Thank you to the heart warriors out there that paved the way! I am now 3 years past my robotic MV repair! So thankful for this community! If you are just starting this journey you are at the right place to be inspired and educated!
We are trying to determine if we should consider TAVR. Worried about complications and most importantly dementia and confusion that is exacerbated when he is out of his routine. He has no real limitations right now but has some lower extremity swelling and does sleep a lot but he can function fairly independently in Personal Care facility.
We are considering having the pre- op CAT scan to see if he is a candidate so we will know it is even an option.
Anyone have experience w TAVR for elderly w some confusion/ mild dementia?
Good morning heart community. Y’all helped me through robotic MV repair in 2017 and I am so thankful for this community! I am doing great- my question is on behalf of my 90 year old father. He has aortic stenosis and they have been watching it for the past 5 years and now the cardiologist is referring him to valve specialist- does anyone know about aortic valve specialists is Philly area? I don’t know many details yet but will be contacting the cardiologist today. He is in a personal care facility with my mom. He has high blood pressure and some dementia but can still play pool and beat most of his opponents!
Thankful for my heart sisters (and heart brothers) on Go Red for Women Day! Next week will be 2 years out from successful robotic MV Repair! To those new to our heart family- we are here for you❤️
Good news from my surgeon!
Journal posted on April 16, 2018
This is another example why I believe strongly that our surgeons are so incredible! I had my consult for a dilated ascending aorta that according to the MRI readings over the past 12 mos was growing. Dr Harrington looked at the images and evaluated her own readings and felt confident that the readings were too high. She said the angle of the images on the MRI makes the diameter reading too high. I love my cardiologist and she is thorough but I am so glad I saw the aortic valve specialist Dr Harrington. She feels the aorta’s dilation has not progressed in a year and that annual CT scans are all that is needed! Praise the Lord and I was astounded to hear that my aorta might not ever dilate to the point of needing more surgery! My surgeon for my MV Repair helped me avoid some unnecessary testing and my new surgeon following me for the aorta just saved me anguish and worry for another 12 mos at least! Thank you everyone for your support!!!
Questions for my surgical consult re aneurysm of the aorta
Journal posted on April 14, 2018
Well I have my first appointment with the surgeon to discuss my dilated aorta. I have a general list of questions from my mitral valve surgery in Feb 2017 but what questions do I need to include re aorta aneurysm? One thing I will ask is if my aortic valve is impacted since the dilation is in the ascending aorta. I was told that surgery will be indicated if the aneurysm grows by 5 mm in 6 mos. so far it grew by 2 mm over the past 6 mos so I figured I better start consulting w surgeon now to be followed closely. I had my MV Repair robotically with Dr Robert Smith who is an expert in robotic MV Repair but other surgeons in the group specialize in the aorta so I am starting with Dr Harrington. Any advice on questions will be very much appreciated!
Well, I had my one year check up with the cardiovascular surgeon and the Echo looked great and the Mitral Value is functioning very well. Feeling very thankful for that. However, my aorta is continuing to dilate- was at 4.1 in September and is now at 4.3. Not quite the news I wanted to hear. I am going to start my consultations with the surgeons to get more information and to be followed closely. Any insight into how things tend to progress with an enlarged aorta? I will see Dr. Harrington next month and start my rounds of brand new questions! I am also curious about how likely it is that I will also need an aortic valve replacement. The dilation is in the ascending aorta, but I need to know where it is!
One year ago my kids were caring for me after Robotic Mitral Valve Repair. Today they were my pacing team for the Austin Half Marathon! We ran it without stopping even when encountering the rolling hills!
One Year Anniversary Mitral Valve Repair
Journal posted on February 8, 2018
Exactly one year ago I was heading to The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano for robotic MV Repait. Thankful for Dr Robert Smith and the specialists, my family and friends and this community who helped me move from shock and fear to becoming an educated and empowered OHS veteran. Over the past 365 days I’ve been able to return to running and have climbed a 14’er. Feeling very thankful for everyone who helped me through my heart journey!
Thank you Adam Pick for helping me connect with my heart family. Cheryl Batzing was my go to support sister and we are both supporting Don L as he prepares for robotic MV Repair with my surgeon Dr Robert Smith at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.
Here's my newest picture!
