Dispelling The Patient Fear Of Heart Valve Surgery!
As a former, double heart valve surgery patient, I can imagine what you may be going through right now. I can imagine that you may be confused. I can imagine that you may be nervous.
I can also imagine that you are experiencing a unique type of fear that you have never felt before. Lastly, I can also imagine that several questions are racing through your mind... perhaps keeping you up in the middle of the night.
So you know, you're not alone. When I learned that I needed aortic and pulmonary valve replacements, I asked myself a series of questions over and over and over again. Those questions were:
- "Why me?"
- "Do I really need to have valve replacement surgery?"
- "Will I ever be the same again?"
- "How painful will the operation be?"
- And, of course, I asked the biggest question of all, "AM I GOING TO DIE?"
While I could continue this endless list of questions, I am not going to. Don’t worry. There will be a time and place to ask those questions. But, this is not that time. And, this is not the place.
Instead, I want to spend the opening of this book on a warm, positive note. I want to give you some medical assurances. I want to let you know that you are in good hands. And, I want to let you know that if I can survive a double heart valve replacement procedure, so can you!
How To Dispell The Fear Of Heart Surgery?
Let me start by providing you with a few, well-documented facts about heart valve repairs and valve replacements.
Fact #1 and #2– Each year over 700,000 heart surgeries take place across the world. Of those surgeries, more than 250,000 are valve repairs and valve replacements.
So what does that tell you? First, it tells you that you are not alone. There are many, many, many people out there that are just like you! So, don’t feel like you are alone. Support groups and cardiac rehab centers are waiting to support you before, during or after the heart valve replacement or repair.
Second, I share this fact because it should make you feel better about the medical procedure that awaits you. Whichever procedure you choose, please know that you are not the first one to ‘test’ it out. The odds are pretty high that your medical staff has performed this operation not once but hundreds of times.
Fact #3– The mortality rate for heart valve surgery is about 1.7%, according to The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
That’s right. I did just provide you with the real big truth about heart valve surgery. Now, it’s your turn to process the mortality rate for operations like aortic valve replacement and mitral valve repair.
Before you do that, however, you need to consider that the mortality rate has dropped significantly during the past twenty years. At some clinics, including The Cleveland Clinic, the mortality rate is below 1.7%.
And... Wait Some More!!!
You should also know that select cardiac centers reported 0% mortality for certain valvular procedures. For example, in 2009, The Cleveland Clinic reported zero percent hospital mortality following 256 minimally invasive, mitral valve surgeries.
Feeling Better About Heart Valve Surgery? Great!
It is true and unfortunate that a very, very, very small percentage of patients do not make it through the surgery. But, as they say, "Life is risk!" From the moment you wake up in the morning, you are in a risky situation. Just consider the act of driving. I don’t know about you but I live in Los Angeles. The drivers here are crazy!!! At least once a week I yell out to someone, “What are you trying to kill me???!!!”
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.