Hey Steve. Dropping weight before surgery. Just don't go below normal weight. Low body weight is a well-documented risk factor. Folks who have low body weight may improve odds by putting on a few pounds. I was kind of skinny and I put 5 pounds on the last few weeks before surgery as a buffer. -- DVB
Yes my friend, getting into as good a shape as possible pre surgery will help you in your recovery. I think when you meet with your surgeon, you will find he will badly do whatever you want him to do. He will give you things to consider and then ask you to tell him your decisions. At least that is what a top surgeon will do. Good luck, speak soon.
Hi Steve Your doctor is right. I was over weight and my cardio doctor told me to loose weight eat fresh fruit and vegetables and walk 2 miles a day even in the rain. So thanks to Dr.Oz I joined transformation nation and Weight Watchers. I am happy to say that I have lost 24 pounds and 43 since I moved south in 2009. It has made me feel a lot better about myself. The doctor said it would help in my recovery. I wasnt even allowed to walk the dog or join a fitness center to help. He said to much stress on my heart. So it doesnt hurt to walk. It will help. Until later.
For the long haul
Glad they actually caught the rhythm on paper! Now they know what it is!! I had a electrical problem also...different than yours I think. I had atrial fibrulation and they did a MAZE procedure on me 30 minutes before they did my valve. Same surgery. Although they think it was quite successful, we won't know for 6 months if it worked. Good luck Steve...lots of HVJ friends will be praying for you. Jamie Todor
Hey Steve, sorry to hear that happened to you with the racing heart. Did they tell you what it was, my son was diagnosed this summer with Wollf Parkison White Syndrome, he will be going in this summer for an ablation, he has only had one bad episode but the doctors feel that is enough to just fix it.
I am so glad that your cath went well. I am new to your blog and trying to catch up a bit. The decision is so hard and want to lend support to you. I am not sure that you have come to one yet. I feel for you. I am a Stelzer Ross pt and had my surgery 4 years ago. I have a 5 and 8 year old. I didn't want to face another surgery when they were teens so I chose the Ross. My baby was 15 months old at the time. It was a very very hard decision but for me. Mechanical was just not an option. Since my surgery I have seen so many people on these support pages who are unaffected by the anticoagulation tx. I am happy to see that but it was still never in my thoughts. Anyway, I am thrilled with my choice and once it was made my anxiety level dropped dramatically. If you are considering the Ross, Dr Stelzer is the only doc i would let do it and you live 2 hours away so it's a no brainer. Min invasive at Morristown Medical is great. Dr Brown. Not sure if they are talking min invasive at HUP, but assume they are...if not come up north for a consult with Brown.
Best of luck with this decision...heart hugs and support.
Also, happy to talk if you want more info
I think that thanks to my heavy drinking and drug use the valve lasted so long. Nah - just kidding! Truthfully I have no idea. Is there any research on this topic? That might be a good question for the larger group.
I am just your average suburban Dad - 2 kids, wife, dog etc. Not particularly in shape, a little overweight, diet OK but not exceptionally good. My cardiologist had put me on a statin drug for a few years because there was some research that those could extend the life of these valves. But then I had a bad reaction to the drug and he subsequently told me that the research did not pan out. So I've been off it for a few years.
Again, wishing you the best outcome whichever path you choose.
So glad the cath went well. Glad you are meeting a surgeon. As I said, call me anytime. In the meantime, all of us "valvers" are here for you on HVJ. Keep plugging along, get smart and that will make you ready.
Good luck to you. Let me give you my experience. I was only 33 when I had my bicuspid aortic valve replaced. I chose a bovine tissue valve even though they told me at the time that the life of it would be 8-10 years. I did not want to deal with coumadin. I was a young single active guy. I also figured that if I waited some new technology would come along.
Well the valve actually lasted almost 21 years and I will have a new one put it on April 3rd. I will choose tissue again. For a long time my cardiologist was adamant that I get a mechanical valve the next time around but even he agrees that I handled the tissue one so well it is a good decision. Plus new technology is finally here! Most likely if I need another in 20 years it can be done via a catheter.
Remember that even though managing coumadin has become much easier you are still anti-coagulated. There is a daily bleeding risk even if low. I figured that if I was going to take a risk I would rather it be with a skilled surgeon once every 20 years for 5 hours rather than daily and random.
