This is the main incision 13 months after endoscopic MV repair via right side minithoracotomy. It is about 2.5 inches.
Thankful for the options I had...
Journal posted on June 17, 2018
I am sorry that sleeping supine or on sides is so difficult for so many after OHS even after a less invasive right minithoracotomy approach which is apparently becoming more common from various accounts on this website. For those facing surgery, be assured it is not necessarily that painful for everyone. And if you have the option of a minithoracotomy approach instead of sternotomy, your pain will undoubtedly be less if you locate a surgeon who can do the mini-T procedure endoscopcally rather than spreading your ribs apart to facilitate the less advanced 'direct vision' method. Having had a mini-t endoscopically, it was no problem laying flat in bed the day after surgery or getting in and out of bed the day after surgery or sleeping on either side a week or so after surgery. Just wanted to put this out there for those still researching your OHS options. Good health to you all!
Surgery Results: On June 26, 2017 my mitral valve was repaired. At the time my heart was enlarging and the left atrium was 'severely' enlarged due to severe mitral regurgitation.
A recent follow-up echo done on Aug 28, 2017 showed all 4 heart chambers now are normal size and the severe regurgitation has been reduced to 'mild' regurgitation. There is also no longer any prolapse of the valve leaflets. Ejection fraction is 65-70%.
The surgery worked and the recovery was fairly easy! So take heart if your mitral valve needs to be repaired and carefully research heart surgeons. Best to everyone.
Saw cardiologist yesterday. He wants me to wear a 24 hour monitor for a month to rule out afib since I had an episode in the hospital after mitral repair although none ever before or since. Is that standard procedure? I assume it is but just curious what anyone else has to say. Thanks.
Do I need cardiac rehab? I'm almost 6 weeks post op mitral repair. My surgeon already cleared me with no restrictions on activities or exercise. Here's why I wonder about rehab. 2 days ago I went on a 19 mile bicycle ride. Mind you, my bike has electric assist, so a key goal for this ride was to determine if I can have the fun of electric assist but still engage in an aerobic workout by also pedaling. To measure my workout, I wore a heart rate monitor with a sensor chest strap and wrist display device. My average heart rate for the 75 minute ride was 113 with much of the ride over 120 and a short section over 130. I never felt like I was 'out of gas'. This was a better workout than I would have had before mitral valve repair. I was told for cardiac rehab, they try to maintain a maximum heart rate of resting heart rate plus 30 which be around 100 or so. Basically, I just had to pedal faster to go 18-20 mph so the electric assist cuts out which provides a good workout and is fun. Personally, I would rather ride my bike outdoors on bike paths like the Highline Canal, etc. I could always go to rehab after the weather turns colder in Nov or Dec. I really don't have time to do bike rides and rehab at the same time. What do you think? Is rehab all that necessary at my stage of recovery? Thanks for any input you may have!
Almost 3 weeks post-op for mitral valve repair and I had not sneezed until today. It totally took me by surprise and I forgot to brace the incision. The result - only minimal discomfort! So a lot of healing has taken place. I am very thankful for how well everything gone. Can even sleep on my sides. All good.
Approx 2.5 inch right-side thoracotomy incision for my mitral valve repair.
Update posted on...
June 30, 2017
Home yesterday from Penrose Hospital after 4 days for endoscopic (not robotic) MV repair. Still surprisingly little pain so will keep on just Aleve and Tylenol today. Degree of fatigue very high. But at least I can lay down flat and sleep OK. Just cannot sleep on either side yet. Will not be able to do much until energy level goes up some. Also have to lose the extra fluid which is about 10 lbs now. Have potassium and Lasix for that. But for a good shot at living many years longer than without surgery, this is not much to go thru.
All over but the final 8 days of waiting. All pre-op tests done. So I thought I would thank everyone for your support. Even though I've had very little support directed specifically to me - after all - I have not had surgery yet and am not on the board yet but will be in few days. But I've taken great relief at the indirect support in the form of others experiences and comments posted here over the last 9 months or so that I have been visiting.
People here often say the waiting is the worst. They often say that shortly after their surgery while still in the hospital. So I really don't need to worry or be anxious while waiting. Yes, easier said than done, but knowing that the worry and anxiety is at least partially irrational is a calming and worthwhile thought to ponder.
Seeing many, many people post selfies and journals shortly after surgery, sometimes on the same day is also extremely reassuring. People are very often up and around and climbing stairs, etc a day or two after surgery and writing about it here. All of that is appreciated.
Plus having this site available to visit and receive that positive reinforcement on almost every visit is very valuable in trying to reduce the pre-op stress and also for research and planning in the earlier phases of confirming the diagnosis and finding quality treatment.
While there are some other sites for valve patients, Adam Pick has done a very nice job of creating a different format that combines community with a large repository of organized information and research tools that makes this site the place for me and many heart valve patients.
So thanks to Adam and everyone. I just hope I can keep it together for another 8 days!
Pre-admission testing done. Scheduled for the repair.
Journal posted on June 16, 2017
Pre-admission testing completed last Wednesday. Scheduled for small incision mitral repair on June 26. Now just trying to get organized for it and stay somewhat calm. Not easy. Although I feel great otherwise.
I'll be having mitral valve repair in Colorado Springs in 2 weeks. It will be small incision but not robotic surgery.
Dr. Mehall will make a small 3 inch incision almost under my right armpit between 2 ribs and work from there. He also makes another tiny 4mm incision to insert a camera so he can perform the repair mostly viewing the video screen without spreading the ribs.
When done, he glues the incision closed and numbs the incision area with local anesthetic to make it more comfortable when waking up afterwards. He also places only 1 drainage tube for this type of procedure.
He has seen the heart cath, the CT scan and echos and says repairing the valve is extremely likely which may include replacing a chord or two and of course the ring they put around the valve perimeter.
I've had 4 opinions - from 3 surgeons and 1 cardiologist and they all concur that it needs to be done and now is much better than later to do this.
No symptoms but cardiologist suggests mitral repair surgery
Journal posted on December 9, 2016
Had a stress echo this week and just met with the cardiologist to review it. No pulmonary hypertension at rest or on exertion. No atrial fib. No left ventricle dilation. No sign of artery blockages. They consider 6 minutes on the treadmill to be normal exercise tolerance and I was 10 seconds under (at 69 years old). But no measurement of regurgitant volume or reguritant orifice. Yet the result is extreme mitral regurgitation and surgery recommended. Seems like they should be able to quantify the diagnosis with some numbers when talking about heart surgery. I've had regular echos since 2010 and always get a hard copy of the report with all the numbers. What that has revealed is that there is no standard set of data that is calculated from an echo. Therefore, it is fairly difficult to compare echos and see whether the regurg is the same or getting worse over time. They always report 'extreme regurgitation'. Have any of you elected to have a mitral repair without symptoms but just based on the echo results? If so, what persuaded you to go ahead with the surgery?