Penny’s “Roller Coaster Recovery” Slows Down After Double Heart Valve Repair

I just read in her Heart Valve Journal that Penny McIntosh has seen her recovery get “back on track” after a few post-operative complications including atrial fibrillation and fluid in her lungs. As you may know, Penny had mitral and tricuspid valve repairs and a MAZE procedure performed on February 26, 2010.

Penny McIntosh – Double Heart Valve Repair Patient

Although her experience has been self-described as a “roller coaster”, Penny’s positive attitude is quickly detected in her recent journal entries:

  • “Last Saturday my heart went back to regular rhythm and has stayed except for a brief flip back to atrial fibrillation yesterday.”
  • “I had a minor set back with a bout of pleurisy this week but the antibiotics have sorted that out quickly and my breathing is a lot easier today.”
  • “I did get the all clear to drive from my GP this week but no inclination to go anywhere just yet and with a new SUV I need time to get used to it.”

Penny also took the time to show us what her scar looks like five weeks after surgery.

Penny’s Sternotomy Scar (5-weeks After Surgery)

Like many patients, including me, Penny also experienced some weight loss after surgery. She notes, “My weight has dropped down more than 8 kilograms in 5 weeks but I’m still on fairly high doses of diuretics.”

If you would like to read more about Penny’s heart valve surgery, simply visit Penny’s Heart Valve Journal. Or, if you would like to start your own free Heart Valve Journal, please click here.

Keep on tickin’ Penny!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

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  • Duane Hunt

    Go Penny! Penny is an awesome person, and it’s great to see her recovery back on track and progressing well.


  • Cheryl, Ontario

    I met Penny through the heart valve journals and have been following her journey as she navigated the mine field of valve surgery. This lovely woman oozes optimism and has overcome several obstacles that were put in her way. I’m proud to now call her my friend.

  • Kari

    I just came across this site, thank you! Penny’s scar is not bad at all!! My Mom, who is 80, is facing a mitral valve replacement next week. I am an only child and will be by her side the entire time. She is very scared, nervous, and struggles to breath. I hate to see her like this, and know that a replacement will give her new life. I am trying to find cases of older people that have had successful surgeries. (She developed her condition having had scarlet fever at the age of 7….she is now in congestive heart failure).
    Any one out there that knows of any successful cases in older patients?
    Many thanks, SBKari

  • Cheryl

    Kari, check out Beverly Simmon’s journal on the Heart Valve Journal site. Bev is 84 and is doing extremely well.

  • Dr. Bernard Loewenthal

    Hi Adam,
    Dr. Gillinov performed an AVR & a one vessel by-pass for me on 7/17/09. He is not only, in my opinion one of the world’s finest cardio-thoracic surgeons, but a world class caring person as well!
    He is one of a kind, and the world should be thankful that he is practicing what he does.
    Dr. Bernard Loewenthal

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