1 1/2 years ago I experienced shortness of breath upon exercise. This was accompanied by painful joint swelling. Cardiologist administered echocardiogram stress test (only lasted a couple of minutes through test) and this showed my heart ejection fraction at 30%. Cardiologist suspected defective valve or artery blockage. With vegan low fat diet for one year, I experienced less frequent shortness of breath and was able to pass simulated stress test for 12 minutes on tread machine. Lately, I again am experiencing some shortness of breath upon exercise. I am very active in swimming, walking, yoga, etc. 1 1/2 years ago acupuncturist detected heart murmur in left side of heart and this is also detected today. This would seem to be a heart valve issue (I have had tests for rheumatoid arthritis and lyme disease and have tested negative on both). What percentage of heart valve surgery can be done via catherization vs open heart surgery? What are prognosis for catherization and open heart for valve repair/replace? Positive results? Fatalities? I am male, 72 years old. Heavy smoker from age 18 through 35. Male family history of heart issues.