Tomorrow is my 4th week ssurgery. I went to the hospital where the surgery was done to have the wound checked out and have my last questions answered. Everything looked great! I can start driving now. I can stop taking baby aspirin 3 months after surgery. I will use up the remaining 13 days of amiodarone and then quit taking those. So I will have no pills to take that I wasn't taking before surgery. I can lift 5 more pounds every two weeks so I can lift 10# starting tomorrow with each arm (I had her clarify this). Therefore using both hands I can lift 20#.
I wondered about my sternotomy because it didn't look like a full one but didn't look like a min-sternotomy either as shown in the photo above. They are usually about 3-1/2" long starting at the top of the chest. Mine is 5-1/2" long and starts lower. I was told that it was a full sternotomy but the surgeon lifted the skin and cut the bone underneath it so there would be no scar showing on the top of my chest. Amazing!
I'm now able to sleep on my stomach. I'm walking as much as I have time for without even breathing hard. I feel great thank the Lord! Good luck Janet and Cindy tomorrow. You can do this. The surgeon will do his job and then you will take over. You will be like new before you know it.
I'm feeling really good. There is still sensitivity on both side of the zipper but not too bad. I had an episode of heart rate variation last Saturday and again on Monday. The surgeon told me to stop the metoprolol. I did and hopefully that did the trick. I saw my cardiologist Wednesday and he did an EKG which looked normal. I'm crossing my fingers. Still taking amiodarone until the pills are gone which is about another 3 weeks and baby aspirin. Does everyone have to take baby aspirin forever? Sleeping great or as great as before surgery. I always have woke up a lot. I can sleep on my side easily now. I'm still thinking about whether I want cardiac rehab. I am very self motivated and hate having to be somewhere at specific times instead of going to the gym on my own schedule. We shall see. I'm still losing a little weight. Down 10# since I got home. I have a great appetite eating full meals so maybe it's all the walking and of course the healing inside that's going on.
I'm very please with the job Dr. Glenn Barnhart did on my heart. I feel good and the wound is healing fast. Good luck to Kristin, Vickie, Ruben, Tamika and Cindy this next week. Like I have said multiple times, it is not as bad as you imagine it. You can do this.
Things continue to improve. I'm going for 1 mile walks a couple times a day as the weather permits. Anything over 80 and I demur. My pedometer says I walk over 3 miles/day. I'm not taking any painkillers. Not even Tylenol so that is good. I see my cardiologist this Wednesday and I'm hopeful he will allow me to stop taking amiodarone and metoprolol. My weight has stabilized about 7# less than when I came home. I'm really surprised it hasn't gone up since I scarfed down a bunch of cinnamon rolls my daughter-in-law made me. I have no problems with appetite. My wound is healing nicely. I am sleeping in our bed now with just two pillows to raise my head a bit. The last two nights I have begun to sleep on my side too. My spirometer reading is almost back to normal with a max of 3500mm but usually closer to 2500 (I topped it out at 4000mm before surgery).
I consider myself very lucky and fortunate so far in my healing (knock on wood). I am constantly God for taking care of me. Good luck to all on this journey.
0ne week after surgery and though my energy level is low and I need lots of breaks, I feel pretty darn good. Taking showers on my own standing up and climbing the 12 step stairs at will. Also doing domestic things like emptying the dishwasher, setting the table and BBQing the pork steaks for dinner. So physically I'm doing great. I've lost about 4# and today I took my last lasix. Still taking amiodarone for my short afib episode in the hospital. No side effects that I can ascertain. Also taking metoprolol. No blood thinners. Taking 4 Tylenols each day and one oxy at bedtime to help me sleep. My back gets so sore from trying to sleep on it all night. Probably will cut back on the Tylenol soon.
Of course the timing of my surgery could have been better. My 97 year old mother-in-law moved to a memory care unit from an assisted living apartment today. My wonderful wife took the truck to start packing her furniture, toiletries, wall hangings, tv, dresser, most of her clothes (she had wayyyy more than she needed), etc etc etc to bring to our house. We were glad that she was able to take her lift chair to her new room. I now have 2 shower chairs I don't need. Anyway, I couldn't tag along as I'd get worn out and there aren't too many items that weigh under 5#.
