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OK so it isn't angina. My dad has a 'leaking valve' in his heart

(94 Posts)
OrmIrian Thu 12-Nov-09 12:35:33

GP diagnosed angina. We we all busy trying to calm him down by telling him that it wasn't that serious and he shouldn't worry sad Got taken into hospital last night in an ambulance and now he's all hooked up to machines.

He's feeling OK apparently - releived that something is being done - but I feel so bad that we didn't beleive that he was really ill. And the GP needs shooting! He told dad he had angina and didn't send a letter to the consultant until nearly a week after he'd seen my dad.

OrmIrian Thu 12-Nov-09 12:48:23

Anyone? Please.

Hello, I'm glad your dad has got a diagnosis now.
Is it his Aortic valve that is leaking? It is quite common to get angina type symptoms with this. Have they said what they're palnning to do yet?

OrmIrian Thu 12-Nov-09 12:52:56

Hi Stan,

thanks for answering. No, he saw someome this morning and had more tests but mum won't know until she goes to see him this afternoon. I am going this evening so will find out then.

Oh I'm sorry to hear he was more ill than it sounded, I was so busy being reassuring that angina was no big deal! Still, at least he's in hospital and getting properly looked at now - I don't know anythign about leaking valves I'm afraid, but at least he's in the right place to find out properly.

Try not to feel too bad, if you had thought he wasn't really ill, you wouldn't have been on here asking questions about angina in the first instance, rather you'd have been on AIBU asking whether or not he was just being lazy wink
So poor taste jokes aside, what he has is a regurgitant valve.picture of the heart valves
If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say it's his Aortic valve. Essentially what happens is the when the left ventricle(LV) contracts the blood should squoosh out into the aorta and then around the rest of the body. In a regurgitant valve, some of the blood flows back ito the LV. This then causes symptoms such as dizziness on standing/exertion, shortness of breath, and angina type symptoms.
If you have any other questions I am around, withbiscuitand a soothing cup of tea if you need it grin

presumably he will have it replaced?

OrmIrian Thu 12-Nov-09 14:03:19

Thanks stan and amis! No problem amis, I asked for reassurance and you gave it to me. Twas welcome smile I am quite releived in a way as he is being taken seriously and apparently is feeling more comfortable.

kreecher - i don't know. He is 78 so don't know if that will make a difference.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Thu 12-Nov-09 18:24:05

Sorry to read this Orm. Your GP should really have referred your dad sooner. Grr.

At least he has a proper diagnosis now and hope you get some more information this evening.

OrmIrian Thu 12-Nov-09 21:06:54

Hi everyone.

Went to the hospital straight after work- got a bit stuck at reception cos I asked for my dad by his used Christian name not his real one hmm But we got there in the end. Dad happy as Larry - much more comfortable, being amazed at how good it all was (he has had private health care for years). He obviously beleived all the depressing headlines. Chatting to all the nurses. Tomorrow they are sticking something up a vein to look at his heart apparently (non-medical person alert!). And then they will take it from there.

But when I popped in to see my mum aftewards she was in a bad way sad Tearful and sad. I think that last few weeks have taken it out of here - the worry of it all. But I took her some roses and we had a long chat. Hoping she will get some good sleep tonight.

DS#1 came out to meet me when I got home to see if I was OK grin

THanks saggar - I feel that he let dad down a little bit but I guess things like this happen. Just glad it's being sorted now (fingers crossed).

saggarmakersbottomknocker Thu 12-Nov-09 21:15:42

Glad he's feeling chipper Orm.

Hope your mum is OK too.

Wonderstuff Thu 12-Nov-09 21:22:04

My grandmother had a leaky valve. She was refered to the hospital by GP after getting frequently breathless. They diagnosed it, sent her home and told her to get another GP appointment, 2 days later she collapsed on me and had to be blue-lighted into hospital. They eventually (weeks later) did an operation to replace the valve, I don't fully understand how but they went in through a vein/artery in her leg so it was non-invasive. She was soo much better after the operation, she recovered quickly and felt much better. She is in her mid 70's but really recovered well. She had the operation at St Mary's which was fantastic.

