Aortic Valve Replacement

Posted by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor @hopeful33250, Sep 28, 2016

In the near future, I’ll be having aortic valve replacement. I’d love to hear from anyone who has been through this procedure to provide some background on their surgery experience as well as recovery experience. I have heard that with open heart surgery, sleeping in a recliner for the first week or so is a good idea. Any other thoughts? Thanks for any information you can relay about your own experiences. Teresa

Recovering from my Aortic Valve Replacement. Surgery was on the 31st of January. Had it here in Austin at St. David's Main. Went well and was in hospital for just 5 days. My replacement valve is an On-X 25mm. I was really surprised how quick the initial recovery was from the surgery. Within 3 days I was able to get in and out of bed without help. Since I have been home pain is nothing and I just take Tylenol. Doing the Cardiac Rehab 1 hour a day 3 days a week. I overlooked doing the Rehab in 2005 when I had and Aortic Aneurysm, wish I had done it then. My INR range requirement for the On-X Valve is 1.5-2.5. Have weekly tests getting that tuned. From what I understand the On-X valves don't require as much blood thinners.

Working half days and from home as needed. Just glad the chest trauma was minimal as my two prior chest openings were from around the side and were very painful recovery.

Bruce

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Hi Bruce @ch246cf10,

I'm so glad to hear you are recovering well; thank you for the update.
I moved your discussion and combined it with this existing discussion, started by Mentor @hopeful33250 as I thought Connect members would appreciate your insights, and at the same time, it would be beneficial for you to be introduced to some of the members who have discussed similar experiences.
If you are replying by email, I suggest clicking on VIEW & REPLY so that you can read through some of the earlier messages.

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Hello @ch246cf10

I appreciate your good report on your aortic valve replacement. The results must be very encouraging. I'm so pleased to hear about the Cardiac Rehab. Everyone that I've known who has experienced this type of Rehab has spoken of how great it is and how it helps with recovery.

I would enjoy hearing from you as you continue to recover. Will you please keep in touch?

Teresa

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Hello Teresa,
I'll be sure to keep you guys up on the recovery process. Most of us that have/had this degenerating Aortic Valve have lived with it for quite some time. For me, my entire adult life. This new valve will put me in the best health I have ever known. I used to be as active as I could with the original natural valve(60 mile bike rides), but now it should be much easier to do what I used to do. Once they tell you the valve should be replaced don't wait too long getting it done. And look at the newer valves that don't require so much thinners. Glad I went with the On-X.

All the best.

Bruce

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@ch246cf10

Hello Teresa,
I'll be sure to keep you guys up on the recovery process. Most of us that have/had this degenerating Aortic Valve have lived with it for quite some time. For me, my entire adult life. This new valve will put me in the best health I have ever known. I used to be as active as I could with the original natural valve(60 mile bike rides), but now it should be much easier to do what I used to do. Once they tell you the valve should be replaced don't wait too long getting it done. And look at the newer valves that don't require so much thinners. Glad I went with the On-X.

All the best.

Bruce

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@ch246cf10 Thanks Bruce,

I had not heard of the On-X before, the doctors that I've seen have talked about the pig valve which seemed good to me because it would not require the use of blood thinners. My only problem is that I can't get two doctors to agree on the need for surgery at this point. My EF is still at 60 which is pretty good. Do you recall what you EF was at the time of replacement?

Teresa

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Hello Teresa,
I am not familiar with "EF". What does the acronym stand for? They gave gradient pressure readings from my echo's. Before surgery it was a 4, after surgery about 2 weeks ago it was 1.5. So I am in the normal range now.

I'm 52, and replacement tissue valves will last ~10 years. So if I plan to live past 62, I would have another surgery to replace the tissue valve. That is why I chose the mechanical valve. This was my 3rd surgery, and I wasn't wanting another. The blood thinner is a minor thing. My Brother-in-Law has been on them for 25 years. We are both equally active and I went to him and he is living just fine with the thinners. No side effects for him and he had 25 years experience taking them.

I should note that with the current TAVR(Transcath. Valve) technology a tissue valve can receive a TAVR. That is today. That technique is 9 yeas going now and when I am 62 and needing the tissue valve replaced, there would be no telling if that was still possible. That is why I I also felt the mechanical valve was my best choice.

Bruce

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@ch246cf10 Hello Bruce,

EF stands for ejection fraction – a measurement of heart failure, it will show up on an Echocardiogram. If you have a copy of an Echo prior to the valve replacement you will probably find the EF, listed somewhere in the report. Here is an explanation on the EF from Mayo, https://www.mayoclinic.org/ejection-fraction/expert-answers/faq-20058286.

Here is an article from Stanford about gradient pressure readings, https://web.stanford.edu/group/ccm_echocardio/cgi-bin/mediawiki/index.php/Aortic_stenosis_assessment, to show the difference between the two.

Thanks for the explanation on your choice of the mechanical valve. Your information has been very helpful to me and no doubt to others. I appreciate your help!

Teresa

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@wandering

My 90+ mother had heart valve replacement surgery about 4 years ago. The surgery was not open heart but a new procedure where the surgeon goes through the groin and up into the heart. She survived the surgery very well (her doctor says she is a “poster child” for the procedure). She also has a pacemaker. Her heart is doing very well however at her age she has other issues not related to the heart. Hope this has helped you and best wishes.

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Baylor heart hospital in Plano, TX has an entire wing devoted to heart valve problems. The surgeon who developed the TAVR procedure is still there. Sorry, I can't remember his name. If you'll google the hospital, you can get lots of information about the surgery.

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@ch246cf10

Recovering from my Aortic Valve Replacement. Surgery was on the 31st of January. Had it here in Austin at St. David's Main. Went well and was in hospital for just 5 days. My replacement valve is an On-X 25mm. I was really surprised how quick the initial recovery was from the surgery. Within 3 days I was able to get in and out of bed without help. Since I have been home pain is nothing and I just take Tylenol. Doing the Cardiac Rehab 1 hour a day 3 days a week. I overlooked doing the Rehab in 2005 when I had and Aortic Aneurysm, wish I had done it then. My INR range requirement for the On-X Valve is 1.5-2.5. Have weekly tests getting that tuned. From what I understand the On-X valves don't require as much blood thinners.

Working half days and from home as needed. Just glad the chest trauma was minimal as my two prior chest openings were from around the side and were very painful recovery.

Bruce

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My cardiologist is very vague about it all…..in fact, I'm considering a 2nd opinion. Mine is at 1.3, and he says no surgery needed until it is under 1. So far, no enlargement of the heart.

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Hello Teresa,
Rehab going well. I'm at the 7 week mark. They added in minor weight lifting exercises after 6 weeks. My sternum is still sore at the incision area so we are not lifting over 5 lbs. I'm back to work at 50% and have someone help if any lifting is required. I'm going to stick with the rehab all the way to the end. I'll be getting a membership at the senior center here in Round Rock and will continue with the exercise to keep in shape and keep the pounds off. I'm still at -10 lbs. since surgery. They tell me at rehab I need to lose 20 more.

My INR is stable at 1.6 and I only go in for testing now every 2 weeks. I don't notice any side effects from taking blood thinners.

Hope this helps.

All the best.

Bruce

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Hi Bruce I had triple by pass 1996 just do as Dr. tells you don't lift to much I wasn't allowed to climb stairs or Hills for a while either

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I had quintuple bypass in 2009. Do the rehab until it’s done. I was playing tennis and baseball within 6 months and am still playing.

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