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New Heart Valve

(16 Posts)
LavenderRain Sat 24-Oct-15 10:24:13

My dad has aortic stenosis and needs a new heart valve, he is in relatively good health and has come through cancer in the last 2 years. This was a long hard process of daily radiotherapy that knocked the stuffing out of him, but now, age 70 he is in quite good Nic, apart from being breathless,

He is adamant he is not going to have this major surgery as he's been through enough. I totally understand his feelings but as his daughter I want the best for him! We are due to see his consultant in the next few months to discuss things.

I just wondered if anyone or anyone's loved one has gone through this op and how it went,

comeagainforbigfudge Sat 24-Oct-15 10:36:24

Aw of course you do.

Poor man, I can only imagine what it must be like going through radiotherapy. But glad it worked.

If it's the whole surgery thing that's putting him off, look up TAVI. It a less invasive way of replacing valves. I don't really know much about them, or the criteria for being allowed to go down that route. Or even how many centres are doing them now. Always worth asking though?

I would suggest that you don't go over it with your dad though - how awful if he decided that he would take that option but it wasn't available in your nhs trust! Eek!! Keep it up your sleeve for consultant appointment.

There's obviously a huge risk with all surgeries and I can understand your dad not wanting the hassle etc but the flip side, once he would be fully recovered, he would have a new lease of life for sure.

Maybe go on the british heart foundation site? See if you can get examples of people who've had heart surgery? HTH

Side note - I've looked after patients in their 80's who've had valves replaced

h0rsewithn0name Sat 24-Oct-15 10:41:52

My DP has had two heart valves replaced, the aortic and pulmonary (10 years apart).

He definitely wouldn't turn back. Before the ops he couldn't walk up one flight of stairs, and just before them he couldn't even tie his own shoelaces. Now he can easily walk 3-4 miles. He has congenital heart problems so can't be compared to a normal man in his 50's but his quality of life is markedly better with new heart valves.

With prosthetic heart valves you need to take warfarin for the rest of your life, and have regular blood tests. We have bought a self-testing machine and so it can be done at home (similar to diabetic testing).

I can only speak from experience, but I would definitely say go for it.

Hope this helps.

LavenderRain Sat 24-Oct-15 13:18:22

Thank you both. Thats helpful advice. Ive told dad he will feel like a new man!
He has only ever had 1 op before and thats when they found the cancer. He hates hospitals and the thought of being on a ventilator and having to spend at least a week in hospital is freaking him out!

PeekABooPinky101 Sat 24-Oct-15 13:29:45

My dad had a valve replacement just over 18 months ago (different your dad admittedly) but he is doing so much better now.
He wasn't ill ill pre op but he is now 'him' again if that makes sense.
He has returned to quite an active physical job and all is going well.

It was the first op he had ever had and the longest he had ever been in hospital. And he did find recovery hrs at first, not being able to drive, taking it easy etc. But so worth it to see how it helped.
He is also now able to enjoy his granddaughter and do things with her - she was about 8 months old when he Had his op and now a demanding toddler - who adores her granddad and loves doing things with him.

It's not easy. And it's a big thing. But well worth it.

LavenderRain Sat 24-Oct-15 21:52:00

Thanks peekaboo do you mind me asking how old your dad was when he had the op and how long was he in hospital?
Thanks thanks

Eva50 Sun 25-Oct-15 17:03:22

My friends mum had 'keyhole type surgery" to replace a heart valve some years ago. She was late seventies and very frail physically and mentally. Both my friend and I (nurses) wondered if it was sensible but about 10 years on she's still going.

comeagainforbigfudge Sun 25-Oct-15 17:54:27

Lavender a lot of units do "fast track" surgery now. In other words, once back from theatre and stable, the patient is woken up as quickly as possible and the breathing tube taken out as soon as they breathing well on their own.

It is quite a concern for a lot of patients but he can ask for a tour of ward/icu which might help calm his worries?

NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Sun 25-Oct-15 20:55:50

My mother was born with a biscuspid aortic valve that because stenoised and she needed a valve replacement seven years ago at the age of 72. She chose to have a bovine valve as she was not keen to take warfarin afterwards.
She came through surgery very well and was back on a normal ward 30 hours later.
Unfortunately she did end up with a 6 week hospital stay as she developed a hard to shift lung infection and her scar also got a bad infection in it. But she was extremely ill before surgery and also had RA diagnosed just 6 months before her surgery and was on steroids for that.
She did recover well after infections cleared up and had good health until recently.

