I was in good health, 54 and had an angiogram before my valve repair. I had my surgery at Northwestern/Chicago. They like everything checked and no surprises before or during surgery. My local cardio from another hospital agreed with their checks and balances. Janis Kielbasa
From my experience do not listen to your cardiologist but listen instead to your cardiac surgeon. You are close in my age (I am 40) and you say you are in good shape and healthy. I had my mitral valve repaired with robotic approach and all I had before surgery was CTA. That is more than enough for healthy person. There is no reason why would you have any blockage....In my case it was enough and even to check main arteries and vain, because the way I was connected to the heart-lung machine.
I would say do not worry - surgeon knows what he needs to perform surgery. As example, my cardiologist told me to wait for symptoms and than have my valve replaced because it cannot be repaired!!!!! Surgeon said opposite plus he got it fixed...
Speaking of my newsletter (Brave Hearts) every month I publish a Survivor Story from patients who had surgery at St. Francis Hospital. The latest one, which will be published in July, concerns an oriental man who, like you, had no symptoms. His only reason for getting an angiogram is that his friends, in the same age group, were developing heart disease. Long story, short-- after the angiogram he had to undergo a triple bypass (after getting a second opinion at St. Francis). I guess that's why they call heart disease the silent killer. You get no warning sometimes.
By the way, when you come to NY, if I can be of service just say so. You know I'm retired and have time to transport you, if necessary.
Jeff, if you're coming to NY, I would strongly suggest meeting with doctors in St. Francis Hospital (my hospital). It is the recognized leader in heart surgery in NY State and always makes the US News top hospitals list.
The man to see is either Dr. Shlofmitz or Dr. Robinson. If you need more info, just holler.
wow, I'm in a shock to hear this, but after reading everything you've written, it sounds like you'll be just fine.
I had a melanoma removed from my arm last year. It was shocking to me when I found out I had it, but thankfully It was caught in time, and I'm all good.
Speak to you soon,
I only had the angiogram and it quite clearly showed the arteries were not calcified. They also experimented with an MRI.
The open heart surgery is not a picnic however now I am through to the other side the result is amazing. The difference between you and me is that you are going to be operated on before your body is severely damaged. While the GPs were saying my heart was healthy, "arthritis",chronic fatigue,and dizzy spells meant I had a belief that I was dying and eventually someone would say, " oh yes, we missed that!"
Now I don't have arthritis, I don't have chronic fatigue and I am regaining muscle strength. It's like having a facelift on the inside.
My recommendation to you would be to fit as you possible can be without over stressing your heart. Getting in and out of bed without the use of arms needs some good leg strength. Have a practice. If you can have a shoulder, neck and back massage before the surgery to relax all the muscles too.
What is amazing is the effectiveness of painkillers. It may be a long recovery but we are given a lot of help to get through it. (-:
Last thing - I chose the tissue valve. I am so pleased I did. Life goes on as usual. No special diet, no blood thinners etc.
Jeffery, it's me, Linda again. I will also add that before I decided on Cleveland Clinic for my surgery I also consulted with both Emory and Texas Heart Institute, both highly regarded heart surgical centers and neither of these asked about a CTA. They both stated that if I had not had a catherization, I would need it before surgery. Just thought I would mention that. And these were all surgeons.
Jeffery, I had a catherization. In addition to being able to detect blockages in the coronary arteries, the cath allows for more exact measurement of the valve area. They are also able to measure the pressure gradient from one side to the other when they cross the valve with the catheter. Also, until this November, my caths have always shown my valve area to be larger than the echocardiograms showed. Also my gradient was less with the cath than the echo indicated. I have always been told by my cardiologist that the cath is the gold standard. No one has ever mentioned a CTA to me. I have had CTs of the aorta to measure the dilation. If I had not already had a cath done here, I would have to have one at Cleveland Clinic before my surgery. So I don't know what to tell you about the CTA. I haven't seen anyone else mention this in their journals either. Sorry, wish I could be more helpful. Let me know what you decide.
