Hi, my name is Jim. I am a newbie and this is my first post. I will be 78 years old in December, live in Long Beach, California., married 45 years, father of four, and grandfather of 9. I have been very active all of my adult life: karate, water skiing, bicycling, windsurfing, wake boarding, kite boarding, stair climbing, and going to the gym. Over ten years ago I was referred to Dr. Bret Witter, a cardiologist in Los Alamitos. For years I’ve known I had an enlarged heart and that I had mild valve leakage. About two years ago I was diagnosed with A-fib and have been taking Pradaxa and Digoxin. About a month ago, I had an Echocardiogram, followed by a Trans Esophageal Echo. Dr. Witter said my Mitral regurgitation had moved from moderate level to a more sever level. He was concerned, and said I should be evaluated by a heart surgeon.
I’m retired but still active. No shortness of breath, no fainting. I walk the dogs two to three times a day. I have kite boarded this summer, but my recent back surgery has prevented a more active participation. I regularly stretch and use mild wights. I walk the two flights of stairs in our home just fine, and I feel great.
One of Dr. Witter’s recommendations was Dr. Raj Makkar at Cedars-Sinai. My records were faxed over and last Thursday, October 18, 2018, I had an appointment at C-S for a battery of tests: vitals, a blood draw, an EKG, and an extensive Echo Cardiogram. Another Trans Esophageal Echo, and last but not least a CT Angio Cardiac Valve Scan.
During my interview with an assistant I was given a disclaimer to read and sign. I was being considered for a feasibility study for a new Transcatheter Heart Valve, the Sapien M3, by Edwards Lifesciences. Cedars has performed 10 implants. A total of 30 have been performed.
I’ve spent the weekend reading and learning about what I have, what the Edwards M3 is, and what my options are. During my YouTube searching I found "Advances in Mitral Valve Surgery with Dr. David Adams.” It was very enlightening, and that is what led me to Adam Pick and HeartValveSurgery.com. In the words of Dr. Adams from the webinar, “It’s always better to keep your own valve... rather than replace it.”
I have yet to be given a follow-up appointment to see Dr. Makkar to discuss my case. In the mean time I am searching for options. One option is to see Dr. Alfredo Trento at C-S. Another is Dr. Vaughn Starnes at Keck Medical at USC. And I am sure there are many others.
Right now I’m going to sit back, wait for my appointment and see what the community might say about my situation.