December 29, 2017
Pacemaker -question for friend post aortic valve replacement
Journal posted on November 16, 2017
Any experiences with "electrical heart block"? My friend's husband had his surgery Monday. This is what she just sent me so I thought I'd ask the experts!
...It’s been a challenging couple of days!! Hopeful the next couple of days will bring the changes they need to see... otherwise we are headed for a pacemaker. Everything is stable except his heart rate. It turns out he has a complete electrical heart block, and his atrium and ventricle are not communicating . Happens in about 30% of the cases. He is “external pacemaker” dependent at this time, so they have kept him In ICU monitoring it , hoping it corrects itself . If it doesn’t by this Monday , he will have to have a pacemaker placed. Sooo, it is a waiting game. We have our hands folded and our fingers crossed. Thank you for your continued prayers, concern and support! 😘❤️
My dilated aorta was discovered during the TEE scheduled during my MV Repair surgery. In Feb 2017 it was 4.0 and from my MRI 6 mos later it is 4.1. What experiences have y'all had with ascending aorta dilation? How quickly did the progression happen? Is it possible to stay put for a long time or does it progress in most cases?
Made it to the summit! 14,148 ft- Mount Democrat! 7 mos post mitral valve repair!
MRI of my heart scheduled for Tuesday a.m.
Journal posted on September 3, 2017
Who has had an MRI of the heart recently? I am going to need close follow up every 6 months for my dilated aorta (4.0 in February) and the cardiologist doesn't want me to have the radiation with repeated CT Scans.
My first MRI is Tuesday morning and I am wondering what it will be like. I am now approaching 7 months post op for robotic MV repair and am feeling great. Hoping the aorta stays at 4.0 and doesn't get worse!
Thanks in advance for any experience you can offer!
Wow- it is hard to believe it has been 6 months since my robotic mitral valve repair! Time has flown by and now I basically feel back to normal. I've learned to adapt to low blood pressure and risk of dehydration during the Texas summer by hydrating, avoiding exercise outdoors and using hydration drinks such as drip drop.
I am able to keep a pretty rigorous exercise regiment with Pilates 4-5 times per week and cardio which includes running and the elliptical. I've been spared any repeat episodes of heart rhythm issues. The only medication I am on is aspirin 325 mg every day besides my thyroid meds.
I am so thankful for my family who have encouraged me and been by my side! I am also grateful for this community who helped me research and learn so much about my heart condition and convinced me that I could have the courage yall have shown to tackle OHS.
I hope I can be of help to those of you who were in my shoes one year ago when I was shocked and in disbelief about my own heart issues. The stories of all the brave heart brothers and sisters lift me up whenever I need it. My life is so much richer with this amazing community❤️
There will be more to my story as I am monitored for a dilated aorta which was measured at 4.0 cm
6 months ago. Since I haven't been able to tolerate beta blockers due to my low blood pressure I am hoping and praying the low blood pressure is doing what the beta blockers would have done to keep things from progressing.
Thank you ALL- wishing everyone peace and good health- may the skilled health care professionals and the incredible medical advances provide you all with long and healthy lives❤️❤️❤️
Finally got to see an electrophysiologist today to review my rhythm and fainting issues. Basically, there are no signs of AFib and the one episode of irregular heart rhythm seems to be a one shot deal. My low blood pressure combined w metropolol probably combined w dehydration is most likely the culprit for my fainting. Now that it is close to 100 degrees late into the evening the Dr recommended indoor running and hydrating w Drip Drop - more electrolytes and less sugar than Gatorade- and upping salt intake prior to a run. She said pickle juice is a zero calorie source of sodium! I should be on a beta blocker for my dilated aorta but can't tolerate it so hopefully mumlow blood pressure is enough to keep the aorta from getting any worse. Overall I think this is all good news- I'll take it!
Awesome adventure filled vacation with all my kids and grandkids!
Journal posted on June 14, 2017
Since fainting 10 days ago, I've been weaned off the metropolol and have to be careful to stay hydrated to keep my bp up but no more fainting. However, the vertigo was pretty bad- the room would spin any time I moved my head position. The cardiologist referred me to an ENT and he said I had a crystal displaced in my inner ears. He had me move my head position quickly in a few different positions and voila- the vertigo is gone. Apparently, when I hit my head while fainting, it can dislodge a crystal which caused the vertigo. I am VERY glad my cardiologist informed me that vertigo (spinning room symptoms) are an inner ear problem and not a heart problem - otherwise things would still be spinning away!
