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Leaking Heart Valve
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Leaking Heart Valve

My husband is 41.  He has a family history of heart problems - both parents died of heart attacks, ages 56 and 60 - his mother was diabetic as well.  Four days ago his heart was beating rapidly and he complained of chest pains.  We went to the emergency room.  His heart rate was at 200.  They gave him an IV of cardio-zone (? I have no idea how to spell that, I typed it as it sounds).  After about 24 hours the rate went down to 140 and he developed a fever of 103.  The blood test did not show he had an infection of any kind.  He had an echocardiogram (again, not sure of the spelling).  His heart rate is now normal (with an occasional rise up to 130 - 150) and his fever has subsided, the rythym is still irregular.  The doctors have told us he has a leaking heart valve.  They are now in the process of "finding" a medication that will regulate the rythym and say that in a few weeks, if it is not regulated they will do an electro-shock conversion to "reboot" the heart in hopes that it will beat properly.
My questions are:
1.  Will this require surgery or can it be treated with medication only?
2.  What are the risks and restrictions?
3.  If he does not need surgery now, will he in the near future?
4.  What effect will this have on his life span?
Any information would be appreciated as the doctors here seem to be too busy to take any time with us.  I've been reading about leaky heart valves on the internet and they all mention surgery, but the doctors have not said anything about that to us as of yet.
Sincerely,
jm
Related Discussions
Avatar_n_tn
Dear 2003,

Without knowing which valve is leaking and the severity, I am not able to answer the questions you have presented. It sounds as if the rhythm disturbance your husband has is atrial fibrillation or flutter, I can not tell. Please write back when you have more specific information regarding which heart valve is leaking and the severity. Also include the type of rhythm disturbance.


Thanks for your question,


CCF-MD-KE
8 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
JM
I also had an echocardiogram over a year ago and was told one of my valves has a small leak.  The cardiologist said the leak is harmless, not to worry about it.  Since then I talked to different people (on the web) with small leakes and their cardiologist don't seem to worry too much about it.  They call it a heart murmur (sp?), lots of people have heart murmurs. Of course I don't know how much of a leak your husband has.
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Avatar_n_tn
Just to clarify, a heart murmur does not imply a "leaky" heart valve.  A heart murmur is a sound created from blood flow accross a valve, off course they could be leaky but a murmur doesn't indicate or imply a leak.  About half the population will have a heart murmur, and most children are born with them and they disapear with age, however half the population and most children don't have leaky heart valves. If your concerned have it further investigated with a second opinion - doesn't hurt.

Take care, Alex.
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Avatar_n_tn
Here's a good one.  I have had 3 echos. 1st shows no mvp, but mild regur. 2nd, done just months later, shows mvp with mild MR and TR.  3rd shows MVP with myxomatous appear'g mitral valve and trace regurg.  Now, today with a TEE I have a little prolapse ,I don't have myxomatous chgs, I have trace regurg.

My cardio/ep had just updated my primary about my need for antibiotic prophylaxis and my dentist, too.  Now, cardio says I don't need it.

It is so frustrating and confusing, that that good news isn't received as such.  I don't know if you can understand that.

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Avatar_n_tn
Hi jan,
-
I'm shaking my head reading this.
We could have a big laugh about it, if these troublemakers (the mvp, pvc's and stuff) were not so serious to us....:-(
-
Stay healthy - ***Ianna***
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Avatar_n_tn
I really have a question:  My grandmother, 85, was recently diagnosed (after suffering for several months) with infected ventricles caused by a staff orius (sp?) infection that has been traced to a tooth abscess. The infection has caused heart and valve damage. Specifically, her mitral valve is leaking. She is being treated with antibiotics to rid the heart of infection.  What is the likelihood of the mitral valve leakage lessening after the infection is treated? Is open-heart surgery almost certain? Thank you.
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Avatar_n_tn

     In 1997 I had a "heart attack", I failed the EKG, and the stress test.  An Angiogram was done.  It showed a birth defect where my right artery is about 1/4 the length it should be and is, as my Cardiologist said, about 2 hairs wide.  Therefore, the left artery has taken over.  There was no damage to my heart, and he said the chest pains etc. were a result of stress.

     In January 2002 I had another "attack", which my cardiologist calls an incident.  Another angiogram was done after a sonogram was done on my heart.  The new agiogram shows leakage in one of the valves.  My doctors, PCP and Cardiologist, say it's nothing to worry about.  BUT I AM.  I am 56 years old, I tire very easily, I catch any cold or flu that seems to go around with temperatures, body aches etc.  My PCP says he thinks stress is the cause.  

     Any comments, suggestions??

Hoper
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Avatar_n_tn

     In 1997 I had a "heart attack", I failed the EKG, and the stress test.  An Angiogram was done.  It showed a birth defect where my right artery is about 1/4 the length it should be and is, as my Cardiologist said, about 2 hairs wide.  Therefore, the left artery has taken over.  There was no damage to my heart, and he said the chest pains etc. were a result of stress.

     In January 2002 I had another "attack", which my cardiologist calls an incident.  Another angiogram was done after a sonogram was done on my heart.  The new agiogram shows leakage in one of the valves.  My doctors, PCP and Cardiologist, say it's nothing to worry about.  BUT I AM.  I am 56 years old, I tire very easily, I catch any cold or flu that seems to go around with temperatures, body aches etc.  My PCP says he thinks stress is the cause.  

     Any comments, suggestions??

Hoper
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, Leaky Valve was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have only just been told i have small leak in 1 of the four valves but it nothing to worry about im 23 and have taken drugs and been alcahol (alcohol) dependent before now 5months ago i started recieving chest pains left arm pains neck pains shortness of breath due to minimal excersion dizzyness and light headedness now being told its anxiety my heart pounds fast only when excercise or active not when sitting still ive had no treatment and am worried because of mixed comments from different doctors
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Avatar_f_tn
I am also a bin man on rerecycling play football saturday sunday and coach children thursday nights but cant do none of the above anymore?  
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