Good to hear from you Eugene, I have been concerned not hearing any updates from you in a while. Sorry to hear about your complications. If it makes you feel any better, about 10 years ago I had an episode of confusion, not being able to figure out what day it was, etc. It lasted a few minutes and then everything became clearer. My doctor did all sorts of testing and it was determined that I had a small stroke. I also learned that I had a very small PFO, which you may know is a small area where the chambers of the heart did not completely close off from each other (birth defect). It was while waiting for a non-invasive method to close this PFO that the aortic stenosis was diagnosed. I say all this to say...I no longer have any side effects of the stroke, my feet don't want to move sometimes when I get really tired and after several years on coumadin I now only take a full strength aspirin. I pray that your numbness will subside. I know you're right, some may freak out, but I work in a hospital, I know sometimes these things happen.
I had a feeling that something might be going on, I'm just glad you are on the road to recovery. I'm still waiting on my surgery, wish it were tomorrow! But, there is a reason for everything, so I am trying to be patient.
Thank you for answering my post, please keep me informed.
Thank God, Eugene, I was starting to worry a little bit, but didn't know what your plans were for posting after surgery. So glad you are okay, let us hear from you when you are up to it.Yay!!!! So happy!
Eugene, you are a hoot! I just read your entry from last night (1/9) and laughed out loud! I guess by now you are either waiting to go in, are in surgery or have awakened to find that you are a total mess, lol. Hope you wake up and feel that it is totally worth it even if initially a pain. Look forward to hearing "it was a piece of cake"!
Good luck tomorrow. I have replacement surgery jan 31st. Like you i feel fine and workout 3-5 times a week but know irs time to do this so as not to continue to damage my already enlarged left ventricle. We will be fine and im sure better afterwards. Thoughts with you. Take care
I had my surgery (mitral Valve) 5 weeks ago. When you wake up and realize your surgery is over, the weakness you feel is so worth it. don't worry about what sounds like a setback in your strength. You regain your well being in increments. Each day you get stronger. I returned to work today. You will do just fine. I look forward to your after surgery posts.
I had my aortic valve replaced on Oct 10th. For me the anxiety built to a pretty high level the week prior to surgery. I would advise you to do just what you are already doing. Occupy yourself with other activities and talk about it with other people, as you are doing here.
It is a little like walking through a door. The new Eugene is on the other side of that door.
I know exactly what you are feeling as we are having surgery the same day for the same thing. It is hard to relinquish control, according to my Daughter and I think she is right. I am sure we will both be fine and on the "other side" soon. Won't that be great!
Best wishes to you and have a great successful surgery! I will do the same,
You were asking what is helpful to bring to the hospital....a travel pillow! I was so sore I couldn't hold up my own neck and the travel pillow was the only thing that got me to sleep :). The breathing tube...I was really worried too, but don't remember it and they said it came out right after surgery because my breathing was good :)
feel free to ask me any questions, my pulmonary valve was repalced 6 months ago. You are in my thoughts & prayers!
Hi. Wishing you much good. Luck. I just signed up on this forum. Have also been on valve replacement.org. It's quite good too.
My AVR is due feb 9. So I'm right behind you --- in st louis ). In the same age range so eager to hear how u do ! Lol ! Hoping for a mini. The Cath is day before so hoping they don't find anything bad. Still working and exercising ( tho not nearly as much ). & hope I'll be up & ready to go For better years ! Anyway wanted to pop in & wish a fellow Missourian best of luck
You are going to do fine. I only brought the very loose clothes I wore into the hospital, toothbrush and iPad. I think I used the iPad once and was in the gown the whole time. I just wore the same clothes home. I dont recall ever turning on the tv either. Most of my time was spent sleeping, resting, talking to nurses/visitors, walking, breathing, etc.
Breathing tube....I don't even remember it being removed.
Eugene, I am 8 days post op. I brought all that stuff and used non of it. I stayed in hospital gown entire time, only used a robe to cover backside when walking down halls. Bring shampoo, toothbrush/paste, comb, chapstick and something very, very easy and loose to go home in. You will do great. I look forward to your updates. You are in my prayers. Janis Kielbasa
Hi Gene. Breathing tube: my experience was that I was still pretty groggy. I had a TEE once, and that was worse than the breathing tubes seemed. Something to know: you can easily sit up in a hospital bed by hooking your feet under the rails at the end of the bed and doing a sit-up. Or someone can hold your ankles down when you do the sit-up. Once you are sitting free, you can wiggle your feet over the side and slowly stand up. That was a lot less painful for me than what the nurses had me trying. Hey, sorry about the mispost to Pat I left on your blog down a few. Later -- DVB
Hi Pat. Being in good shape means minimal risk for heart surgery and best chances for a rapid, smooth recovery. Get yourself moving as soon as you can after the surgery, it will jump start your recovery by turning on those healing pathways given to you by your ancestors. Not a bad gift from a 4 billion year long unbroken string of winners! All the best to you my man. -- DVB
I am scheduled for a mini sternotomy, but haven't had my heart cath yet.....so as long as none of my coronary vessels have to be bypassed[I guess the standard is 50% or greater] I am having the mini.
I have been very careful all these years with my blood fats and blood pressure meds since my 20's....so at 63 and female, am hoping for the best....but have family history [male side] of coronary artery disease.
Gene, I know in my heart that everything will work out for the best. The surgery may not be easy but you will recover. And when you do, maybe I will bake you a pumpkin pie to take home! =) Sending all my best wishes.