Two graduations this week! My youngest from High School and I will graduate from cardiopulmonary rehab! Great week!
Switching from Metropolol
Journal posted on June 5, 2017
Hey heart experts- I am switching from 25 mg metropolol ER Succinate to digoxin due to severe dizziness and fainting. (I have dilated aorta so need medication for that). I read you are supposed to decrease Metropolol gradually but the ER recommended immediate switch due to severe dizziness and vertigo that just surfaced Sat. Waiting for cardiologist to call back but those who discontinued metropolol succinate- how quickly did you discontinue the medication?
Last night I got out of bed too quickly and as I was reaching to open bottom drawer I must have fainted bc I woke up on the floor after bumping the back of my head. I don't think I fell hard bc there is no bump and it wasn't very painful. However this morning I get dizzy when I am sitting up. Blood pressure is 95/65 and pulse is 75. I am 4 mos post robotic mitral valve repai and am taking metropolol. Besides hydrating any other ideas to help boost blood pressure? Been on metropolol for a month or two. Any insight would be welcome!
15 weeks post op mitral valve repair and found out my heart rhythm is in good shape after incident of racing heart rate a few weeks back. No AFib! Also, was able to run for 3.5 miles today without stopping! Enjoyed memorable weekend with family - daughter's final weeks of HS and to top it all off, got engaged to the man of my dreams this weekend! What a crazy year of ups and downs. Feeling so blessed!
Celebrating a good day! I was able to run for a mile without stopping twice today in between recovery walk for about 3 minutes. Sometimes recovery happens at a snail's pace and then sometimes a big milestone! The interval run/walk on the treadmill with an incline is starting to help my cardiovascular fitness kick in! Of course, I also took a big 2 hour nap today!
By now it seems like I had my OHS so long ago. As I read the posts of those just getting home from their OHS, it brings back memories, but they seem so far away. I am so entirely grateful for the skilled surgeon, operating team and post op nurses and for my family and friends who have been such a support over the past 10 months when I first learned that I would be facing OHS. By far, one of the most important resources and sources of support has been this community! I am thankful for everyone who shared your own journey and offered the hope and encouragement that I could do it, just like you all have done! I think we are all quite courageous folks for sure!
Just to update everyone who will be facing mitral valve repair in the future, I am still working hard in cardiac rehab after a one-time episode of Afib ( cardiac nurses called it Atrial Flutter, but the cardiologists read the report and it said Afib.) I am wearing a heart monitor 24/7 just to get a baseline and make sure my heart rhythm behaves. So far, no more episodes. I am on metropolol and an adult dosage of aspirin since the Afib/Atrial Flutter incident, but I don't notice any side effects from the metropolol that I can tell.
I am progressing in rehab, but very surprised at how slow the pace is for me to get back to running. I know I am 60 but before surgery I was easily able to run 3 miles. I can now run for up to 5 minutes at a time, but struggle to add distance or intensity to my workouts. I have to watch for some left shoulder/neck tightness that acts up whenever I try to increase the work outs. It feels like it is my lung capacity and breathing that is holding me back. My legs are not sore at all, but my breathing is having trouble keeping up.
Back to full time work, I find that by the weekend I am pretty exhausted and needs some good quality power naps- easily 1-2 hours - to recharge my batteries.
Will see the cardiologist in 2 weeks. Trying to eat as healthy as possible and focus on my health, my family and my work.
Still worried about my dilated ascending aorta that measures 4.0 centimeters, but preparing myself to keep an eye on that with some regular tests that I am certain my cardiologist will be ordering. Come to find out, that was noted on my CAT scan of my heart pre-surgery, but I missed that until my post op visit with the cardiologist. I know many of you out there have experienced other complications or repeat surgeries, so if that is what is in store for me in the future, I am sure you all will help get me through another one!
My goal is to continue to improve in rehab, to be able to run at least a mile without stopping and to get as well as possible for a family trip to Colorado for July 4th. I hope to get a fairly substantial hike in with the family - you never know, maybe it will be a 14'er.
