's more important than ever that you educate yourself about your individual condition and the treatments that are being recommended. You mentioned leaflet tears as well as an aortic leak both of which are complcating factors. Getting the best advice that you can from the most experienced cardiology and surgical teams who have a record of excellent outcomes is key.

    The great news is that the technology and procedures continue to evolve and improve at a rapid pace. The centers for research and excellence in heart care are a great place to go for a second or third opinion. I hope this helps and I know all of us here on the support site send our very best encouragment and strength as you continue on your treatment journey back to full and complete heart health.

    With Heart,


  • AmbassadorC
    AmbassadorC, June 7,  2020  10:28am EST

    Hi Nancy, 

    Welcome to the support network.  You have come to the right place, as we are each other's strengh for the journey ahead.  This is best illustrated by my fellow ambassadors who have weighed in with their comments that I definitly can relate to as well as agree with.  While I never had to have a reoperation, I did have an initial open heart surgery to repair a leaking mitral valve.  That in turn lead to many posti surgical complications that I certaintly was not expecting to encounter.  Namely, I had to have an ablation to eradicate atrial flutter/ fib that developed post surgically, all within 4 months of having the open heart  surgery.  It was very frustrating to experience, yet alone thinking to myself  that something else is now "wrong" with me.  With patience and perserverance, and a strong support network of family and friends, I manage to get through it.  That said, I echo the remarks of Ambassador MR in the sense of getting a second and third opinion if needed to fully be comfortable with your diagnosis and plan for repair/replacement.  My surgeon, even after going through a detailed list of questions, encouraged me to do so as well.  From my experience, you have to feel 1001% comfortable with your heart being in the hands of the most capable and most experienced facility.  Secondly, as Ambassador MR mentioned, education is key.  Katie shared with you the Heart Vavle Education center and I would defintily ecourage you to review these resources if you have not already.   For me, most of my fear was of the unknown.  Not having anyone to speak to or share thier experience was terrfiying for me.  Please know that you have the support and encouragement from this community and we welcome you with heart.  Sending you strengh and encouragement during these paritcullarly difficult times.  Keep on fighting with heart, one beat at a time.  

    Ambassador C 


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