PeekABooPinky101 Sun 25-Oct-15 21:26:25

Lavender my dad is younger and was 61 when he had his done.
Hospital I think he was in for 10 days ish. When he first came out of surgery he was in ICU for a few days, I believe this is standard, just to help with initial pain and make sure everything is ok, then into high dependency and then onto normal ward.

It was odd seeing him in ICU and with lots of wires and machines but he was able to communicate (he was worried where his glasses were!)

I know the consultants etc take everything into account and wouldn't do Anything I'd they didn't feel it was beneficial. So keep that in mind too.

Pm me if there is anything else I can help you with.

Tokelau Sun 25-Oct-15 21:48:10

Hi OP, my dad had this op earlier this year, at the age of 74. He had always been very fit and healthy before this, but in the last few years he has also been diagnosed with Parkinson's, and I think this may have slowed down his recovery a little.

The op itself was fine. He was in hospital for eight days. We saw him on the same day as the op, he was still asleep and on a ventilator but looked well, and we felt relieved to have seen that he was ok. He was awake the next day at lunchtime when we went in, and was lying down, but feeling ok, just a little weak. They had him sitting up in the evening, and he looked uncomfortable. Each day we saw him, he was getting a bit better and doing a bit more for himself.

He was in intensive care for two days, I think, but the care there was excellent. He skipped the high dependency ward and went straight to the cardiac ward, where we felt the care was not so good, and we did worry a bit. After a few days, he developed an atrial flutter, and they could not regulate his heart, so he had to have a light anaesthetic and a quick procedure, (a shock I think) to reset the rhythm and luckily that worked.

He came home after a few more days and has been improving ever since. He had a load of different medications to take, which my parents found a bit baffling, they were all at different times, and some tablets were reducing day by day, so I made them a chart of what he needed to take each day at specific times. I don't want to make out that my parents couldn't do this themselves, my father was in the medical profession himself! At the time though, he was weak and not up to it, and my mother was quite stressed and needed a fair amount of support.

Although he has recovered well, it was slow going. He got quite down about the recovery, as I think he wanted to be up and about and outside quite quickly. He lost his appetite in hospital, which is not like him! We were told that this was quite common, the patients tend to underestimate how long it will take to recover.

It's now about seven months on, and he is much better and not so breathless. However, he seems to have aged a fair bit, which I think is due more to the Parkinson's.

Sorry this has turned out to be very long. I hope your dad decides to go ahead with it, and that it goes well. I know of someone who had it done and ran a marathon a year later! The consultant told my dad bluntly that he had to have the op or he would not live much longer. He expects the valve to last for about fifteen years, and said that he would then replace it again for him, so I think the prognosis is generally very good.

AnneElliott Sun 25-Oct-15 21:50:18

DH has had it twice, but he was in his 20's. It's not an easy recovery but worth while.

LavenderRain Mon 26-Oct-15 18:02:02

Thanks all, it's been playing on dads mind, He is adamant he isn't having the op, even the angiogram is freaking him out! He says he's happy if he lasts another 5 years without the op confused
I think going through the gruelling radiotherapy and all the hospital appointments haven't helped, he is still having check ups now,

PeekABooPinky101 Mon 26-Oct-15 19:12:20

It must be tough for him and tough for you knowing he's thinking like that. I guess you could ask his consultant what the options are if he doesn't have the op now - how long will they consider it will be an option for? I guess then you know if he changes his mind he can still have the op - or if he says no that's it entirely - if that makes sense.

He's been through a lot, and more on top must seem daunting. A hard situation for you to be facing - parents are hard work sometimes thanks

LavenderRain Mon 26-Oct-15 19:35:07

They certainly are peekaboo grin

I will hopefully be able to go to the consultant with him and see what he has to say. The only reason it got investigated was because dad said to the oncologist that he was breathless and thought it was to do with the radiotherapy, confused

PeekABooPinky101 Mon 26-Oct-15 19:49:56

It's funny how these things are picked up - My dad went about something totally unrelated and his GP happened to notice something about his heart beat.
I'm sure you are doing everything you can to support and help. I think that's all you can do. As hard as it may be and as frustrating at it will be.

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