What to do when cardiac surgeons disagree?
My dilemma is this: I have 3 of 4 heart valves that are not performing well. After three years of seeing specialist after specialist and having many tests, it is a bit of a relief to finally know the cause of my debilitating symptoms. I learned more after my first echocardiogram at Mayo in October than in the dozens of other tests I endured over the previous several years. So we now know what’s wrong. We even know the cause: radiation to the chest to treat cancer over 40 years ago. I can’t whine too much about that. The cancer was cured and I got (so far) 40 years of life I otherwise would not have had. The challenge now is determining the treatment. The two surgeons I’ve met with agree that surgical intervention is necessary, but they don’t agree on the details. They do agree that I’m not a candidate for the less invasive TAVR procedure. Apparently the extent of radiation damage is important to assess and won’t be apparent until they get eyes on the heart. One wants to focus on the aortic valve – the one in the worst shape and the cause of my most quality of life destroying symptoms- and take on the others later. The other wants to do all three at once. I don’t know what to do. Any recommendations? Anyone else face this kind of choice?