Also, think about other illnesses you might get in the future. Coumadin interacts with many drugs and if you ever need surgery for something else it is a complicating factor.
Anyway, if I can answer any questions please feel free to contact me. I wish you only the best whatever your choices are.
I still do all my activities that I did before, bike riding with a helmet is the only difference. lol. When I meet with Doc B he ran all the test and said you need this done ASAP. 3 weeks later I was in surgery. He told my wife that when he saw the valve it was so bad that I had less then 3 months left on it. Scary ... I went to this appointment with knowing I wanted a mechanical, and he told me that because of my age that it was the way to go. Tissue valves can last. But the problem is when you are younger (under 55-60) you still can put alot of stress on that valve. You will not want the surgery twice..lol The only thing I can tell you is if you can controll your INR while on the bloodthinner you will be fine. I do not regret anything about my experience. I am happy and healthy and doing things I never could. I have a 10 , 7 and 2 year old . Life is busy and the bloodthinners are never a thought. Keep me posted.. Good Luck
Hey Steven, glad to here you are part of HVJ friends. I had surgery on Feb.6th and I am doing great. I had the same problem that you currently have. My valve was replaced with an On-X Life mechanical valve. It is a life changing experience having to be on blood thinner medication. Currently there is a study being allowed by the FDA for people who have this valve. They are checking to see if blood thinner medication is needed. I think the website is On-X Life Technologies. You also maybe a candidate for home testing for your blood thinning medication. I am waiting for mine to be processed. What ever decision is made, it will be the right one for you. Prayers are with you. Take care.
OK Steve, good luck. If your aorta is at 4.6 that will get replaced too. Join the club. Note that with the Ross, you want only someone who has ALOT of experience with it, doing it. Not some surgeon who has done "some". Stelzer has done more than anyone else in the world presently.
Welcome to the site. I am 11 days away from a mitral valve replacement. Linda Dixon and I will be meeting at Cleveland Clinic. I would never have known about her if it wasent for this site. We will be having our procedures 2 days apart.
You will find so much information here. Just ask anything! You'll get truthful answers and such positive support.
Good luck on your journey. We'll all be with you. Stephanie Cole
The answer to my question at the time was mechanical. It is the way to go. The bloodthiners are not bad. I really did not want to go through the surgery a second time. I am doing great. At 45 you still have a long life ahead of you. You are in great hands at HUP.
We have the same condition and same age. Did you get your ascending aorta checked for dilation/aneurysm? Mine is 4.7cm and needs to be replaced too. I am sure that will be looked at too. Common with bicuspid valve. I am leaving tomorrow for NY for mu surgery Wed. I am getting a Ross Procedure with Dr. Stelzer. Chris Dixon and I have done a massive amount of research on this. Your docs will likely discourage you from this but you need to look at this option as well. Chris and I can give you lots of info (can send you emails etc). Let me know how we can help, we just went through all of this. Chris is in Mt. Sinai recovering and I am right behind him. Best of luck to you and if I can be of help let me know.
Jeff Shebovsky, Orlando, FL
Hey Steven, good luck with the biological vs mechanical decision. I'm only 9 days from surgery and I still don't know what I will have. Everyone has the same questions to ponder, do I want to be on blood thinner and probably never have to have surgery again OR is the blood thinner too much of an issue even if it means having to have surgery again. As I said, I haven't "had the discussion" with my surgeon yet, but I get the feeling he leans more toward the biological valve believing that by the time it would need to be replaced the percutaneous transcatheter method will be perfected and available to everyone. So...I will let you know what my surgeon says, although I am a good bit older than you (63) I am sort of on the borderline between too young and too old, lol.
Glad you're here but I honestly wish you didn't need to be.
I've found that there is no good way to tell people what is going on. No matter how you try to ease into it, you will get the same SHOCKED response. I quit trying to be gentle and just told people in straight up conversation.
My name is Sean Murphy. I had my aortic Valve replaced almost 2 years ago. I had a wonderful doctor at HUP. Dr. Joseph Bavaria. The best doc in Phila. He was named one of the best doc in the USA. He is the reason why I am here today. Let me know if you have any questions.
Yeah, keep leaning on this community for answers, I love it! Chris and Jeff, mention in your first post by Linda, are the two that decided to go Ross with Stelzer.
Your first stop should be to check out the surgeon your cardiologist recommends. However, that should not be your last stop, even if you love the guy. Get other opinions (at least one) and then decide.
