It's always been about hearts. Jewelry, a watch, vase, marble paperweight, even a wastebasket. My birthday is on Valentine's Day, and these are some of the things my mother gave me over the years. So to add a BAV to the mix of my heart collection seems normal in a way.
In 1998 (age 43), I had pre-op testing for a major surgery. That physician was the first to detect my heart murmur and was astonished that I wasn't aware of it. I told my then PCP, but she dismissed it.
In 2008 (age 53), I suddenly had shortness of breath climbing the stairs at work. And although it wasn't my BAV, the symptoms mimicked those of a heart problem, so my next PCP ordered testing. It was through that that my BAV was discovered and I started regular checkups/echos with my cardiologist.
In 2018 (age 63), after a few years of on and off symptoms, I felt more fatigue, shortness of breath, some dizziness, etc. It was increasingly affecting my daily activities. In August, my cardiologist said I could wait, but no longer than 6-12 months, to be referred for evaluation. I chose to have the referral immediately so that if I needed surgery, I would hopefully be recovered by the summer when my husband and I travel more. I chose to go to the Cleveland Clinic, which is only 45 minutes from my home.
My cardiologist, doing his job well, was looking at me holistically, and wanted to see if I would qualify for a TAVR with its easier/shorter recovery. I kept reminding him that if my aorta was involved, it would still mean OHS. He'd agree, but wanted to refer me for TAVR nonetheless. The Clinic received my referral and records on September 5, and through several follow-up calls I made, finally December dates for further testing were given.
The cardiac cath showed no blockages, but it was determined that my aorta should be replaced at the same time as my aortic valve. Finally, a conclusion - OHS. Although I asked both the interventionist and the cardio-thoracic surgeon about the Inspiris Resilia valve, they both said that was not the best choice for me and recommended an Edwards-Carpentier valve, plus the Dacron aortic graft.
Surgery is scheduled for January 21, 2019, Martin Luther King Day. Of course, I had to see what heart-related things there are with MLK - after all, it's always been about hearts. From his sermon, "The Drum Major Instinct", preached on February 4, 1968, he said, "You only need a heart full of grace."
I expect surgery to go well, and to make it through recovery, rehab, etc. with the help of God, family, and many friends - both in person and online. This is not a journey to travel alone. Thank you to all for your future encouragement and support. I plan on facing this with God and a heart full of grace.
4.8 cm mid ascending aorta
1.1 cm2 Aortic valve orifice area
48 mmHg Peak gradient (peak velocity = 346.9 cm/s).
30 mmHg Mean gradient
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
My surgery date is:
January 21, 2019
I was diagnosed with:
Bicuspid Aortic Valve
My surgery was:
Aortic Valve Replacement
Aortic Aneurysm Replacement