OrmIrian Thu 12-Nov-09 21:28:34

Thanks wonderstuff. That is reassuring. Dad is a similar age.

Wonderstuff Thu 12-Nov-09 22:26:11

Thinking of you all x

displayuntilbestbefore Thu 12-Nov-09 22:28:38

All the best to your Dad, OrmIrian and hope you and your Mum can stay chipper.
Glad he's being treated and the doctors are now on the case.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Thu 12-Nov-09 22:32:05

My dad has his heart valve replaced. He recovered pretty well but it was a big, invasive operation.

Hope things go well for your dad.

Harebelle Fri 13-Nov-09 08:27:51

Hi OrmIrian

If it helps to have a bit more of an explanation, your dad will be having a procedure called cardiac catheterisation today. It is a very common procedure, initially diagnostic but often proceeding to treatment there and then. Lots of people have this done as a day case procedure.

It involves introducing a long, very fine guide wire and narrow guage flexible tube into the right femoral artery (under local anaesthetic) until the tip sits at the entrance to top right chamber of the heart.

Under constant xray visualisation, an opaque contrast (dye) is then introduced via the tube, enabling the cardiologist to see whether blood flow is normal/adequate through each of the arteries supplying the heart and through the heart itself.

It would be usual for someone of your dad's age to have some degree of coronary artery disease (ie 'furring up') which may require balloon angioplasty and possibly a tiny stent to be introduced to keep the narrowed artery section open and patent.

The whole procedure generally lasts anything from 45 mins to a couple of hours and your dad will be confined to bed for a few hours afterwards for close monitoring and to ensure that the femoral incision site (v small) clots properly and doesn't bleed.

As with all procedures there needs to be a risk/benefit consideration relating to each individual patient - with regard to the incompetent valve it may be judged best to 'medically manage', ie support the heart's reduced pumping ability with drugs, or refer to a regional cardiac centre for open (involves going through the sternum to expose the heart) or percutaneous (via arterial access - MUCH less invasive) repair/replacement. This can be with a metal valve or from a pig. Either involve taking lifelong medication to reduce complications afterwards.

Hope this helps. All the best to you and your family.

I hope everything has gone/goes well for your dad.
My husband has Aortic Valve Stynosis (not sure if I spelt that correctly!) Which is a leaky heart valve he has had it since he was 14 due to a bodged (different) operation to correct a valve that was to small.
He has been told at every appt since he was 17 he'll be needing the operation in 10 years he's 27 now and still no sign!
He seems to do well on Blood pressure tablets so they are letting him get on with it. hmm
What im trying to say is that my DH can pretty much do everything the same as normal after having the same procedure so I hope your father a speedy recovery and the same outcome.

OrmIrian Fri 13-Nov-09 10:27:12

Thanks ferret - I'm sorry your DH has problems too.

harebelle - thanks very much! That is very helpful - in fact I will ring mum in a minute to let her know. We were both a bit confused about what was happening - dad was told but hasn't passed it on all that clearly hmm

saggarmakersbottomknocker Fri 13-Nov-09 11:18:18

Hope it goes well today Orm. Will be thinking of you and your dad.

dd has had several cardiac caths as Harebelle describes - under general though which is usual for children.

If they're doing a work up with a view to relpairing or replacing the valve, then an angiogram is standard. They will also look at the aortic valve to see if it has stiffened up , as well as looking at how well the left ventricle is pumping.
Despite what American politicians spout, age is not an issue when it comes to the type of surgery. I have known people in their eighties have this done, and with good results. Where age will come into it, is the type of valve they would choose if they decide they need to do a valve replacement. Usually for someone of your dad's age they would go with a tissue valve rather than a mechanical one. The reason being that with mechanical valves, although they last pretty much forever, patients have to take warfarin for the rest of their lives. It means regular blood tests, and there is an increased risk of bleeding. Whereas with the tissue valve, although it lasts about 15 years before needing to be replaced, patients don't need to have warfarin.
The other option is that if the vale is just leaky, they may opt to do a repair- so the native vavle is left in place and a ring is inserted to support the floppy leaflet. This can be done either as an open heart surgery, or using a procedure similar to an angiogram. HTH

OrmIrian Fri 13-Nov-09 11:58:20

Thanks for that stan.

