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Heart valve replacement surgery for Dad

Aberwacky's picture

My Dad is 83, and it very good health except for a bum heart valve.  After a couple of episodes last week (dizzy and shortness of breath), his doctor has decided it's finally time to replace it, and it's scheduled for sometime next week.  Monday he goes in for the heart catheter, and then surgery will be between then and Thursday.


So:


1) Please send your positive thoughts and prayers to Northeast Arkansas (and a few to me, because I'm stressing greatly over this).


2) Can anyone that's been through this let me know what the recovery is like?


THanks,


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Canuck's picture

(post #53339, reply #1 of 47)

Hi Leigh, I don't know anything about this but I'm sending good thoughts your way.

Adele's picture

(post #53339, reply #2 of 47)

Warm thoughts coming your way from FLA!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Aberwacky's picture

(post #53339, reply #3 of 47)

Thanks for the good thoughts.  Work is extremely stressful right now in multiple ways with no end in sight, and when I found out last night about Dad's surgery, I just broke down.  The proverbial straw.


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
dorcast's picture

(post #53339, reply #4 of 47)

I'll be thinking of you and your dad. I know you have so much going on already, I'm sure this is very stressful. Hope all goes well.

Best,
Doreen

Jean's picture

(post #53339, reply #5 of 47)

Good thoughts and prayers for a good recovery. Keep us posted.


"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,
public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
                                               - Cicero  - 55 BC
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Jillsifer's picture

(post #53339, reply #6 of 47)

I will keep your family in my prayers.

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver us!



Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

ashleyd's picture

(post #53339, reply #7 of 47)

Several of my older friends have had valve replacement and it seems to be a fairly routine procedure, recovery was good and quick, definitely a new lease of life for them. No surgery is without risk but this procedure seems to be fairly safe and effective. Good luck to you both.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

RuthWells's picture

(post #53339, reply #8 of 47)

Oh honey. Good thoughts winging your way.

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

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AnnL's picture

(post #53339, reply #9 of 47)

No advise on recovery, but sending all the positive thoughts I can muster.  

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Heather's picture

(post #53339, reply #10 of 47)

As Ashley said, this surgery is very commonly done and most people bounce right back. But this is your Daddy, so it's a very special case. I'm sending good thoughts your way, please keep up posted. And I hope things settle down at work eventually.

Marcia's picture

(post #53339, reply #11 of 47)

Dear me, I'm so sorry, Leigh, but I do have some second hand experience, and it's all good.

A good friend's husband is in his seventies and has had a heart valve problem for many years, which were probably congenital. Things were getting worse and his docs decided it was time to replace the valve. He received excellent care, and both the surgery and recovery were uneventful. In fact, the recovery went much faster than had been anticipated.

Paul was walking the day after the surgery, and when he was home there were restrictions on how much he could lift for a number of weeks. He was weak for a while but the pain was minimal, and the weakness resolved pretty quickly.

Will e-mail you, but prayers are coming your way in addition to your father's.

DJHinAZ's picture

(post #53339, reply #12 of 47)

No experience, but lots of good thoughts being sent your way for both you and your dad!!

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #53339, reply #13 of 47)

Hi Leigh, I had this surgery done about seven years ago, so can speak first-hand. As Ashley says, all surgery carries risk, but valve surgery has become almost routine.

Your dad can expect some pain while he's recovering -- for a few weeks, his pillow will be his best friend whenever he climbs in or out of bed. But as others have said, the recovery is remarkably quick. He will likely be out of bed and walking within a day of surgery, and discharged from hospital within the week. Pain medications are very, very good these days, so if he experiences any serious pain he should not hesitate to talk to his doctor and have his meds adjusted accordingly. I wasn't allowed to drive for three months after surgery - don't know what the laws/medical advice are like where you live, but there will probably be some similar restriction on him.

If possible, do talk to his surgeon beforehand about the potential for some mental confusion or aphasia after surgery. I don't know the stats off-hand, but I do know that's a relatively common, and temporary, side-effect, but if you're not prepared for it it can come as quite a shock.

Please feel free to email me through Taunton if there's anything I can help you with - any advice, or if you just need to vent to someone who's BTDT. And best of luck to you, your dad, and everyone else involved. This kind of surgery is not easy on anyone, but it is remarkable. I for one am thankful beyond words for the many, many miracles of modern medicine.




"And then, because of the transitive reactive Halstead-era seizing properties of the Aboriginal Double Humpback Turtle, I thought, what if I add one teaspoon of clarified monkey paste?" Anonymous blog comment on "America's Test Kitchen"
Aberwacky's picture

(post #53339, reply #16 of 47)

Thanks so much--I appreciate the first-hand information Shy.  Everything that I hear about it is positive.  People have described it as "a new lease  on life."  He's had to slow down a bit since it started bothering him about 2 years ago (he's very active for an 83-year old), and I think once he recovers, he'll be much better off.  As folks have said, though, it's difficult when it's your parent.


His bad valve is the Aortic valve, FWIW. 


As many here know, my Mom has a kind of senile dementia with severe short-term memory loss, and can't be left alone for long periods of time.  This will be harder for her than for Dad, most likely.  (Although I'm sure she'll drive Dad crazy once he comes home.)  My sister is taking off to be with Dad in the hospital, and I'm going to go up for at least a few days to stay with Mom. 


I really appreciate everyone's good thoughts and prayers, and I'll pass those along to Dad.


