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90 Year Old Aortic Valve
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90 Year Old Aortic Valve

My dad is 91 years old and his cardiologist told us his aortic valve is barely functioning.  The diagnosis is he could live a day or month but not very long.  His left arm has retained so much fluid it is nearly double the size of his right arm.  What should we do?
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Avatar_f_tn
At 91 years old, I don't think your dad should change a thing.  Afterall it got him to the age he is now.

A diurectic might be used to take care of the swelling, and make him more comfortable, but other than that, I would just spend time with him, and let him know how much you love him.

There comes a time when family members have to let go, and let their loved one know it's "okay" to do what they have to do.  You'll know when that time is, and no one can tell you ahead of time.  

I hope the best for you.......
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Avatar_n_tn
I understand now.  Because he is old, I should throw him away like a piece of trash.  I should not try to help him get healthy, just get rid of him and refuse to have anything medically done.  Our family doesn't do things like that and God help yours if thats the way you feel about the elderly.
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Avatar_m_tn
As one who has been through heart surgery (aortic valve), this operation is no picnic.  My valve was replaced when I was 30, almost 35 years ago.  Now at the age of 65, I would not want to go through that procedure again.   It has been suggested that I might need double valve replacements, or a transplant.  None of these options appeal to me.  I am doing really well and the surgery hounds have been called off for the time being.   The important issue is:  how does your father feel about the surgery?  I don’t think anyone is suggesting throwing him under the bus just because of his age.  The pain and suffering associated with this surgery must be considered.  What are the expected benefits?  Talk with him.  He may grateful to have been blest with the time he has had with his caring and thoughtful family.  There are so many risks with major surgery and more so the older we get.  I pray for your peace regarding whatever decision you make.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm not suggesting you throw him away, but there is a very fine line between helping and causing undue suffering.  Anything done to your dad at this point will most likely cause him more pain and suffering, than it will do in making him heathy again.  He's 91 years old, with major health issues.  

I know it's hard, as I've lost both of my parents, and I wasn't ready to let either one of them go.  The saving grace is, they aren't suffering anymore, and that does come with some degree of comfort for those left behind.  My Mom started with Hodgkins disease(cancer of lymph nodes), which was treated and she was healed, but the healing process gave her lukemia which eventually took her life....and I still feel tearful when I think about her, and all of the suffering she went through.  There finally came a time when we told her we would be okay, and she could go ahead and do what she needed to do......she passed about 12 hours later.  My Dad died of alzheimer, and it was a long drawn out process, but one night he went to bed and he never woke up, and we all knew he was at peace, finally.  Both of my parents were born again, so I believe they have it better than I do, right now, and we'll all see each other again, someday.

JFYI, I am dying myself, and surgery "might" make a difference, but probably not.  The bottom line is, it's my choice, and I don't think I could recover from major surgery, so yes, I'm reluctant to go through it.  I have stage 4 heart failure and stage 5(end stage) renal failure.  I'll be lucky to see my 60th birthday, but the doctors just keep pushing their pills, and I spend most of my time nauseated because of all of the medication.....I'll be 57 tomorrow, and I'm tired.  No one has told me that they will be okay without me yet, so here I am, still struggling, still in constant pain, still puky from all of the medication, and wondering how long it's all going to go on.  

The main reason I'm reluctant to have surgery is because when you have heart failure and kidney failure, they have to do the surgery with you awake, and I've had a couple of surgeries, recently, while awake, and it *****.

In any event, I know your pain, and I'm sorry you think I was telling you to throw your Dad away.....it wasn't my intent at all.
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Avatar_f_tn
I can really understand your pain.  I just had valve replacement in September and I am 53.  If I was 70, I MIGHT do it again.  If I was 91, I would refuse to have it.  It is a very serious and debilitating surgery and it is unlikely that your father would have a good outcome, it is a painful surgery with a long recovery period...  At 91, it would be sad to see him go through this.  When my grandmother was 95, she lived in assisted living program & was doing pretty well.  But I will never forget how furious my mother was with her because she refused to go to the dentist anymore.  Sometimes we need our loved ones to fight, and sometimes that fight is not in their best interest.  I would focus on his comfort even when it makes you uncomfortable.  I am sorry you are going through this I know it is very hard.  
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Avatar_m_tn
My mom-who we prey will celebrate her 96th birthday end of this March just had aortic valve replacement surgery-followed 6 days later with a pace maker. She survived both.
The method used was not to crack her open an she would not have survived that but through the aorta-98% successful.
The problem she has now is she has bad Lung disease-copd emphasyma and asthma-and that is a big problem. Time will tell.
I highly recommend this alternative valve replacement surgery ffor consideration to all of you not wanting to replace a valve the old fashioned way-but for gods sake go to a top hospital-this one is the Tavi Valve by Medtronics-the other is the Sapian valve.It could save your lives.
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