I don't know what I'd do without MN. It's fantastic to have this much support and expertise. Makes me feel a bit tearful TBH...

No worries smile Although I have to stress that all this talk of surgery is hypothetical - it may well be that based on his angio results they decide that he doesn't warrant an operation at this stage, and treat him with medications.
And at risk of sounding patronising, it's perfectly normal to be teary, this is your dad that it's happening to, and it's not something you ever think of happening to someone you love. Getting a diagnosis of something cardiac is scarey enough,and even moreso if it has all happened over the course of a couple of weeks, it's a lot to take on board. Have some tea and biscuit biscuit grin

OrmIrian Fri 13-Nov-09 14:41:46

Just tried to ring my mum but no reply. I wonder if she is still at the hospital. Feel a bit guilty that I am not with her - but she insisted she didn't need me there. SUpposed to be working but not concentrating on anything much

saggarmakersbottomknocker Fri 13-Nov-09 16:00:06

Hope you get news soon Orm. x

OrmIrian Fri 13-Nov-09 16:14:20

Rang hospital. He went down for an echocardiogram at 3. No results for that as yet.

DH has just come home and told me that all but 3 of his class went home sick yesterday and today and 2 have been confirmed with swine flu - fingers crossed I don't develope symptoms before tomnorrow or I can't visit sad

saggarmakersbottomknocker Fri 13-Nov-09 16:30:12

Hope you avoid the oinkiness Orm. dd had the jab yesterday - I was so undecided about it - but tis done now. <bites nails>

OrmIrian Fri 13-Nov-09 20:37:52

Well mum has asked me not to visit just in case sad I don't want to increase her stress levels and I hope dad will understand.

The ECG showed that there definitely is a lleak and he is going to Bristol to have a metal stent (?) put in. On Monday.

My DB has come all the way down from N Wales to see dad and spend the weekend with mum. Bless him - means I don't have to worry about her being alone.

Kids and I are going over in the morning to see them...but not my dad sad

I'm sure your dad will understand - it would be such a shame to give him swine flu just now!

saggarmakersbottomknocker Sun 15-Nov-09 11:32:49

Hope all goes well on Monday Orm.

Hope it all goes well today Orm.

OrmIrian Mon 16-Nov-09 10:56:44


Apparently he might not get a replacement valve yet. They are going to do the tube thing today and see how it goes. He will be coming home soon though and may have to go back in again if he does need a replacement.

I feel a bit sick.

OrmIrian Mon 16-Nov-09 14:19:32

He's been to Bristol, had the 'cardiac catheterisation' (thanks harebelle grin) and in on his way back to Weston. No news yet but we are assuming that we'd have heard if anything terrib;e had happened. Mum says I can see him tonight so I am going to see her after work and have dinner with her and then go on to see my daddy smile

Good to hear he's OK, and glad that you've avoided the oink!

GrimmaTheNome Mon 16-Nov-09 14:51:04

Orm, just to add that my mum had a valve replaced 3 years ago at the age of 82 and it went fine. But hopefully the stent will do the trick.

OrmIrian Mon 16-Nov-09 15:40:44

Wow! 82? I won't worry so much about dad then.

OrmIrian Tue 17-Nov-09 10:17:39

The cathetirisation showed that he definitely needs a valve replacement and probably a bypass on the other side. There is also some problem with him dehydrating - they keep having to chuck in loads of saline through a drip.

The consultant is meeting with the surgeon today to decide what to do next.

Dad has BUPA cover and is now toying with the idea of using that to get an earlier date if at all possible. He feels a bit guilty as he has had such amazing care so far but if it means this all get done sooner it has to be worth it.

I let myself down last night by having a weep with my mum - as if she needs that as well as everything else.

