Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

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

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now