Still waiting....Linda Dixon
Hi Jeffery, good luck with your CTA and with your appointment with the surgeon. Are you going to New York? I know how you feel about the waiting...my surgery is not scheduled until March 13th and I am so tired of waiting. Wish it were tomorrow. Let us know how your CTA goes and also your meeting with the surgeon.
Hang in there!
Still waiting....Linda Dixon
Keep up the good work brother. Research is the name of the game and you seem to be a master at it. And, keep posting to get even more answers. Wish I could host you in my fair city when you are here, but I will be busy getting a HVR that day. I assume you understand.....
- Mtich Friedman
I do not know if Dr. Gillinov does the Ross Procedure. I know his specialty is valves, so I would imagine he would. I also know they will test you extensively to figure out what type of proceedure is best for you. I also know he prefers tissue valves over mechanical. Your best bet is to just call there. They are very helpful.
I had two valves repaired by Dr. Gillinov last October, and I can tell you he is by far THE kindest, most humble and confident doctor I have ever met ( in addition to being a world class surgeon). He will arrest any fears you may have after meeting and talking with him. The entire staff at CCF is awesome....that place runs like a well oiled machine. It really is amazing. Good luck and God bless you on your journey.
Jeff, I have not met Dr.Gillinov yet, but I plan to on March 12th. I am scheduled for aortic valve replacement on March 13th. I can,however, speak to the efficiency, etc. of the staff at Cleveland Clinic. It is very easy to refer yourself there. Actually Adam sent Dr. Gillinov a note about me and the very next day his staff sent me instructions on sending my records, CD's, etc. for him to review. A couple of weeks later, I got the call with his recommendation for replacement and a surgery date. The information they send is massive and everyone that I have had contact with has been extremely helpful and nice. I don't know how soon you need surgery, like I said, his first available date for me was March 13th, but of course if it were more critical they will get you in. Right now, I really don't have any symptoms...go figure...SEVERE aortic stenosis and no symptoms! Anyway...I have found that the decision making process is difficult and really only one YOU can make. I still have questions about what kind of valve, etc. but I will discuss that with Dr. G. when I meet with him and go from there.
Good luck and let us journal friends know what you decide. Wish I could be more helpful, but I am just starting myself.
I will say, as a medical professional myself...ALWAYS get a second opinion!
Jeff...our stories and age are nearly identical. You have come to a great place here. You are definitely doing the right thing in your research...knowledge is key. Not only with your choices but feeling confident with them. Keep yourself in great shape up until the surgery...it will serve you well, especially in your recovery.
I am nearly 3 months post AVR with aneurysm repair and am doing awesome.
I know this is a hard decision but knowing you-it will be made with every consideration. If you need us for anything please don't hesitate to ask. Even thou we are miles away from each other you are always close to our hearts. You know there is always room for you here if you need it! Even without warning. We love you and of course the rest of your family too.
This journal is a great idea to let us know what steps you are up to in your very tough decision.
I wish only the best for you and I hope you know I Love ya Jiffypop!
I hope I am the first to write. We love you and pray for you and know how healthy and strong you are and know you will make the right decision for you. You will come through the surgery stronger than ever no longer having to worry about a defective congenital heart valve.
hi jeff i was in the same boat young, athletic in good shape, never had health issues. was watchiing the valve for 9 years when the time finally came i had an aeortic biscupid valve and an annerysium. Today is the exact day of my one year anniversary of the surgery. i really feel great to have this behind me. i am back to being the same way i was going into the surgery. i went with a minimally invasive surgery to repiace the valve and repair the annerysium. went with a cow valve and had the surgery at the cleveland clinic.
they say the catheter fed valves are comimg on strong and may be a great solution the next time around I am hoping for 15 years out of this valve. Life is great again and the most difficult part of this surgery is getting your head around the need for it.