If he's in hospital still, it sounds as though they will do his op on this admission, so he may find that it's no quicker going through BUPA.
If he does go down the BUPA route, I would be asking the surgeon how frequently this type of operation is performed in the private hospital, and what level of medical cover is there in his abscence. (My understanding of how the private system works is that surgeon does his op, and then visits once or twice a day, leaving a plan of action for the nursing and medical staff.)

If the saline thing has only been happening since his cardiac cath, then it may well be that they are just giving his kidneys a good flush to remove the last traces of the contrast they use to illuminate the arteries
Sendiing big hugs - I'm not afraid of the flaming grin

OrmIrian Tue 17-Nov-09 11:00:28

Thanks stan. Hugs appreciated smile

I think what is freaking him out is that someone made a throw away comment about him being up and about again 'by the spring'. Which he took to mean they won't operate until much later. I will tell him what you say about BUPA - he was thinking that they would do the op in the same place with the same staff, just paid for by BUPA.

Oh yeah! I hadn't thought of that optionblush
If they reckon he'll be up and about by the spring,then the op looks imminent. Basically, when they do cardiac surgery, they cut through the breastbone, which is then wired back together. It is recommended that patients don't drive, do any lifting or straining of the upper body for a good 6 weeks, to enable the bone to knit back together again. Most patients will tell you that although they feel better immediately after the surgery in terms of their symptoms, it can take a good 3 months to feel back to full fitness, so Spring is a realistic time frame for him to be back to all his normal activities.

OrmIrian Tue 17-Nov-09 11:37:00

Aha! that would make sense. Of course it is a major op so I guess it will take time. Will drive him crazy seeing the garden and not being able to get out there grin

I am hoping mum will hear something this afternoon.

Fingers crossed that he gets it done soon - Six weeks recovery period means that he'll just be fit enough to be able to cook Christmas dinner as a reward for you all fussing over him for the past few weeks grin

OrmIrian Tue 17-Nov-09 12:30:55

Have got permission to leave work early tomorrow and pick the kids up so they can see him.

OrmIrian Tue 17-Nov-09 19:35:02

One benefit if that I must be losing weight hmm I have no appetite atm.

JuanMoreTime Tue 17-Nov-09 19:36:27

love to you
my dad had ongoing heart issues a while back. they do do amazinf things though.

OrmIrian Tue 17-Nov-09 19:37:57

Thankyou juan. We are hopeful but still nervous.

JuanMoreTime Tue 17-Nov-09 19:39:04

i likey it when people call me Juan. a lot. grin

yes he has had two heart attacks years ago and has just had an angiogram today to check it is all ok (which it is)


saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 18-Nov-09 10:18:19

Hope it puts your mind at rest seeing him today Orm.

OrmIrian Thu 19-Nov-09 10:03:35

Op next Friday if he doesn't get bumped.

Private would only have made 2 days difference.

Glad to hear things are moving, and that you have an action plan. How are you bearing up?

OrmIrian Thu 19-Nov-09 11:44:42

Can't sleep, can't eat, getting mild panic attacks. Apart from that absolutely fine grin

It's crazy - I am not nearly so worried now but I am still stressed. Running up and down the mway to see mum and then dad isn't helping.

OrmIrian Thu 19-Nov-09 14:00:43

DS#2 was so sweet last night. When we got to the hospital mum was just leaving and dad had walked down the corridor to say goodbye and to wait for us. The 2 older ones gave him a hug and then DS#2 just stood there looking desperate for dad to notice him and then gave dad the biggest tightest hug I thought he's hurt him. He and dad are very very close. And then when we went to sit in the visitors room dad sat in an armchair and DS#2 sat next to him - within minutes he has curled up and put his head on dad's arm and held on tight. God help us if anything goes wrong sad

OrmIrian Fri 20-Nov-09 09:54:37

I just rang my mum. Dad is fretting about finances and making her move money about his accounts, and hassle financial advisors and write letters left right and centre. She's getting worn out with it all. But she doesn't dare not to do it in case he gets upset. He's also depressed but we're told it's part of the condition. I wish I could get up there more often. Mum has had enough sad

saggarmakersbottomknocker Fri 20-Nov-09 10:13:08

Your poor mum Orm. I agree though, a degree of depression is normal, it's all a bit of a wake up call isn't it? A realisation that they won't go on for ever. Hope all goes well on Monday and he's soon fighting fit again.

