My cardiac adventure started in February 2001 when I was diagnosed with paroxysmal afib. I was very symptomatic with low energy, disturbed sleep, etc. So I Iooked at treatment options.
Quickly deciding against medication I visited the Mayo clinic to discuss catheter ablation. Back then the guys at Mayo were flying blind, no probe tracking, no 3d models, nothing but a fluoroscope so I ruled that out.
Finally I contacted Dr. Cox, father of the MAZE procedure, and subsequently had a full open chest MAZE in August 2001. A few days post-surgery I was permanently back in sinus rhythm. There was a downside. I like to run and soon discovered that post MAZE I felt like I was running with the brakes on – it just felt like much more of an effort. I put this down to recovery but after 18 months it was obvious that something wasn’t right. After a bunch of tests it turned out that I was chronotropically incompetent – my heart rate would not rise above 120 bpm, and that I had a right bundle branch block. So the best option looked like having a rate responsive pacemaker installed. This would monitor my motion and my breathing rate to estimate my exertion level and then kick-in when my natural heart rate failed to track my exertion level. Because of my right bundle block my EP recommended a dual chamber pacemaker which meant having a pacing wire through my tricuspid valve. Even then I questioned the wisdom of doing that but was assured that it wouldn’t cause any problems – some of you guys can guess what’s coming next.
So cutting a long story short, things went well until 2017 when I started to have exercise tolerance problems again. Just a year earlier I’d been running 5 miles every other day and in fall 2016 we’d hiked Observation Point in Zion (that’s the one where you look down on Angel’s Landing).
I started to have afib episodes and at the end of June 2017 went into permanent afib. An echo test showed severe tricuspid regurgitation as well as leaky mitral and aortic valves. My right heart is very dilated and I’m having some right heart failure symptoms (swelling lower extremities, etc.).
So I visited Dr. McCarthy and his team in Chicago, he rated my tricuspid regurgitation at 4.5 out of 4, and we decided on surgery. He’ll repair my tricuspid and probably my mitral valve; he may repair / replace my aortic valve. He’ll also revise my MAZE procedure, move my ventricular pacing lead to the outside of my heart, and close my atrial appendage. Should be an interesting day. Since I’m now 66 I’ll definitely go for biologic replacement valves if any are needed.
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
My surgery date is:
October 19, 2017
I was diagnosed with:
My surgery was:
Aortic Valve Repair
Mitral Valve Repair
Tricuspid Valve Repair