Wish you all the best as your either approach your surgery date or you are managing your recovery on the other side of OHS. As always, prayers and many upbeat and encouraging thoughts sent your way everybody!
Today was my first session of cardiac rehab after my rapid heart beat from last Friday. I was fortunate to get in to see my new cardiologist this morning before rehab. She did an EKG and while I am not currently in AFIB (she called my episode on Friday AFIB, but the cardiac nurses still say it was Atrial Flutter ) the EKG showed non specific T wave abnormality, I think is what she explained.
I am adding Metroprolol 25 mg and will upgrade from baby aspirin to 325 mg adult aspirin EC Tablets. Eventually, I may also take amiodorone and possibly losartan but since my BP is fairly low, she wants to start me off on just the Metroprolol.
I will have a monitor for 3 weeks to evaluate the extend of AFIB and get a baseline. Good news during rehab, with the same level of exertion, run/walk and eliptical, I was able to exercise without any elevation of my heart rate.
I was, however, shell shocked to hear that my ascending aorta is dilated, measuring 4 cm. Each step of my heart valve journey is certainly as exciting as the last one that was just handled.
Right now I am going to focus on getting back to full strength and managing my cardiac rehab and taking care of any potential AFIB I am at risk of experiencing.
Looking forward to learning from and gaining inspiration from the many awesome heart brothers and sisters here on this site!
Today during cardiac rehab I had higher heart rate (150 instead of my usual 120 to 125) during exertion. I thought it was odd because I didn't increase any of the exercises. Once it was time to cool down all the nurses were examining my readings- I knew something was amiss! It took 3 hours to get my pulse down from 150 to 90 or so. My normal resting rate is anout 80-85. Anyone else experience short episode of atrial Flutter? Waiting on call back from cardiologist!
Hi everyone! I'm now 9 weeks since my robotic mitralvalve repair surgery and while I am doing very well- I have to be careful not to overdo! I've had some L shoulder- neck pain that is muscular and from a combination of over exertion with upper body weights and overuse of L side- (my robotic surgery was from R side). My chiro and myotherapy has resolved the pain as long as I don't overdo!!! I am also excite to start jogging for short distances - 2 min walk- 2 min jog cycle during rehab but feels great to jog even short distances. I was able to keep this pattern for a 4 mile route! My breathing is very labored- I can run 11:45 pace but next day my breathing still feels weird especially with deep breaths. Had a nice long weekend trip to Santa Fe and hiked for 2 miles going from 6,000 - 7,000 feet- very labored breathing at altitude. I highly recommend a trip away to recharge batteries a few months post op to get a fresh perspective and change of scenery. Still feel very tired and besides full time work and daily exercise- not much energy for too much more. Even though I had NO symptoms and still have long way to go to get back to full activity I am very thankful for medical technology and a skilled surgeon! I know the outcome would not have been as favorable if I had waited until symptoms started developing!
Had a huge reality check after my pre- cardiac rehab assessment. I think it is called a PCET and your pulmonary function is measured while pedaling on a stationary bike while the resistance is gradually increased. Felt great during the test but later have had intense soreness in the chest muscles that you use for breathing upon exertion. One night I even needed tramadol to manage the throbbing pain when I was trying to sleep. Yesterday- the first session of rehab went well- still managing the soreness w Advil/ Tylenol. Glad I am doing cardiac rehab!
Big day for me- first post op appt with surgeon and also had my cardiac rehab assessment. My scars look good according to the Dr. And everything is ahead of the curve with my recovery. No restrictions for lifting but still weakness in muscles of R chest so I am not going to do much w upper body work outs yet. Not cleared for jogging for another 3 weeks to allow heart to heal a bit more. Must confess- tested out about 3/4 mi slow jog and my R lung was a bit strained- like a burning sensation if you run in frigid weather. I am able to walk up to 6.5 miles at a 17 min/mile pace so that is great! Going to start some road biking in the meantime- all cleared for that. Rehab officially starts Fri! Looking forward to seeing how I do. Oh - one last thing- cleared for baths and swimming! Yay!