Poor you - it must make it extra hard to be at such a distance. I'm sure the financial stuff is unnexcessary, but I guess it's his way of trying to be "in control" of the situation. I take it there's no real way to get up there for a couple of days?

OrmIrian Fri 20-Nov-09 10:20:16

amis - that's the shameful part blush I only live 20 miles away. So I go to see them both 3 or 4 times a week, but I'm still working and the kids need me too. I have hardly seen DH since dad was admitted.

Gosh if you're seeing them 3 or 4 times a week, that's hardly something to be ashamed of! I thought from the way you were talking, you were far away and hardly got to see them!

Between job, children etc, of course you can't manage more than that. I'm amazed you're managing that much.

Orm, Sorry to hear that it's so stressful at the moment. You are doing a great job supporting everyone, just make sure that you are getting some support for you <<waves to Orm, opens bottle of wine and offers shoulder>>
Has your dad spoken to anyone other than medical/nursing staff? I think that it might be really useful for him to talk to another patient who has had a similar operation to what he's about to have done. IME, seeing and talking to someone who has had a similar kind of surgery can do more to allay a patient's worries than all the talking that medical and nursing staff can do.If you think it's appropriate, it's also useful for you all to go and have a look around the ITU where he'll wake up, so you all are familiar with what it looks like and the staff are usually really good about explaining what will be happening up there, as well as what all that equipment is for. Having it all explained can help to take some of the anxiety away, and give him some control over his recovery. (eg some patients like to know that they'll have their teeth in and glasses on as soon as they wake up, so they'll look "normal" for visitors).
Enjoy your weekend, and don't do too much!

OrmIrian Fri 20-Nov-09 14:19:32

Thanks stan. Dad is having the op at BRI in Bristol - he is now in Weston General so we can't really go and have a look. In fact we aren't sure if he'll be able to have visitors when he is there - may be straight back to Weston after the op.

I have met/heard of loads of people who have has a bypass since dad went it and all seemed to do very well. But short of dragging them all in to see him grin all I can do is relay their stories as well as I can. Doesn't help that the chap opposite dad had a bypass (in another hospital) and is in Weston now because he got an infection from it.

OrmIrian Sat 21-Nov-09 17:11:47

He seems a lot better today. Much more cheerful. He got some sleep last night which helped.

I took him a cheap and cheerful CD player and got some audio books from the library. He was finding it hard to concentrate on reading.

The doctor told him that the damage to his heart wasn't down to lifestyle (boringly clean-living my parents) but due to childhood illness - probably pneumonia when he was 10.

Glad to hear he's feeling a bit more chirpy - good thought about the audio books, it can be very hard to concentrate in hospital. Interesting about the cause - I know my gran had a weakened heart due to rheumatic fever (probably) when she was young. I guess these sorts of things just didn't get picked up n so much back then.

fishie Sat 21-Nov-09 17:23:36

orm i'm sorry to see this. my dad had a heart attack and heart failure almost 10 years ago, he was given 5 months to live but he is more or less fine now, just can't go above a certain altitude. he also gets tired easily and has to take a lot of drugs.

it was a terrible shock at the time, it felt like saying goodbye forever every time he went out of the room! once you get past the op you can all start to concentrate on recovery. glad your dad is feeling better today. xx

OrmIrian Sat 21-Nov-09 19:45:55

Thanks fishsie smile

It was a horrible shock but everyone is getting calmer about it all now. I had that 'last time' feeling when I saw him in hospital the first time I visited. But that is fading a little. But still a bit shaky about Friday.

fishie Sat 21-Nov-09 20:41:52

it is of course so frightening for them as well. big strong dads suddenly becoming mortal.

now mine makes me do loads of work when i go round for lunch smile

saggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 23-Nov-09 09:57:19

Hope it goes well today Orm.

