At age 5 my parents were suspicious that something was wrong with me (my friends feel that way now!) because my legs fell asleep very quickly when I sat on the floor. They took me to see our family doctor, who diagnosed rheumatic fever. The only treatment in 1962 was sulfa. I didn't get any better and so my parents took me to see another doctor who heard a heart murmur and off I went to Doernbacher Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon, a 6 hour drive from Grants Pass, Oregon.
They diagnosed me with a coarctation of the aorta, and in April 1962 Dr. Albert Starr repaired my aorta by removing the constricted part and sewing the two ends together.
52 years later (and in great health the whole time) I started to experience shortness of breath and mild chest pain. Like most guys, I ignored it until a friend of mine who was a year older than I am died unexpectedly of a heart attack. That scared me and so I went to my family doctor who referred me to a cardiologist. After a the usual tests, echocardiogram, MRI/angiogram, I found out that both my aortic and mitral valves need replacing. The phrase "this isn't my first rodeo" rings very true to me!
I'm scheduled for surgery on June 22 and look forward to communicating with others on this forum.
Fast forward six years and I started to experience shortness of breath again, this time much more pronounced than the first time. If you've gone through this once, you know what's going on. After 6 years both my atrial and mitral cow valves are failing. I was hoping to be in denial for at least 4 or more years.
After meeting with a cardiac surgeon and the valve team at St. Vincent in Portland, they are going to perform a TMVR valve-in-valve procedure first, then a few weeks later a TAVR. Six years ago I rolled the dice thinking the technology will improve to keep me from having to be cracked open again and I won!
Well, not so fast. I'm meeting with a cardiac surgeon on Wednesday because they are very concerned about the placement of the new mitral valve.
Why don't I just have another open heart surgery and replace both valves with mechanical valves? It appears that my aorta has calcification to the point that when they clamp it to put me on bypass there is a risk of a stroke. There is a possibility of cutting out the bad part of putting a mesh tube in place but again it runs the risk of a stroke.
The proverbial rock and a hard place. The adventure continues.
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
My surgery date is:
June 22, 2015
I was diagnosed with:
My surgery was:
Aortic Valve Replacement
Mitral Valve Replacement