My name is Tyler and I am a 31 year old musician/environmentalist/runner that lives in South Philadelphia, that was also recently diagnosed with a unicuspid aortic valve and a slight aneurysm of my aorta. It had certainly turned my life upside down trying to wrap my head around preparing for surgery at Jefferson Hospital on February 1st 2022.
At birth it was discovered that I had a murmur and I was told that I had a bicuspid valve. Since then I have gotten an annual Echo/EKG for the majority of my life. Not happy to admit it, but I got a bit lazy with the tests/appointments through my late 20's and have had some issues with insurance through the years, but thankfully was able to find a new cardiologist with the help of PA state insurance this past fall.
In October 2021, I received a CT scan, Echo, and EKG, that were requested by Dr. Sheth at the Heart Center of Philadelphia. He then informed me that it was time to have my first surgery consultation because of the severity of the leak and that my aorta was over 40mm.
Even if I knew that I would eventually have to get surgery, this all came to big a surprise to me because I am still young (ish), I run almost 5 miles a day, have eaten a mainly vegetarian diet for several years, and really haven't had any symptoms as far as I know.
Within the next week, I had my first consultation (and soon to be surgeon) with Dr. Thomas Sloane Guy at Jefferson Hospital. We went over the many different options, but overall concluded that he felt surgery was the best idea as a good preventive measure while I am in good health.
In not wanting to make any on the spot decisions, I requested additional tests (TEE and CTA's), as well as requesting to set up a second consultation with another surgeon. In the following weeks, I was able to successfully get the tests done, but due to more insurance frustrations, it proved to be difficult to set up a second consultation. So I felt that the next best option was to at least meet with Dr. Guy again to go over the new test results.
Surprisingly, it was after these additional tests that I found out that I had a Unicuspid valve and not a bicuspid. Because of this, it narrowed down my options for surgery and it was then that he doubled down on the suggestion to get the procedure done within the next few months.
I couldn't help but to still feel some doubt since I had only met with one surgeon, so in January (a month before the scheduled operation), I met with Dr. Singer at Einstein Montgomery. I felt much more confident in this consultation because the initial ones with Dr. Guy was such a wave of information, that it was hard not to just shut down as a defense mechanism. I brought my images from my tests in the months prior, so he could be fully in the know, but I did not tell him the verdicts, so he could come to an unbiased resolution. Dr. Singer also recommended the same procedure, and said that it would be a risk to let it go for even another few years.
With two consultations, several tests, much personal research (including this site), lots of coordinating with work, family, and loved ones, I went through with my surgery.
They performed sternotomy, mechanical aortic valve replacement, replaced my ascending aorta with a synthetic material, as well as my aortic root.
I was in Jefferson Hospital from Tuesday, Feb 1st till the afternoon of Monday Feb 7th.
As I am writing this, I am only 10 days out of surgery, and everything still feels very much so fresh. Looking forward to sharing more of my healing journey and thanks for reading <3
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
My surgery date is:
February 1, 2022
I was diagnosed with:
Bicuspid Aortic Valve
My surgery was:
Aortic Valve Replacement
Aortic Valve Repair
Aortic Aneurysm Replacement