OrmIrian Mon 23-Nov-09 09:58:09

Thanks saggar, but the op isn't until Friday. I wish it was today - we all need to get it over with sad

OrmIrian Mon 23-Nov-09 11:30:30

BTW does anyone know how you find out the outcome of an op? Dad will be there without us as they are moving him to a different hospital for it. Will anyone inform us or will we have to keep ringing for news?

saggarmakersbottomknocker Tue 24-Nov-09 08:22:15

Sorry Orm. [dozy]

I'm sure the staff will call, or ask for a number you can call; if he's having an 'open procedure' I would assume he is going to ICU afterwards?

He'll go to ITU straight after the op. Usually the nurse who is caring for him will ring you. It might be worth ringing BRI cardiac intensive care and finding out what they normally do, it'll also give you chance to find out about visiting times and restrictions, parking,what to bring, all that kind of stuff.
It's also worth knowing that the surgeon will usually quote you a 3-4 hour op time, however from the time the patient leaves the ward, goes to the anaesthetic room, has the op and then is transferred to ITU, it can be about 5 hours. It panics a lot of people when they ring ITU after 3 hours and the patient still isn't back.
hang on in there!

OrmIrian Tue 24-Nov-09 12:29:04

Thanks. I will try to contact the BRI to find out some more.

Wishing your dad all the best for tomorrow. Hope you're ok x

OrmIrian Thu 26-Nov-09 20:50:48

Thanks stan smile

I am currently faling into a bottle of wine.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Fri 27-Nov-09 10:37:35

Hope it all goes smoothly today Orm.

OrmIrian Fri 27-Nov-09 18:56:08

Thanks saggar.

It went well. But it took until just after 4pm to find out. I feel like I've aged about 10 yrs today.

SO releived.

Thanks everyone smile

OrmIrian Sat 28-Nov-09 16:45:05

Went to see him in ICU. sad. He looked dreadful, a little frail old man. He was half-asleep and unclear in his speech. Blood-pressure kept dipping and the alarm went off. I guess it's early days.

I don't think I can face doing that trip again too soonsad DH says he will take mum tomorrow but I can't help feeling that's copping out.

OrmIrian Sat 28-Nov-09 20:43:00

harebelle, stan... anyone who knows about such things, is low bp a big problem in the circs? I am assuming not as no-one was rushing around in panic. Hope not sad

Sorry to hear he wasn't looking so well. Low BP isn't uncommon after surgery. There can be a number of things causing it at this stage. Don't read anything into the alarms going off - they always do! He will still have a lot of sedation floating around in his system, which would account for his speech and drowsiness. After this type of surgery it's extremely common to be anaemic, however these days medics are reluctant to transfuse unless it the haemaglobin level is very low. Also, approximately 20-30% of patients undergoing cardiac surgery will develop an irregular heart rhythm.(and IME an even higher %age of patients undergoing valve surgery) If it's going very fast it can cause a drop in BP, and make the patient feel(and look) quite unwell. It's very treatable, and patients revert to a normal rhythm with medications. If you're worried ring and ask to speak to the nurse looking after him. Although they are caring for your dad, they'll also be there for you too.
Re: not visiting tomorrow. Remember to pace yourself. He will be in hospital for at least another 4-5 days and will need entertaining then. I think you said previously your brother lives a bit of a distance from you. You know that in the long run you'll be doing most of the running around after your parents, so let him share some of the responsibility while he can. Hope he's feelin better soon. Sending some wine (and sorry if I sound like a bossy mare grin)

OrmIrian Sun 29-Nov-09 11:24:24

Stan - you are a star. That is what I needed to hear! Apparently the low BP only started when they made him sit up just before we got there. THe nurse was getting him back into bed as we left.

DH is taking mum to Bristol today. She is driving herself on Monday afternoon and I will take her up on Tuesday evening. With luck he will be out on Thursday or Friday. If he still needs hospital care after that he will be transferred back to Weston (thank goodness).

DB lives in N Wales so can't be here all the time. But he's coming down next weekend to help mum get dad settled in at home. Can't ask much more than that I don't think.