Okay, I rambled on, live with it. 😉 Good luck Lori with your surgery on Monday. I did it and you can do it. One of the hardest things was talking them into letting me leave the hospital after 4 days. The food there is terrible. Good thing I had no appetite. I slept through the surgery.
I sure am having fun now. Afib at 160 bpm. I didn't even feel the heartbeat change. They put me on fluids, amiodarone, magnesium and who knows what else. This may delay my trip home until Wednesday. At least my drain tube was pulled today so I was able to have a shower. One iv line and the two pacemaker leads are all that are left. I have no appetite but I guess that is normal. I have about 10 lbs of extra fluid so I'm on lasix. It'll all get straightened out. It just takes time and patience.
Yeah!!! I made it to the other side and am doing great. Drugged and thirsty but feeling pretty good. No pain unless you count breathing in deep. I just ordered a snack since I haven't eaten for 24 hours.
The surgeon I saw today does not want me to leave the hospital without getting a new valve so I guess I won't have to go through the worry and anxiety associated with waiting. He said it would be unethical to let me leave. I concurred so surgery is tomorrow morning. I'll get back to you when I can. I got this. I wonder if I will make the surgery board tonight.😉
I met with the interventional cardiologist last Monday to talk about the Partner 3 program and have all my TAVR questions answered. The answers were all as I had expected having researched the crap out of it. Though there was one answer that he gave that surprised me. He said to expect the valve to last between 5 and 10 years. He guessed 8 years. I then had a CT scan with contrast to make sure my arteries and valve were okay for the procedure.
The next day, I told my wife that I was 95% sure that I wanted to go minimally invasive SAVR….a mini-sternotomy if I qualify for it. There were too many TAVR minuses for me to ignore. Being relatively young and healthy, I thought I should hold off on the TAVR until the next go around.
A few days later after phone calls and thru emails I learned that I was not a suitable candidate for TAVR after all because my valve annulus was too large. I felt relieved as that saved me from having to tell them I did not want to be in the trial program. The upshot is I will get a very large valve (lots of good blood flow) and the cardiologist says a valve in valve can be done if needed in the future. Even two of them with the size valve I will need.
I see a surgeon tomorrow and am in the process of setting up an interview with a 2nd surgeon. The journey goes on.
This process is moving on. I have an appointment with a cardiac surgeon and an interventional cardiologist at the University of Washington Medical Center on June 26th. I'll also have a CT scan that day. I believe this will do two things. It will verify that I have a tricuspid aortic valve and that my arteries are large enough to allow a TAVR. If all goes well, I think I can be in the Partner 3 trial for low risk parients and have a 50% chance of a TAVR and a 50% chance of a minimally invasive SAVR. Of course, I have a ton of questions to have answered before I would feel comfortable having a TAVR at my young age. Depending on the answers, I may just skip the trial and opt for the SAVR. We shall see.
I wanted to pass on my angiogram experience today. Everything looked great. Yahoo!! No coronary heart disease so I should be eligible for minimal invasive surgery.
To anyone approaching this procedure, I can say that though time consuming, it really is quite painless with the conscious sedation they use now days. I came out of the sedation for a small period of time (he told me this was going to happen ahead of time) during the procedure so they could make sure my blood was oxygenated sufficiently for other heart tests but it was no big deal. From these tests, my cardiologist afterwards told me my EF, aortic valve opening size and condition of my heart (which he said was good and probably why I have minimal symptoms).
So on to the next step but definitely don't worry about this procedure. For me, I was more concerned about it than I should have been.
I went to another cardiologist yesterday to get a second opinion. I actually liked his answers, explanations, demeanor and overall presentation better than my first cardiologist so he has been hired. Something he brought up has me doing my research again. A TAVR clinical trial on high and intermediate surgical risk patients has been completed. They were called Partner 1 & 2. The results look good but of course the time frame is small. There is also some question about regurgitation which I hope the new Edward Sapien 3 TAVR valve will improve. Also there are concerns about the increased incidence of strokes possibly due to the procedure going thru your artery and breaking things loose. Since the middle of 2016 they have been enlisting low surgical risk patients for a Partner 3 TAVR clinical trial. They need about 1600 patients. If my angiogram scheduled for May 22nd indicates no clogged arteries, I should qualify. Once you qualify, they randomly pick 50% for TAVR and 50% for SAVR. The University of Washington, which I was considering for my surgery, is involved with this study.