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #53339, reply #17 of 47)

Mine was aortic valve, too. I think it's likely at his age that he'll be given a biological valve instead of the mechanical one I have. This is a good thing, as he probably won't have to take Coumadin (blood thinner) for too terribly long. It will be necessary for him to watch his diet (Vitamin K -- found in leafy greens, primarily -- is the tricky one for blood thinners) and get his blood checked regularly.


Read Bill Hartman's posts - he just had this surgery last week - for more up-to-date info. Best wishes to you and all of yours through this difficult time.





"And then, because of the transitive reactive Halstead-era seizing properties of the Aboriginal Double Humpback Turtle, I thought, what if I add one teaspoon of clarified monkey paste?" Anonymous blog comment on "America's Test Kitchen"
kathymcmo's picture

(post #53339, reply #19 of 47)

My company has just purchased a startup that makes aortic valves that can be placed less invasively using a catheter inserted into the femoral artery near the groin. It's approved in Europe and they are aiming for FDA approval around 2014 I think. It will be a much easier procedure to recoup from and could potentially be used in people who are now considered too frail for the surgery. Pretty exciting for valve disease treatment.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #53339, reply #20 of 47)

Amazing. The cardio-surgeon who did my surgery has been pioneering a laproscopic method for replacing valves. Don't know how far they've gone with this method, but the advances in the eight years since my surgery just continually astound me.




"And then, because of the transitive reactive Halstead-era seizing properties of the Aboriginal Double Humpback Turtle, I thought, what if I add one teaspoon of clarified monkey paste?" Anonymous blog comment on "America's Test Kitchen"

kathymcmo's picture

(post #53339, reply #22 of 47)

Yes cardiologists are pretty excited about this new treatment option. Because for some people right now there is no real option so hopefully if all goes well it will be in this country in a few years.

Nightrider's picture

(post #53339, reply #25 of 47)

They are currently doing "minimally invasive" coronary bypass surgeries at my hospital. The percutaneous aortic valve replacements are coming soon... very cool stuff!

BossHog's picture

(post #53339, reply #23 of 47)

I would echo what Sandra said.

My Mom had one a few years back. Seems like the revocery time was fairly long. But afterwards she felt a heck of a lot better. More energy, felt better, etc.

I hope for the best for him. And you.

Do you have some close friends or family around that are supportive? Sounds like you might need some moral support.

Progress consists largely of learning to apply laws and truths that have always existed. [John Allan May]



nexus's picture

(post #53339, reply #27 of 47)

Many good thoughts coming your way.


Cheryl

leonap's picture

(post #53339, reply #14 of 47)

You and your Dad will be in my thoughts and prayers. I know how you feel, I think. Daddy had a triple bypass many years ago. It's very scary when it's your parent facing major surgery. I've only heard of good results with heart valve replacement surgery. Hope that helps!

kathymcmo's picture

(post #53339, reply #15 of 47)

No firsthand experience or wisdom to share but want to extend my good thoughts and prayers for you and your Dad, that everything goes well and that by the holidays he is well on his way to recovery and continued good health. I will be thinking of you!


 

evelyn's picture

(post #53339, reply #18 of 47)

Leigh, lots of warm, positive thoughts being sent across the pond. Perastika!

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.
Lee's picture

(post #53339, reply #21 of 47)

Sending lots of warm thoughts your way.  I'll say a little prayer for all of you.

gardencat's picture

(post #53339, reply #24 of 47)

My thoughts are with you. My dad is scheduled to have one of his heart valves repaired next week--as long as the flu does not keep so many people off work that they have not enough staff to care for him--already happening here.

From my knowledge of cardiac surgery and what his physician told him, he will be in hospital 8 days or so, because of his age (80), and can expect a month at home of really not feeling good. Then things should improve and he should be better than before by about the three month mark.

Keep us posted on how he is doing. Hugs for you from the soon to be frozen north.

Nightrider's picture

(post #53339, reply #26 of 47)

I have a few tips on things that you can expect as well:
- your dad will go to an intensive care unit post-op. Depending on when you see him post-op, he will be connected to LOTS of different tubes, wires and monitors. This is totally normal. He may also be intubated (i.e. have a breathing tube down his windpipe) and unable to speak. The ICU docs will remove these tubes and monitors as soon as your dad is stable enough to do so.
- post-operative cognitive dysfunction is EXTREMELY common in the 80+ age group. The anesthetic combined with the surgery (a major insult to the body) and the ICU environment (lights on all the time, lots of noise, etc.) can really play tricks on the mind. If your dad wears glasses or hearing aids, make sure these are available to him as soon as possible. Being able to see and hear the environment around you helps. Try to incorporate visual cues re: time as well (e.g. a calendar on the wall, a clock, etc.). Seeing familiar faces will help as well.

Any other questions, just ask me. I do this everyday, and I'm happy to help any way I can.

KarenP's picture

(post #53339, reply #28 of 47)

Leigh, my dad, at age 66, had his aortic valve replaced. My sister had hers replaced last November. My sister had a horrible experience in her last weeks before the emergent surgery was done but recovered VERY quickly. I went to help she and her husband out (he had knee surgery the same week) and she was hard to keep down after bringing her home. If you trust her surgeon and he's done many of these; and your dad has a good attitude and is otherwise in good health he should do well. People in their 80's aren't that old anymore.
I'll be sending every good thought for a successful surgery and quick recovery.

helena1's picture

(post #53339, reply #29 of 47)

You've got it Leigh. Sending good thoughts your way.

courgette's picture

(post #53339, reply #30 of 47)

My Dad had it at 83 3 years ago. In some ways great, but if I knew then what I know now I would not have encouraged him to have it. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but there are two sides to every coin.


Mo