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Hey Robert, I had my aortic valve replaced 2-6-12 with the on-x mechanical valve. I was not to fond of taking blood thinner medication. Since my surgery I have not looked back. I am very active and have not had any problems with the blood thinner meds. I have a home monitor machine that records my INR levels and if changes need to be made the clinic adjusts my medication. I am very active and work full time. There is currently an FDA study being done with patients who have the on-x mechanical valve. Go to ON-X Life Technologies website. It gives alot of information about tissue and mechanical valves. Take care and God Bless.
Thanks for everyone's input. After talking to two surgeons, my cardiologist, a warfarin specialist pharmacist, and a valve company representative- all say the mechanical valve is the way to go. My research suggests better blood thinners are in the pipeline. I've got till Tuesday to decide, but maybe I should listen to all the experts.
I had my avr done three years ago at the same age as you are. I had ascending aorta replaced with a Dacron graft and one bypass to go with my new Carbometics mechanical valve. I am an avid triathlete and runner. Twelve years ago I lost 100 lbs before my sons wedding and staying very active allows me to eat what I want. My doctors told me a tissue valve would not hold up for my active life style. I am on coumidin and myinsurancecompany provided me with my own tester and I test my blood once a week. I farm full time also and bang my self up all the time. Bleeding is not a problem at all. I do seem to take longer to heal scrapes and cuts but that may be age also. I still like green leafy vegetables and my coumidin clinic I report to works with me to set the dosage for what I eat. After three years I realize what changes my INR. Exercise, diet, activity level etc. I record my test each week and write notes for future reference. I have had to convert to lovenox injections once for a medical test and it was no big thing. Open heart surgery was the biggest a$$ kicking I have ever had in my life with a one year time for full recovery. No way would I want a do over with a tissue valve. I felt I had a very successful recovery also. I started cardiac rehab two weeks after surgery. I walked a 5k race one month later and ran a five mile race three months later and did my first marathon fourteen months after surgery. I just left it up to my doctors at Mayo clinic as to what valve to get and am very happy with that decision. From everything I have read about coumidin on this site and every place else I think the biggest fear is fear itself.
Adam used to have my story on this site until he redid the website.
Good luck, and don't worry about coumidin, I would go with the mechanical valve.
I had AVR (tissue) in May of this year. I am 67. My selection of tissue was based on three points. (1)The quoted expectancy keeps moving based on experience, and the curve is definitely good. In the 4 months before my AVR the "expectancy" increased 6 months. That's because the med community is quoting history, while simultaneously accepting new, improved models of the tissue valve. Confusing, but basically means that as results come back "good," your projected expectancy increases.
(2) In the event of a re-op, the chances of OHS as we know it now border on zilch. TEE procedures and that type mean that re-op, if any, won't duplicate today's procedures.
(3) Blood thinners and the mechanical... sounds to me like you have that one under control.
In summary, bet on the future, and the progress it brings.
hi robert,I am same age as you and will be getting surgery next year for same valve. like you I dont want to take blood thinning medications for rest of my life. What valve have you decided to go for. I was wondering about cows valve as its lasts 25 years and is the one robin williams got and he was same age.My cardiologists says mechanical one but that was before I got more information on internet about the cows one. Good luck and you will have a better quality of life after you have it replaced. You are in my prayers.
Hi Robert, Welcome to HVJ. You will find a lot of help here and a lot of friends that become family. If it helps my daughter at age 29 had a St Jude valve put in 3 years ago. She has 3 very active kids. She is doing just fine but does have to take coumadian for the rest of her life. Her valve will last foever and she does everything like carrying a 4 year old up a steep hill as I am just trying to make it. Now I will be getting a cow valve probably next month sometime, will know tomorrow, so we are in this race together. He told me my cow valve will last up to 25 years but I am also 65 years old. Cow valves are better than the other ones. I have the same as you but also with a thoriac anuersym of the ascending aorta.
I will be following you and you know what? We can do this together. even though we are on the oppisite side of the states. Good luck to you and I will be keeping you in my prayers. So cheers up.
Mooving on up
"Mechanical valves are effective but can increase the incidence of blood clots. To prevent blood clots from forming, the patient will need to take drugs that prevent abnormal blood clotting (anticoagulants). The valves made partly from a pigs heart do not have as great a risk of blood clots but don't last as long as fully mechanical valves. If a valve wears out, it must be replaced again."
Not an easy choice, but Hopefully your surgeon/ consult and can help guide you with the decision,