This Heart Valve website is like a FaceBook for valve people. It's crazy addictive! In a good way. Making great friends here and I love the camaraderie. Thanks to all those who write. What a great thing Adam has created here.
Thanks to all of you who wrote back. Some had cath and some had CTA. I have decided after feedback from fellow "valvers" (is that a term?), and doing some research and speaking with a radiologist friend, that I am fine with the CTA. Also, my surgeon recommended this and when I told him I decided on doing this test he said he was "happy to hear that". So, that will be next Tues.
If anyone out there can help, I have a little dilemma. My surgeon recommends a CTA (CT Angiogram) to check my coronary arteries before surgery, however my cardiologist recommends a cardiac catheterization. Can anyone speak to what they were recommended prior to their surgery? From what I gather CTA is very accurate, however according to my cardiologist if there is a “new lesion” that is not yet calcified, it may not show up on a CTA whereas it would on a cardiac catheterization. I am 45 years of age and the surgeon says usually in that age group we are fine with the CTA, since I'm not high risk for blockage. I should also note I am in excellent overall general health other than a bicuspid aortic valve. I just want to be sure we don't miss anything like a blocked coronary or partially blocked coronary that could have been corrected during the valve surgery at the same time.
Well, I'm going to get a CTA done. That is, a CT Angiogram, to check my coronary arteries. They'll be looking for any blockages. The reason this is done is because while they are in there fixing my valve, if there are any blocked arteries, they can repair that at the same time. I will get this done in the next week or so. I've already sent the CD's of my latest echocardiogram and CT scan of my aorta for the surgeon to look at. As mentioned before, I'll be up there with February 2nd to meet with him and will schedule surgery after that, assuming all goes well at that meeting. I've already checked on available dates for surgery through February and March. At this point, I want to get this done and get it over with so I can move on with my life. Trying to "time" open-heart surgery and subsequent recovery is certainly not the easiest thing. Luckily, I'm asymptomatic and have the luxury of planning when I want this done. With a busy life of work, kids, planned vacations, and so many events and so forth, it is certainly a challenge to find the right time. Of course, health comes first, especially something as monumental as this.
Glad I joined this website and started my journal. I have already had a few great conversations with some great people. Thank you! I just heard from a gentleman who has the Ross Procedure done by Dr. Stelzer and is doing great. He had it done 5 years ago, and 4 months post surgery he ran a 10K. Prior to that he could not walk even a few blocks without being short of breath. And of course, Adam, who runs this website had his 'Ross" done 6 years ago and is also doing very well. All that being said, I am still thinking of meeting with Dr. Gillinov at CC. I hear great things about him. Fact is though, if I go with a Ross procedure, there is simply no one with more experience doing it than Dr. Stelzer in NYC. If anyone reading this has seen Dr. Gillinov, I would love to hear your feedback.
January 7, 2012
It looks like this will be the year. The year I get open heart surgery and have my aortic valve replaced. Hard to believe since I am so healthy otherwise. I have never been in a hospital and never had any surgery in my life. I rarely even get a cold. Very rarely! I guess I saved the best for now. When I do something, I guess I have to do it BIG! I am doing my research and I have big decisions to make - like what valve is best for me, what procedure and of course what surgeon and where to have it done. I am meeting with a surgeon on Feb 2nd at Mount Sinai Medical Center in NYC. His name is Dr. Paul Stelzer and he specializes in the Ross Procedure. This is a special, highly complex and technical operation in which my own pulmonary valve is removed and is placed in the aortic position and then a cadaver pulmonary valve is put in its place. The benefit of this is that I will not have to be on blood thinning medication the rest of my life like with mechanical valves. Also, this may last 25 years (I hope that and more) and is a good choice for younger patients like myself who also want to stay active and athletic. The down side is they have to do surgery on 2 of my valves now as opposed to just one. Dr. Stelzer has done more of these than just about anyone in the world, currently at 502 of them. To learn more about Dr. Stelzer and the Ross procedure you can go to www.ps4ross.com. I will write here periodically and post as I go through surgery and recovery to keep you all updated. I am thinking I may do this in April or maybe wait until the summer sometime.