Now for my question to you the experts. Assume the TAVR fails in 10-15 years, can I have another TAVR valve put inside it. If not and I would need a SAVR to replace it, I would rather have the SAVR now at my tender age of 65 and the TAVR in 10-15 years when I'm less young. I can't find literature addressing this. I will bring it up to my cardiologist at my angiogram. Any thoughts? 50% chance not to have my chest cracked open sounds really appealing.
Yesterday, after I had an echo a couple weeks ago, my cardiologist says it's time to schedule AVR surgery. My first thought is it is now time to get a second opinion. I started that process today. My wife and I are headed to Spain next month for 3 weeks so that makes it hard to schedule everything in. I've also asked for another echo at a different facility to confirm the LVEF that I got on the last echo (I hate it when I go in for an echo and the tech is looking at the last echo results...my suspicious nature showing). I'm asymptomatic, my left ventricle and atrium have normal size and wall thickness, and my blood pressure and pulse rate are normal. But....my LVEF is below normal at 43-45. I guess I will just visit the Alhambra, stay in a couple Paradors and enjoy life until April.
I have a question. If a contrast CT Scan can be used to detect blocked arteries and some people are getting this procedure for this reason, why should anyone have a coronary angiogram? Does it detect other issues? Is it more reliable? I read somewhere that the CT scan is 96% accurate in predicting if your arteries are clogged. I'd take that anytime.
I know they say the angiogram is the gold standard but is it so much better that it is worth the pain/discomfort/risks that this intrusive procedure requires?
I guess I'm just trying to figure out if it is a money maker for cardiologists or if it a tool for the cardiologist and surgeon which is much more valuable than the CT scan. Anyone have any views. This is me questioning everything as usual.
Since I found out that I will need AVR sometime in the near future, I have been trying to lose weight without losing muscle. I'm not overly heavy but does it make sense to think that the less weight I have to lift out of my recliner/bed the easier it will be? Has anyone been told that less weight would be beneficial for surgery or recovery?
I hope everyone had a great weekend. If you are in recovery, I hope the last two days were days of improvement and hope.
It's funny how thinking about having OHS makes you think about things differently. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about getting things done that need to get done before surgery. Physical things like replacing those rotten boards on the shed door, resetting those loose fence posts in concrete, power washing the driveway, getting an estimate for painting the house. Things you let slide until you realize that time could be short (to surgery). Well, off to the store for a spring hinge to replace the broken one on the door to the garage.
Janea Christensen, I saw that your surgeon was Dr. Glenn Barnhart at Swedish. That is one of the surgeons I was considering along with Dr. Eric Lehr for my aortic valve replacement. Any thoughts about him I can use to make a decision?
This was my first visit to the Cardiologist since he surprised me with my severe aortic stenosis diagnosis three weeks ago. Heck, I didn't know what a heart valve was before then. I was prepared this time with my list of questions and he patiently answered and expounded on all of them. At the top my list was how he would determine when he thought I needed surgery. What factors does he consider. His answer was he uses a combination of the echocardiogram readings and most importantly, when I feel a change to my body that is just not right. It can be subtle but I will know when it is not right and it will then be time. I liked his answer as it shows that he knows I have control over the decision. So far I like the guy. So I will be lurking to pick up some nuggets for a future surgery while still living life to the fullest.