OrmIrian Mon 30-Nov-09 16:55:02

Grrrrr! Is it OK to be cross with a sick person? Mum has a mild tummy bug today - I don't think it's serious but she didn't want to pass it round the ICU. But when she spoke to dad he got ratty with her because it meant he wasn't going to get his razor angry She and I have been running ourselves ragged and this is the first day in nearly 3 weeks that he hasn't had any visitors.

If he carries on like this when he gets home I am going to have a sharp word with him. My poor mum is exhausted.

At least it means he must be feeling better I suppose...

That is a definite sign of recovery grin.

OrmIrian Tue 01-Dec-09 12:34:27

He's in HDU now which I think is progress but he had to have a blood transfusion. Am going in tonight.

Harebelle Tue 01-Dec-09 16:28:52

Sounds like he's doing well smile
Kindest regards x

saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 02-Dec-09 07:55:37

Hope you found your dad in good spirits Orm. The transfusion will perk him up a bit I should think.

I notice that you're not posting over there at the moment with all this going on with your dad but there's sad news about MrTwink on the runner's thread.

OrmIrian Wed 02-Dec-09 10:18:12

Oh no sad I will go and look.

OrmIrian Wed 02-Dec-09 10:32:49

I feel very petty worrying now sad. Poor twink.

One more question if no-one minds. His blood is too 'thick' and they are giving him warfarin to thin it. So he won't be coming home this week. Is this serious?

Harebelle Wed 02-Dec-09 10:44:41

One of the body's responses to surgery prompts the activation of clotting mechanisms within the blood which, unless it has been a procedure allowing a speedy return to mobility, indicates some degree of medical management to minimise risks of embolic events ie DVT, PE or stroke. This is often achieved with antiembolic stockings and daily anticoagulant injections, but after a major procedure such as coronary artery bypass it's fairly common to be warfarinised for a while.

It may also be the case that your dad's heart rhythm and heartbeat strength (contractility) is being closely managed through medications in order to protect the newly grafted vessels in the earliest stages of healing, in which case a sluggish circulation increases the risk of clots forming. For this reason they may also want to keep BP relatively low.

They will be checking his blood everyday at the moment and will be adjusting all drugs on a daily basis according to results and his physical condition.

Best wishes x

There are a few reasons he would have warfarin following cardiac surgery.
If he had a mechanical valve to replace his native valve, then he will be on warfarin for the rest of his life, as it prevents clots forming on the surface of the implanted valve. Some surgeons will use warfarin for a short period (usually about 6 weeks) for patients who have had tissue valves as well.
The other reason would be if his heart rate had become irregular (atrial fibrillation), and this had not responded to the usual medications. Because the heart rate is irregular, there is a small risk that clots can form in the left ventricle, which could cause a stroke. Warfarin will prevent this happening. Usually the heart rhythm will have settled down after 6 weeks and the warfarin can be stopped.
It takes a couple of days to get the warfarin dosage right,and will need regular blood tests to make sure that his blood is at the right consistency. HTH!

OrmIrian Wed 02-Dec-09 11:07:38

Thanks both. Now why couldn't his otherwise lovely nurse have explained that to me?

Have to say that his care has been excellent. Fanastic friendly staff, spotlessly clean wards. And food has been good shock We have no serious complaint at all - but communications is a bit of a problem in both hospitals he's been in. But it's such a minor niggle really. Their main task is to care for patients not pander to rellies I guess.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 02-Dec-09 11:25:21

It's not petty to worry Orm. Hope he's back home with you soon - with or without the warfarin.

OrmIrian Thu 03-Dec-09 11:08:23

Yay! Dependent on his latest blood test he will be home this afternoon!


Woohoo! Christmas has come early!!

OrmIrian Thu 03-Dec-09 15:40:09

It's amazing when you think of it though. After such a big operation. I am 100% impressed with the NHS right now ! grin

saggarmakersbottomknocker Thu 03-Dec-09 18:27:08

Yay for your dad (and the NHS) smile

OrmIrian Sun 06-Dec-09 19:20:14

He's getting better day by day. Still very tired and not eating a lot but more coherent and lively every day. GP fully on board now and has promised to come and test his blood at home so he doesn't have to go to the surgery.

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