P. S. Steven, also you can check the US NEWS and WORLD REPORT hospital rankings. They also rank the surgeons based on various factors. It is a national ranking, so maybe you can get some info there. Google US News and World Report hospital rankings and you will find it.
Hi Steven, have you tried the Surgeon Locator on this site? I did a search for Pennsylvania and there are 2 surgeons listed in the database. Doesn't mean there aren't more, just that these 2 have been added to the database by a patient. One is in Pittsburgh the other in Philadelphia. Good luck in your search.
consider going to NYC to see Dr Stelzer for a Ross. I am not sure if you are a candidate but you are close and the best in the world. www.ps4ross.com (i think). Just to get info about a ross vs mechanical. My 2 cents and massive heart hugs from someone who has been there.
Sincerely, Elizabeth Devaney
Hey Steve, Dont know if this will help or not, but my daughter at age 29 had a valve replacement. She went with St Jude mechanical valve because of her age mostly.But her downfall is, she had to take coumadian for the rest of her life.She is always having to get INR tested and that drives her nuts. On the light side of this is, when she had it done, she could hear herself tick. It kinda bothered her until she got use to it. Now her kids like to check her out. It is a very big decision. Both are good, just talk to people who know, it might help. Good luck to you.
For the long haul
I went tissue valve. When I started, I was set on mechanical because of my relatively young age. Then once I did my research, I changed and went tissue. No right or wrong answer, it is what you feel most comfortable with. Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested.
Hello Tri-State valve brother! I am 47, 4 weeks post op for AVR and root repair. I live in NYC. Check out my HVJ, I have been told it is helpful.
So glad you found this site and started posting. The people here are amazing. The more you put out there, the more you get in return. I know you are pretty far South, but if you decide to check out surgeons in NYC and if I can be helpful to you, please let me know.
Good luck. The journey is a crazy ride. But, we have all been where you are now. We can help, and above all, you can do this. Even if it feels overwhelming at this moment.
Welcome to HVJ. Journaling with the others on this site has really helped me keep my emotions in check. That, in turn has helped me make better decisions.
I hope your aorta remains in good condition. I suggest you discuss with your surgeon the long term aspects of keeping your aorta. Mine is dilated. It will be replaced, root & all. The issue is that people with bicuspid valves tend to be missing a protein that keeps the aorta elastic. I hope you can keep yours. I could probably keep mine, but with mine, there would be a strong chance of needing to have it replaced later - and I only want to do this once.
Good luck with your journey. We're all here to help - as Linda said. If you have a question - post it.
Hi Steven and welcome to HVJ, I am in the same situation as you born with a Bicuspid Aortic Valve and this site has been wonderful, for the first time in my life to talk to so many others with the same problems.
I had my cath done last week and i have an appointment with my cardiologist on March 19 to discuss options.
Best of luck to you and feel free to ask me any questions you like.
Welcome Steven to the HVJ site. Bet you had no idea how many of us "valvers" there are, I know I certainly did not. You will love this site, everyone is very free with their support and encouragement and advice. The recurring theme will be research, research, research; get a second opinion on everything and choose a surgeon who does your particular procedure on a regular, frequent basis. Experience of the surgeon and staff is the key to a successful, event free outcome.
Any question, put them out here. I will be leaving Thursday March 8th for Cleveland Ohio, to the Cleveland Clinic for my aortic valve replacement. I may also have dilated aorta repair, mine is slightly dilated, but not sure about that part yet, will know on March 12th when I actually meet and talk with the surgeon. My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday March 13th. Adam's surgeon database is excellent tool for learning where the experience surgeons are, reading reviews, etc. Living in New Jersey, I assume you have close access to New York City, where there are several excellent surgeons. Check out Mitch Friedman's journal as well as Chris Dixon and Jeffrey Shebovsky's. They have all been to New York for their surgery. Chris is still recuperating, don't think he has been discharged yet and Jeff goes in on Wednesday. They will all have lots of valuable info for you.
Take care, get ready for the ride. I don't know if you have ever had a cath before, but if not, don't worry at all about it. It truly is a piece of cake, the hardest part is lying without raising your leg or head for a couple of hours afterwards. No pain at all involved, just a little needle stick to numb the area, then lay back and watch the show. It is very interesting. But really...nothing to it.
Let us know how everything turns out and keep us posted on you journey.