The Advantages of Transradial CatheterizationReaching the Heart through the WristWhen a coronary angiogram was recommended to 47-year-old Nelson Lacap, he sighed as he thought about the discomfort, the risk of complications, and days of hospital confinement.An angiogram, also known as cardiac catheterization, is usually performed to investigate the possibility of blocked coronary arteries. Any catheter placement into a blood vessel is associated with a risk of bleeding. The femoral artery in the groin - near where the leg bends from the hip - is one of the blood vessels Interventional Cardiologists most commonly use to insert a catheter (a flexible tube that is smaller than the vessels) and thread it through the arteries to the heart to perform the angiogram.Nelson was thinking about this traditional approach which makes uses of the femoral site. His doctor, Dr. Michelangelo Sabas, Interventional Cardiologist at The Medical City (TMC), introduced him to the transradial access to cardiac catheterization.Nelson proceeded with his angiogram on July 17, 2014 at the TMC Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab). He arrived at the Cath Lab an hour before his 9 am procedure. The angiogram itself took half an hour.“I wasn’t in there very long,” said Nelson of the procedure. “With it done in the wrist, I could move around immediately. I was out of the Cath Lab before 12 noon,” he added. Nelson said he literally walked off the catheterization table after his angiogram.Dr. Sabas explained that after the transradial procedure, patients can sit up, eat, drink, or even walk without fear of causing bleeding at the access site.“This is helpful especially in patients with chronic back pain or other conditions that may make lying flat difficult,” continued Dr. Sabas. The transradial approach provides a safer alternative to catheterizations – especially for patients with medical conditions which increase bleeding risk such as those who are obese, have peripheral artery disease or are on anticoagulation medicine.Transradial access for catheterization is obtained by puncturing the radial artery at the underside of the wrist using a small needle, through which a fine wire is inserted into the blood vessel to guide the insertion of a small plastic tube called a sheath. The sheath keeps blood from spurting out of the artery and allows other devices to go into the body’s cardiovascular system. From this access site, doctors can perform coronary angiogram (mapping of the heart arteries) and angioplasty or stenting (opening of blocked arteries).At TMC, interventional cardiologists had utilized femoral artery as the preferred route for coronary procedures in the past years. The radial artery default access for angiography and coronary intervention at TMC was started in April 2010 by Dr. Sabas and Dr. Paolo Prado and since then, has become the preferred access for coronary procedures by most of the interventional cardiologists.Dr. Sabas cited the benefits of transradial catheterization, which includes a lower risk of bleeding at the incision site, less risk of major complications that require blood transfusion or surgery, and less hematoma formation after the procedure.A femoral procedure requires patients to lie flat for about six (6) hours while transradial patients can move around and walk to the bathroom after the procedure. The patient just wears a wrist band to control bleeding. He is merely advised to refrain from doing activities that entail flexing the wrist where the procedure was done for the next 24 hours. Early ambulation and early discharge after transradial catheterization make it more attractive than femoral procedure for elderly patients and those patients with back pain, chronic obstructive lung disease, and prostatic hypertrophy.Lowered risk of bleeding, early ambulation and discharge translate to significant savings for the patient. When patients are able to ambulate sooner, nursing costs are also lessened.Procedures such as transradial coronary angiography may actually be done as an outpatient procedure in low-risk patients or those who have no other serious illnesses that require further monitoring in the hospital. The procedure generally takes around 15 to 30 minutes.In the Philippines, TMC is one of the first hospitals to offer transradial catheterization. TMC Cath Lab currently uses transradial access in almost 90% of its coronary procedures. This is the highest percentage, by far, of all the Cardiac Catheterization Labs in the country and matches the leading centers in Europe and Japan.The transradial approach to diagnostic and interventional cardiac procedures at TMC Cath Lab is a testament of the efforts of TMC Cardiovascular Center to further improve quality of patient care by offering new and better options aimed at improving patient safety and comfort, and decreasing procedure costs.For more information about transradial catheterization, you may contact tel. nos. 988-1000 or 988-7000 ext. 6278.–end-
I'm not from New York as my picture might indicate. I'm on the left coast near Seattle. In December my doc discovered I had a heart murmur and scheduled an echocardiogram for me. Much to my surprise, I discovered I already have severe aortic stenosis. Geez...somebody could have given me a warning. My jet velocity is 4.57, gradient is 41, have a valve area less than 1 and I'm asymptomatic. So I've started doing my due diligence and that has led me to here. This looks like a wonderful place to figure out what is going to happen in the near future. Everyone seems so supportive and willing to share the good and the bad. They both are important to know. I'm looking forward to meeting you all. Good luck and prayers to everyone!