Surgical consult questions

Posted by malcorozan @malcorozan, Nov 16 8:25pm

Hello, I have my first surgical consult for my ascending aortic aneurysm and bicuspid valve repair surgery coming up. I am wondering if there are questions you wish you had known to ask the surgeon that you would share? Help each other be more prepared if we can? Thank you!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Aortic Aneurysms Support Group.

Make a list,
Support you will need, for how long?
Pain management when you're home?
How much can you lift or pull?
Can you. Exercise? Walking is usually the best, in my opinion. It's difficult at first.
You'll need a shower chair
Probably hibiclense disinfectant wash for your incision.
Your recliner is going to be your best bet for sleep at first. You'll need lots of pillows. We actually got a hospital Bed my daughter when she had hers repaired.

Your appetite is going to stink at first, it will come back, trust me.

Drink drink drink!!!!!! Water of course, those pain meds are brutal.
Hugs to you.


Hi, @malcorozan. This is a great question. It is always a positive step to go into an appointment or consultation prepared with questions. I'd like to invite @gaile19, @kmailloux, @kitspeirs, and @hsminc to join @christine5 in sharing their, or their loved one's, experience with preparing for an ascending aortic aneurysm or bicuspid valve repair surgeries. Everyone's experience may be a bit different, but preparing for an appointment and a heart surgery can have a lot of overlapping questions.

@malcorozan, what questions of your own do you have so far?


This is hsminc replying.
There are many reported estimates of complication rates associated with repairing ascending aneurysms and bicuspid valves. It is difficult, if not impossible, however, to find complication rates for demographic population subgroups, e.g., occupation, age, sex, non-work activities, other medical issues, type and size of medical center where surgery is being considered, etc.. We should all pressure our providers for more clearly delineated subgroup complication rates and maybe clearer pictures will emerge on which to make decisions. In other words: "What is your (to the provider/physician) experience with patients just like me? What is your volume of surgeries on patients like me?"
You might also want to ask: "Here is a list of complications and the reported 'industry standard' for each complication. I want to know if my risk factors suggest that I am more likely to have this complication or less likely. In other words: How do I compare?"
An important question for us involved antegrade or retrograde brain perfusion during surgery: We wanted the surgeon to answer this question: "In addition to cooling me down to 20 degrees, would you also keep some blood flowing to my brain? If you would not, what is the reason?"
Doing so seems to be the "industry standard" (pardon the term) but not every surgeon complies for a myriad of reasons. We suspect that it adds some extra time and maybe skills but given the risk of cognitive problems, many patients would want to have this done.

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