“Did Ethan Have An Echocardiogram To Check For Bicuspid Aortic Valve?” Asks Cindy
As a follow-up to Wednesday’s post about Northwestern’s Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program, I received an interesting note from Cindy. She writes, “I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and have already had valve replacement surgery. My question is, ‘Do my children need to be worried about inheriting this? Have you had Ethan checked?'”
Ethan, My Son
Following my video interview with Dr. Patrick McCarthy (see below), Robyn and I were motivated to have Ethan, my 3-year old son, checked for all forms of congenital valve defects. As you might imagine, Ethan was not a fan of having an echocardiogram. However, after promising Ethan a new Buzz Lightyear toy, he settled down and let the technician successfully perform the 25-minute test.
The good news… After the exam, we learned that there are no signs of any structural defects in Ethan’s heart. If you are curious, there is a genetic consideration specific to bicuspid aortic valve disease. To learn more, I spoke with Dr. McCarthy about this topic.
During this interview, Dr. McCarthy shared with me, “The data now is that about 1 out of 4 it runs in a family, so about 25%. And 75% therefore, it doesn’t; so it’s not that common. But, when I talk to patients that have a bicuspid aortic valve, I always ask them, ‘Does it run in the family? Does your uncle, brother, or anyone like that have a bicuspid aortic valve?’. It’s pretty common that you find a bicuspid aortic valve, or an aortic aneurism, because the two are related.”
I hope that helps Cindy (and perhaps you) learn a little more about the genetics and echocardiogram testing of children with bicuspid aortic valve parents.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.