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Heart Valve Replacement: Are You Experienced?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Johnny Crab, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    Got a loved one having this surgery done soon, diagnosed with aortic stenosis and damaged valve. Local cardio is OK and I'm also blessed with having one of the best heart valve docs in Texas as a friend to consult via email or when he shows up at our gigs but he's 100 miles away with a super career. We'll most likely have the surgery done outside of Houston due to logistics post-surgery. Due to loved one's age, my friend strongly suggested the mechanical valve as it last 20+ years vs 10 or less for the biological valve. Mechanical valve requires one to use blood thinners forever, the newer ON-X valve allows for lesser amounts of thinners. I'm aware that for every 100 that get this surgery only 95 come out alive and then 30 to 35% get complications. With an engineering background, worst case and reality-based info is what I've uncovered(medical journals, survivors blogs, etc.). Questions for those familiar with this journey assuming the surgery goes OK and loved one is discharged for recovery AND no complications. Loved one is 59 years old.

    1) Recovery time?
    2) What to avoid?
    3) Suggestions to speed up recovery?
    4) Cautions with being on blood thinners?
    5) How long after surgery before patient can walk?
    6) If walking is out for a while, how long is the wheel chair used/required?

    Many other questions but my cardio-doc friend has answered most of them but an actual person going through this sees things very differently than docs.

    Thanks for any and all answers.

    BTW, I personally take Co-Q10 + PQQ, proline, lysine, and mega Vit C twice per day to keep my oil pump(heart) healthy and arteries/veins clean along with a LOT of other things.
  2. No direct experience with valves but my grandma had to get a pacemaker last week. Her kids have flown in and rotated helping her. With rather old people (late 80s) and surgery the aftercare and family, and keeping spirits up is everything.

    The same grandma broke her hip and had to get a replacement when she was about 75, and that had her terrified of getting stuck in a nursing home, but she's still kicking! Beat of luck to you and yours and just be there to raise the spirits if you can.
    Aberdumbie likes this.
  3. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    My mom passed in 2010 of complications from congestive heart failure. She had been on blood thinners like Warfarin and/or Coumadin for a long time. It was a constant battle to get the dosages right. It seemed like every time they checked, her blood was either (EDIT: Dangerously) too thick or too thin. She finally got tired of the battle and refused to take the thinners any more.

    There are newer blood thinners now that are supposedly more selective and easier to monitor and control.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
    TOOL460002 likes this.
  4. I was not aware of a 5% mortality on the surgery?? My brother would unlikely have taken that risk as he could still exercise mildly.

    He has no issue with his dosage of warfarin, but it stuffed his poker game. The mechanical tick tick tick speeds up each time he draws a hand. Even the worlds worst bassist would pick it.
    Johnny Crab likes this.
  5. Warfarin and alcohol is a bad mix. He can have a couple of beers only.
  6. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Will this be open heart or minimally invasive surgery?

    Will they induce cardiac arrest for an extended length of time?

    If so, will this involve hypothermic surgery?

    4 years ago I experienced an aortic dissection and had surgery to replace the aorta with one made of dacron.

    Your friend's surgery is almost certain to be much less risky than mine was and have fewer complications. I was in ICU for 7 days plus 3 days in a regular room. My recovery was complicated by the fact that the injury resulted in impaired blood circulation for several hours and there was significant damage to tissue and nerves, some of which I have never recovered from.

    Assuming your friend experiences no complications, expect 1-2 days in ICU and perhaps 3 more days in a regular room.

    The sooner your friend can get off the intravenous pain medication, the better. If they can do without opiates after
    2 days then that would be great.

    Sleeping on their side will probably be impossible for awhile because of issues with pain. They'll have to sleep on their back.

    They will be sore and have muscular weakness for several weeks. I was too weak to even play guitar or bass for more than 3 months but your friend will most likely be up to full strength.after 6-8 weeks.

    Good luck.
  7. Jimks


    Oct 11, 2016
    My sister had her valve replaced. She talked to me about which one to get. She traveled a lot and told her I thought the pig valve would be better. So, she went with the mechanical one. Told her, now you will set off all the metal detectors at the airport. She told me they said it wouldn't. But, it did.

    They had her up and doing some walking the 2nd day. She really didn't hit 100% for about 4-6 mo's, but got up to 90% within a month. She kept pretty active and generally did fine with it.

    I've had one they have watched carefully for about 25 yrs, but it got to a point and stopped and then didn't get any worse, at least so far. It reminds me of it at times.... with some shooting pains. I'm hoping I never have to have a replacement. Wish you luck and hope it all works out well for you, no matter what you decide.
  8. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    Thanks for all of this information!
    I'd heard about the metal detectors but the really strange thing is they sometimes go off and sometimes don't for the metal pin in my hip(motorcycle accident 1972, femur pushed through the hip socket) and the x-ray scanner makes them real nervous about my lower left tibia and fibia area(my ortho doctor said that area was pulverized as it slammed into a truck bumper when the blind some beach turned in front of/into me head on).
  9. Is that a bazooka in your trousers or are you just nervous to be here, Sir?
    Johnny Crab likes this.

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