Been back to work half days- I have busy job that requires meetings and events and carrying things is tiring so don't rush back if you can help it. I had used up my PTO so needed to get back earlier. Have been feeling fine- vitals good but get very tired if the day is too full. Still walking 3.5-4 miles- 16-17 min/mile pace. See the surgeon and start cardiac rehab in a week. A little bummed bc I pulled a muscle in my R chest- it doesn't hurt to inhale but it does w certain movements! Sill Texas problem caused it! Bought a pair of authentic cowboy boots and must have been all the tugging to try them on and yank them off! There is a good reason NOT to try and lift heavy things or exert TOO soon! The robotic surgery affects you R arm and chest muscles for awhile!
By now the details post surgery are starting to fade and I am distracted by keeping up with my vitals- walking and scheduling my daily nap! I am feeling well enough to start to cook dinner- am cleared to drive and do light chores. I am also feeling well enough to work from home on the computer and even made an appearance at two high profile work events that I had been planning with clients for several months. It felt weird to get back into the work clothes but easing back gradually is definitely the way to go. Everyone was shocked to see me back so soon after surgery and some co- workers are afraid I'll catch any germ or that I am fragile when I feel great! If I had more accumulated time off I would probably take it but as the sole breadwinner I am easing back as soon as I can without over extending. Next week I'll go in the office half days. I did go to bed at 9 am and drifted right off since I missed my cherished nap!
As far as medication I am off the tramadol completely ( since day 10) and only occasionally take over the counter anti- inflammatory. I
am taking a baby aspirin, thyroid meds, allergy meds and my vitamins and that is it!
I can hit 2,000 on the spirometer but still work
to increase that if possible. I am able to walk up to 4 miles and the pace is improving to 16-17 min per mile! It doesn't hurt that today was 85 here in Dallas!
There is still swelling around each incision- the most noticeable for the groin and the 5 incisions in the R chest are healing with mild swelling as expected. There is no signs of infection but careful hygiene is important until the incisions are completely healed and swelling around each site is reduced. I do feel numbness on the R side of my chest.
I am careful not to lift too much especially with my right arm. I still don't push up too much on my R a but I can sleep on either side and even my belly if I want to since I have always been a belly sleeper.
I have been doing some light sweeping and raking being very careful not to over do it. I can't wait to get back to jogging and more core and upper body exercise. I'll wait until I start cardiopulmonary rehab in mid March to see if I am cleared for all that. I figure by the time I start rehab I'll be able to walk 6 miles and be chomping at the bit to run.
I see my cardiologist next week but couldn't get my post- surgical appt w surgeon until mid March but have called the office several times w med questions and to get released for driving as I eliminated the pain meds.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have caught my severe mitral regurgitation while I was still without symptoms - I am sure that has helped me recover SO much quicker!
Besides gaining back a healthy functioning mitral valve I have enjoyed such quality times with all 4 kids and my daughters in law! Since Jan I have seen everyone in my immediate family including my grandchildren! Feeling SO incredibly fortunate to have my health back thanks to the amazing advances in valve surgery!
My sweet daughter in law and I had a fun day trip to Waco to Chip and Joanna's Magnolia Market! (HGTV Fixer- Upper- While resting up prior to surgery I started watching the show. Since I could ride in the back seat and do my napping or breathing exercises- we decided to jump in the car and go! Found an awesome metal sign w the sillouette of a mountain range with the words, " your mountain is waiting so get on your way" . I have hiked 13,000 ft in Colorado in Sept 2016 and hope to reach the summit 14,000 ft in 2017! Best motivational art Just perfect for me!
Said a grateful and tearful goodbye to my oldest son yesterday and my youngest daughter returned back to my home from her dad's . I was annoyed he hadn't taken her to the dr after 2 days of fever so we went off to urgent care. Yes- I wore a mask
And am wearing it at home since she has the 1A strain of the flu! I will be calling the surgeon tomorrow!
Didn't measure my walking since we did an 11-1 shopping excursion in Waco. My breathing is slowly improving but it sure takes patience!
It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that one week ago I was spending my last night at home before undergoing OHS! One week later it is SO amazing to experience the healing power of the body from minimally invasive robotic surgery!
Some crazy observations- still very labored breathing - especially inhalation so conversing is VERY tiring. I feel as I am gasping for air every time I inhale to speak even short phrases! However- it feels easy to breath as I am walking 2 miles at a 20 min/mile pace! Crazy!!!
Pain is well controlled and finished the steroid for inflammation of the pericardium which made my chest throb while in the hospital. Still using tramadol for pain reduction especially as I work to gain stronger inhalation with the spirometer.
