Monday will mark 6 months since I had my AVR with a mechanical valve. Jerry's comments are right on. I've found I eat the green leafy veggies, as long as I do it in a consistent manner. I have an drink now and then. My INR checks have been right in range.
As far as shaving goes, I switched to an electric razor. I still use a blade once in a while and take my time when I do. I haven't had any problems with that.
I don't have any restrictions on activities, just to use to a little common sense. I golf, ride a Harley and fly radio controlled helicopters. The RC stuff I'm more aware of what I'm doing when I'm working on the copters, since I could easily cut myself. But again, no problems. I keep a first aid kit in my flight box.
I would suggest having either a bracelet or dog tags, so if something would happen, people will know your on blood thinner if you aren't able to tell them.
I'm 53 and feeling great since my valve was replaced and haven't changed a lot in my life. Just some consistent and aware of things.
Hope this helps some. Good Luck and a smooth surgery and recovery to you. I'll keep an eye to see how your doing.
Steven, I just realized how young you are! I was told that tissue valves last anywhere from 10 to 15 years on average. I do know of at least one person that made it to 20 years. Therefore, at your age, there is the probability of at least 2 more surgeries if you choose tissue over mechanical. Each reoperation apparently is more difficult to perform. Mechanical valves usually last a lifetime and don't have to be replaced. Decisions, Decisions!
Linda Dixon, AVR 3/13/12
I was told that the mechanical valve would probably outlive me.I knew I did not want to plan on a second surgery in my 70's or 80's as would likely be needed if I went with a tissue valve. At your young age-I don't know.... Did the doctors say the Mech. valve would last your lifetime? For you, if & when a new valve might be needed the procedure will likely be a lot easier and less invasive. Although the coumadin is do-able it would be better without it!
Hi Steven, I do not have a mechanical valve, I chose bovine. However, I do have years of experience with coumadin for another heart issue. The biggest concern with the coumadin is keeping your INR at a level that will prevent blot clots on your valve while limiting the chances of hemorrhage. The main thing as far as diet is concerned is to be consistent. In other words, you eat a lot of leafy green veggies now, you can eat them with the coumadin. You just wouldn't want to suddenly start eating large amounts. As with any medication, limited alcohol is suggested, but a little is probably okay. You really have to be careful with dietary supplements, herbs, etc. Most all of them have some effect on clotting, either increasing or decreasing and will mess up your INR. With small cuts like with shaving, it is mainly a nuisance, you will bleed longer on coumadin. The biggest concern is in an accident where you sustain internal injuries. Another thing to consider is that if you need some sort of procedure done such as colonoscopy, etc, you will have to come off the coumadin for a period of time so that you don't bleed. You then have to "start all over" with getting the INR regulated. The thing is...with a mechanical valve you have to be diligent with keeping your INR at a level to prevent clots.
I don't know what your lifestyle is...don't know if you do things like jump out of planes, drive racecars, etc. This would probably be the biggest consideration. I found the "coumadin thing" to be completely doable. I really had no problems with it. That said...I chose the bovine valve. For me, at my current age (63) I felt my chances of falling will increase with age. Also, I realize how diligent I would have to be with the coumadin now and since I am in the "grey area" age wise...I just went with the bovine. Really, I just got tired of thinking about it, lol! I will say...my surgery went so well, it was MUCH less traumatic than I thought it would be...I do not live in dread of reoperation! Good luck with your decision, it is a tough one. Hope this helps a little.
Linda Dixon, AVR 3/13/12
I have the mechanical valve because of my age (56). If I were younger I would have chosen a tissue valve. I am 5 1/2 weeks post-op and I am still adjusting my coumadin levels. I have not had problems with bleeding but my levels are on the low end. (Not good either!) Are you leaning towards a mechanical valve? If so-what are your reasons?
I hope you are able to get the repair. I am new to this so I too am curious as to difference between the 2 replacement options.
Good luck and keep posting. It seems to bring me more comfort to know others are going thru much the same I am.
Hi Steven, you are actually doing the hardest part now...waiting! And that is the truth! I didn't believe it when others told me that...but it really is true. My surgery went very well, I have no bad memories or horror stories to tell...it could not have gone any better. When you wake up and know that it is over...well you might think you are in heaven!! It is such a relief and really not nearly as bad as I had imagined it to be. Just keep a positive attitude, prepare for the worse and expect the best! You will do great!
Just thought I'd offer this thought: have your surgery on May22 instead of June 5th because it's best to avoid surgery around a full moon ....more bleeding at that time.
Anyway, best of luck to you and you'll find alot of support here at this site.
Blessings to you,
Hi Steven - welcome to HJV. You will get a lot of support here. My surgery is scheduled for May 29th at Cleveland Clinic - I am counting the days. I have Mitral reguritation diagnosed at age 31, am now 59. My thoughts and prayers will be with you in the coming weeks. Take care. Densie K
Welcome Steven! I agree with Kelly, this is a great place for information and support. I read it for a while without sharing my story, but finally decided it was time to become known to the public, and I'm glad I did. I had a Mitral Valve Repair 4-25-12 at Mayo Clinic in Rochester with the DaVinci Robotic Repair, everything went well and I'm feeling better every day!
Welcome to HVJ! You will find wonderful support here. I asked questions and got so much great information before my surgery (4/11/12). I am in Leesburg, so not too far from you. I had my surgery done at Inova Fairfax. Best of luck!