There is nothing easy or fun about being diagnosed with moderate or severe heart valve disease. The thought of having heart surgery can be incredibly scary for patients.
Feelings of fear, confusion and doubt are all common among patients. In addition, the emotion of loneliness is often experienced by patients.
While these feelings are justified – given the often misunderstood facts heart surgery – the odds of a successful surgery are significantly in your favor.
Consider that the average mortality rate of heart valve surgery, according to The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is only 1.7 percent. It is tragic that some patients do not live through the surgery. However, the good news is that 98.3 percent go on to lead healthy, regular lives.
To learn more, please read "Dispelling the fear of heart valve surgery".
When diagnosed with heart valve disease, some patients hesitate to share the valvular disorder with their friends and family. Often times, patients do not want to "burden" or "bother" them with the news.
Research suggests this can be a fundamental pitfall for patients desiring a positive surgical experience and outcome. That said, we encourage you to share your diagnosis with those who will ultimately become your support group during this surgical process.
As you will learn, there may be times when you need the support of those around you – to help you get dressed, to help you take showers, to help you get in-and-out of bed. You may also need your friends and family for emotional support as your experience unique and foreign emotions relative to this experience.
Even if you are not a disciple of Oprah or Dr. Phil, we encourage you to talk openly with your family and friends. We also encourage you to work with your support group to plan your recovery well in advance of the actual operation.
For more, please see the "Importance of Support Groups".
It's been said that "knowledge is power". We think you will find that there is a lot of truth to that statement as you evaluate the severity of your diagnosis, your heart valve disease and your potential treatment options.
As most heart valve surgery procedures are scheduled (and not emergency operations), patients typically have time to learn about their illness and the procedures needed to treat it.
Since 2006, this website has developed several online tools and resources to help you learn about the proper care of heart valve disorders, your treatment options, your potential surgeons and more.
Since 2006, we have spoke with thousands of patients about treatment and recovery timelines. Throughout each of those interviews, we continue to learn that each patient is unique, that each patient heals at different rates, and that each patient feels "recovered" at different times.
For this reason, we remind patients to focus on their own healing as opposed to general statements about timelines. Again, each patient is unique.
That said, we continue to be asked two fundamental questions:
Each year, over 250,000 heart valve surgeries are performed around the world. Nothing is more touching and inspiring than reading the success stories of heart valve surgery patients who not only survive surgery but thrive after surgery.
To see many patient success stories from this HeartValveSurgery.com community, please click here.