One question for my robotic surgery heart brothers and sisters- did anyone develop swelling along the groin incision? Doesn't hurt but trying to find out what that is from!
Getting my appetite back but sure have trouble with amount of salt on foods- really can't tolerate too much salt any more!
Shout out to all in my heart family! You have empowered me to meet this life changing OHS Challengr! Valentines Day has new meaning and I cherish my loved ones so much more this year❤
Last night I could start feeling more internal discomfort and sensations and was clutching my heart pillow each time I got up. Still on tramado and steroid for inflammation of the pericardium but the pain is very manageable. Main issue is coughing and congestion- very difficult to clear the congestion and coughing fits can last awhile and are very tiring. Using spirometer and a breathing in contraption that has a spin wheel to help break up congestion. Also on Zyrtec and Flonase. It feels like this is residual pre- surgery congestion but I amnot entirely sure. My talking is still labored so I really don't want many visitors or conversations over the phone at all. Was able to schedule all my follow up but can't get in to surgeon or Cardiopulmonary Rehab for 4 weeks. Spoke to nurse and she answered ALLmy questions! Really pumped about my endurance for walking- had a 1.2 mi walk this morning and a 1 mile walk this afternoon. Very very tired and besides reading , eating and showering- I basically conserving my energy!
Well I got the great news that I can go home today. Last night was rough one with lots of coughing! At about 1 am I called the nurse and had the flowers removed from my room- I think they were exacerbating my cough! Today I left in pj pants and a zip up hoodie- first time out of the gown. Grateful to have family helping me keep track of meds and everything. Came home to clean house and wonderful family. Really don't feel like talking or visiting- just reading and staring at TV. Less pain today- just more fatigue and coughing that will probably wear me out. Got exceptional care at THHBP and will schedule f/u w cardiovascular surgeon and cardiologist and schedule assessment for cardiac rehab. Will probably take walk in 70 degree TX sunshine and enjoy family dinner. By the time you are discharged it seems like all the preparations, worry and fear of OHS have become a blur. Now I feel very fortunate to have turned the corner and to be on the slow upswing of recovery. It feels like all the patience and trust you dig deep to find can be helpful for allowing my body to heal at its own pace. Certainly not worth over doing it after I've come this far! Feels wonderful not to be entangled w tubes and wires and hospital bed and gown! Time for peaceful nap
And thankful reflection on the other side of OHS! Y'all helped me SO much!
Day Three was lots of milestones! Got the chest tube out and have much better endurance for walking. Took 5 walks at 400 ft / basically 5 laps around the floor. The pain is better but I am extremely tired and restless and worn out. Also took a shower and cleaned up my hair and put on make up. But the fatigue is very overwhelming- tiring to talk since breathing is labored. Also feel kind of clammy one moment and cold the next. Mostly feel very tired and coughing a lot. Not complaining but just sharing my experiences for those who are having mitral valve repair in the near future. Still not as bad as I expected it to feel!
Afternoon and evening of day one was rough. Took bit of work to get pain controlled. This morning is a bit better! About to get foley out and walked 200 feet. Looks like chest tube won't come out until tomorrow.
Took a walk about 60 feet and also got central line out today. Worst part is inhaling deeply and cough from allergy drainage. Thankful for everyone on this site for all your inspiration and positive thoughts and prayers!
Surgery went well. They are monitoring low blood pressure and allergy cough causing some discomfort. Pain management has going fairly well. Mom is progressing as hoped. More updates to follow. Patrick (son)
In one week I'll be on my way to hospital to check in for surgery for minimally invasive robotic mitral valve repair. Taking it one day at a time to finish up big work projects and prepare for my family coming into town to be there for me. Took tour of hospital and hope to have most of my ducks in a row this weekend. Taking a night to see An American in Paris and stay over in Dallas for early Valentine's Day since I will be recovering on the 14th. Thankful for this community- pretty awesome to read all your stories and hear the support and encouragement from others! Any last minute tips that helped you prepare and focus on positive and productive energy? Thankful for my amazing children age 18-21-31 and 36 who
are all going to be here for me as well as my incredible boyfriend. Pretty overwhelming to wrap my mind around the need for OHS but looking forward to recovery phase of successful mitral valve repair!