THIS MONTH’S PROFESSIONALS

Dr. Latonya Law

Dr. Latonya Law

Family Nurse Practitioner

Dr. Latonya Law is a Family Nurse Practitioner, board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Credentialing Center (AANCC) and licensed by the state of Georgia. She is devoted to the advancement of medicine and contributes by holding memberships to the American Nurses Association, Black Nurses Rock, and Georgia Nurses Association.

Tessa Messinger

Tessa Messinger

Critical Care and Clinical Research

Tessa Messinger Tessa Messinger is an experienced RN whose body of work includes bedside Cardiac ICU nursing, and coordination of patients in cardiovascular trials. She has worked extensively with a multidisciplinary team for management of TAVR and Mitra-Clip patients. Tessa currently works for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) as a Remote Clinical Practice Specialist, Nurse Peer Reviewer.

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This Month’s Questions & Answers

  • Sillyak2006
    Sillyak2006, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "I was diagnosed with HBP in 2015 at 35. Last January I got the flu then pneumonia and was sent to hospital for fluids and electrolytes. My BP got very low, and I was ordered to stop my BP meds. Since them my BP has been normal. Now at 16 months with no problems. Why did this happen? No change in diet or exercise since then. I'm baffled~!"

    A.

    Sounds like a lucky break! I’ve never known the reason for it, but I had seen similar accounts of unrelated illness altering the body’s “normal’. I’ve also seen it go the other way, so I suppose you got lucky. However, I wouldn’t consider yourself totally out of the woods. Keep monitoring your blood pressure on a regular basis, follow up with your physician, and keep working on making healthy habit changes. Thank you, Nurse Tessa

  • Imajeus
    Imajeus, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "I think that I have already asked these questions just on a different condition. I was born with a bicuspid valve that was not found until I was 34 by then the words that were told to me was not severe aortic stenosis it was you have a case of gnarly aortic stenosis I chose the mechanical valve I had an on-x valve. but I still never really got my energy back and my heart palpitations still never really slowed down. Unfortunately I did not understand the importance of the Coumadin everything happened so fast that all I know is I needed to choose mechanical or bio I chose mechanical because I did not want to have another surgery. 4 years later because I did not take my Coumadin the way I was supposed to my valve thrombosed and probably had been for a while I had blood clots in my lungs and had many heart attacks and I don't have normal chest pains so the entire time I was having these I thought I had a cold. Once I was in the hospital and they realize that the dog was thrombosed my stenosis had became worse so I was not approved for the Cath valve replacement to fix the thrombosed valve because I also had to have my aortic replaced with the graft. my heart is one of the smallest hearts that my doctor had ever had to work on before when he got in into the valve he said it was like a confetti of clots they did not believe that I would wake up and if I did that I would be myself at all so I just want to put out there to anyone who has a mechanical valve please take care of your INR and your Coumadin it is so very important. of course I had other factors that contributed to that but my question is I have hit a year now since my aortic valve re replacement and aortic graft replacement and my energy level is still very well I am tired all the time and my heart palpitates a lot which I know is normal with the mechanical valve but it is like almost every 5th beat and sometimes it will palpitate over and over and over before it goes back into a normal rhythm. I have been in congestive heart failure twice luckily the medications have worked wonderful and I get back to normal less fluid build up but I still don't get the energy buildup I have also warned an event monitor and was told that it showed nothing of concern and that's when I was told that it's normal to have palpitations with a mechanical valve keep in mind I had already had a mechanical valve four years prior and my heart still didn't palpitate this much and I know on the event monitor I don't think that I was hitting the button until the event was pretty much done. With this last surgery it was an emergent I really didn't even get a choice as to anyting or time to think about what was even going into my body I don't even know what a life expectancy is for someone with a aortic graft replacement along with a hritik valve re replacement.Basically I guess what I'm getting at with my questions is how long does it take to get your energy back after a surgery like that and although I know palpitations are normal with a mechanical valve how many palpitations is not normal and how can I find out what my life expectancy possibly is because when I asked I get told multiple answers by every different doctor I see every question I ask I get multiple different answers from every doctor I see from my cardiothoracic surgeon to my cardiologist to even my internist. I just last week got to fill with the graft is inside my body and I am scared and terrified I'm a single mother of three who has had to open heart surgeries and should not even be here right now but by the grace of God and the doctors an anesthesiologist and pulmonologist and nurses and everyone who was there to help keep me stable their wonderful hands are why I am here. But I truly live in fear every day of the stroke of a blood clot not knowing if the palpitations are normal not knowing how long this can even last inside me because to me I feel like it's almost a car part and car parts brake and I've already had one break inside of me. So I'm just asking these questions for a little bit of Peace of mind"

    A.

    First of all, I’m so sorry that you’ve been through so much! WOW! What a rollercoaster!
    Whenever I hear of a patient experiencing palpitations that other physicians have brushed off, I strongly recommend seeing an electrophysiologist (EP). They are cardiologists who specialize in the electrical system of the heart. Your palpitations may be your new normal, but I believe an EP doc is really the one who will get to the bottom of what they are, if they are worrisome, and how to treat them. I believe they are the best equipped to explain what it means when a monitor shows “nothing worrisome”, and what that really means. I encourage you to ask for education about your condition, not just reassurance that “Everything is fine” Knowledge is power when it comes to your own health.
    Thank you, Nurse Tessa

  • jthid
    jthid, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "Can diet have an effect on the progression of aortic stenosis?"

    A.

    Unfortunately it cannot.
    What diet and other lifestyle changes CAN do in aortic stenosis, is improve your body’s ability to cope with the stenosis and decrease your symptoms. It is only once your symptoms are severe that most doctors will suggest surgical or other less invasive treatments.
    Thank you, Nurse Tessa

  • MaaMaa
    MaaMaa, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "Just diagnosed with mild left ventricular hypertrophy. My cardiologist wants me to lose weight and lower my blood pressure. Can this diagnosis be managed?"

    A.

    Yes, absolutely. The combination of high blood pressure and elevated weight, increases the stress and work load on your heart, especially the left ventricle. Think of applying pressure on a garden hose, upstream from the hose the pressure rises, and as the pressure rises the hose may strain or stretch. High blood pressure is that pressure downstream from your heart.
    So by lowering your blood pressure and weight, the stress on your heart will decrease. You may not be able to un-do what is already done, but positive changes will slow the progression of the disease.
    Thank you, Nurse Tessa

  • jimphillips
    jimphillips, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "I can not get over my condition,feel trapped. 6 stents over 11 years. 2 in 2007,4 in Feb 2019. Doom and gloom, help please."

    A.

    Doom and gloom” sound like signs of helplessness and hopelessness. The adversity and setbacks you’ve faced over a long period of time might warrant that response but also are likely symptoms of clinical depression. Have you met with your primary care provider to be evaluated and possibly treated for depression? Feeling less depressed won’t cure your heart problems but it will improve the quality of your life and decrease your suffering.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers

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