What a wonderful way to start your New Year of 2012! You will read this many times, but.....the weeks & days before are your hardest....the waiting and not knowing. The recovery will surprise you with the feeling of, "Dang, I'm one strong guy!"
Listen to DVB....he's been our inspiration, role model and cheerleader. So have many others from this HVJ site. You will find so much meaning info here.
I will following your journey pre & post op. And, I will keep you in my prayers.
Hi Eugene. I understand completely the reluctance to undergo heart surgery when you are feeling fine. Was the same for me, although I had mitral valve regurgitation (MVR), not aortic stenosis (AS). When I looked into it though, I decided to have surgery sooner rather than later since the outcomes were better with early surgery for asymptomatic MVR patients. If you look at the American College of Cardiologists Guidelines, they have recommendations for asymptomatic AS patients graded as "severe". You can get a copy at:
I'm cutting and pasting their recommendations for when to consider valve surgery for AS, which covers the full range of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Hopefully the formatting isn't too messed up.
3.1.7. Indications for Aortic Valve Replacement
1. AVR is indicated for symptomatic patients with severe AS.* (Level of Evidence: B)
2. AVR is indicated for patients with severe AS* under- going coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). (Level of Evidence: C)
3. AVR is indicated for patients with severe AS* under- going surgery on the aorta or other heart valves. (Level of Evidence: C)
4. AVR is recommended for patients with severe AS* and LV systolic dysfunction (ejection fraction less than 0.50). (Level of Evidence: C)
Class IIa 1. AVR is reasonable for patients with moderate AS* undergoing CABG or surgery on the aorta or other heart valves (see Section 3.7 on combined multiple valve disease and Section 10.4 on AVR in patients undergoing CABG). (Level of Evidence: B)
1. AVR may be considered for asymptomatic patients with severe AS* and abnormal response to exercise (e.g., development of symptoms or asymptomatic hypotension). (Level of Evidence: C)
2. AVR may be considered for adults with severe asymptomatic AS* if there is a high likelihood of rapid progression (age, calcification, and CAD) or if surgery might be delayed at the time of symptom onset. (Level of Evidence: C)
3. AVR may be considered in patients undergoing CABG who have mild AS* when there is evidence, such as moderate to severe valve calcification, that progression may be rapid. (Level of Evidence: C)
4. AVR may be considered for asymptomatic patients with extremely severe AS (aortic valve area less than 0.6 cm2, mean gradient greater than 60 mm Hg, and jet velocity greater than 5.0 m per second) when the patient’s expected operative mortality is 1.0% or less. (Level of Evidence: C)
Class III 1. AVR is not useful for the prevention of sudden death in
asymptomatic patients with AS who have none of the findings listed under the Class IIa/IIb recommendations. (Level of Evidence: B)
On page 8 of the guidelines is a decoder chart that describes what is meant by Class I-III and Levels of Evidence A-C. Basically I-III is graded by decreasing levels of benefit compared to risk, and A-C by decreasing rigor of supporting evidence.
Anyway, I took a copy of these guidelines with when I had my surgical consults and it made for very clear discussions of options and outcomes. You'll want to know some of the numerical measurements like ejection fraction, aortic valve area, mean pressure gradient and jet velocity from your echogram to know what recommendations apply. Be sure to read the text in the guidelines on asymptomatic patients.
Since these guidelines came out there's been a significant amount of research that you can use to quantitatively assess your choices.
I'm not a medical doctor, but I advocate learning as much as possible about the treatment options, risks, and outcomes as possible so you can make as informed a decision as you possible that is right for you. What was right for me was whatever had the lowest risk and had me around in 20 years.
I hope this helps, keep the beat -- DVB
Eugene, happy holidays and enjoy. I had my aortic valve and aortal root replaced in August. I am now 58.
I have been doing cardio rehab the last 2 months plus. In terms of cardio fitness, I am almost back to where I was pre-surgery. I resumed lifting weights after the requisite three month period and was pleasantly surprised with how little strength I had lost.
The surgery is a challenge but you will recover faster than you think.
A couple of tips from my experience. 1) Be prepared for how loud your beating heart sounds post surgery. Perectly normal, but I was sure glad a friend advised me of this pre-surgery. 2) I used a scar treatment bandage for my chest called Mepiform which is silicon based and reduces scar tissue. Medical people have remarked how good my chest scar looks. 3) Make sure they get all the staples out of you before you leave the hospital. They will put staples in the groin are where a drain is used during the surgery, I had to return to the hospital the day after my release to get the staples pulled because they nurses had neglected to pull them. Additionally, i had a piece of staple that lingered on for months and caused an abcess there. It finally popped out one day.
Please feel free to ask me any questions. You will be fine.
Hi Eugene, I wish I could offer more advice, tips, etc., but I am in the same boat as you, waiting. I will also need aortic valve replacement and possible dilated aorta repair. I plan to go to Cleveland Clinic but do not have a date yet. The one piece of advice I would give is to get more than one opinion (that goes for any medical condition) and to research yourself. You obviously have done some of that because you are on this site. Adam is a great guy, a real guy and you can ask him anything and he will reply. He will even help get you in with doctors if you ask. And this journal has been very helpful to me, I spend hours reading the journals of fellow "valvers" and the biggest thing I get out of it is....this really is the hardest part....WAITING! Good luck with your surgery, keep us updated on your progress.
Hi Eugene. I just read your first posting and wanted to offer you a word of encouragement. It has been two weeks since my brother, Steve, had his aortic valve replaced and he is having an amazing recovery. You can read his journal on this website.