My mom is 82 and they want to do surgery. She has been in decent health. They have been watching her heart for 8 years now but she finally had a heart attack. She just had the dye put in to find out what the problem was. They found 4 arteries that were 50-80% blocked. They are scheduling her for surgery. Can you tell me what her chances might be?
Hi there....I read your posting and I can totally relate to what you might be giong through. My dad just had a cath procedure done today hopefully to stent some blockages. Unfornatuely they found 4-5 blockages and he needs to have open heart surgery. He is a healthy 83 year old man. I am very scared as you are as well. I would love to hear from others who have had a loved one around the same age go through by-pass. hang in there.
Thanks for commenting back to me. I'm glad to know that others have been through this as well with an older person. Do you think that bypass is the only way to go? Are there other options? my parents won't even get a second opinion. My mom is too tired to do all of the running around required to meet a new doctor let alone all the insurance issues that go with it. Let me know. Thanks again,
At cardiac rehab we have an 80 year old gentleman who has had recent bypass surgery.
He is amazing and I just have so much respect for older people. They have such history to tell you about and experiences. He took longer than younger people to recover, but that is accepted as normal, but he is doing great. We boost each others confidence during the exercises. I am so amazed at his detemination and hope I'm as fit as him at that age. Older people just need to right frame of mind to cope. If they think "oh im too old for this, I will not make it because im so weak and frail" then they will suffer. They need to think "hey, Im a young man/lady in an older body but I can get it through this, bring it on". I kid you not, the mind is very important in any treatment. Friends relatives can help with this a great deal with simple comments like "you are just a young lad/lass, you will be around for another 50 years yet". It makes them smile, but deep down they respect such comments and it makes them feel good. Personally I can spend
many hours talking to old people, I think they're great.
Thank you for your comments. I feel like she has a great attitude about this whole think. She just wants to be able to live a little better than the last few months. She has had to be very slow and she gets tired easily. I have heard that their are huge respiratory problems following this surgery and I would hate to take her back to the hospital every week to have fluids removed from her lungs. Does that happen a lot? I think that I read a lot of negative stuff about bypass surgery on the internet and now I have my doubts that the surgery will really improve her lifestyle. Any ideas? Let me know and thanks again.
Whatever you look up on the internet, you always seem to find the bad cases. Im not sure why but these are always the first to come to our attention. Underneath those bad cases are the millions of successes. If the surgical team didn't feel they could weigh up the benefits against the risks and give your mother a better quality of life, they wouldn't offer it. They obviously believe she is an ideal candidate and believe she will benefit from it. If the risks were too high, they would simply try to control things the best they can with medication and let nature take its course. Most lung problems are caused by a small infectiion sitting in the chest before surgery, unnoticed. Weakened from surgery this can develope into pneumonia. Respirators are used in such cases and the allow the lungs to recover with the use of strong antibiotics. If your mother has no history of lung disease and doesn't smoke, she will have a very good recovery.
When it comes to heart surgery for a person that's over 80, it's a tough decision because there are so many things to consider and also individual differences from person to person. With today's heart surgeries, the statistics for survival for people in their 80s are pretty high. But the bottom line is---it doesn't really matter what the statistics are if you are the one that loses your Mom because of the surgery or she has bad complications from it!
A lot depends on the overall health, overall strength, and heart strength of the 80-plus-year-old person going into the surgery. (Like if a person has diabetes, that increases their risk for death and/or surgical complications.) If you can sit down with the doctor (best if it's a heart specialist or a heart surgeon) and ask what he or she thinks your Mom's specific chances of survival are, that would be a good idea. I would also ask if the doctor's opinion of what her quality of life would be if she decides NOT to have surgery, based on what he's seen in similar patients her age with her general state of health.
Both my parents have had open heart surgery over the past two years and are alive today. My Mom was 80 and my Dad was 83 when they had their surgeries. In both of their cases, they decided to have the surgery because they felt bad and couldn't do the things they wanted to do anymore because of their heart problems. They both felt if the didn't have the surgery, they probably would not be able to live independently any more (they both lived alone in their own apartments), and that was important to them.
My Dad tried medication for a couple years and then his heart got worse and finally needed repair. (The doctors had recommended surgery almost 2 years before he had it done; he waited a bit too long and recovered more slowly than he probably would have had he had the surgery a year earlier.) They had hoped to do a stent or two for my Mom but they found too much blockage so she needed open heart surgery.
The thing is, no one has the crystal ball to know how things are going to go with a major surgery like heart surgery....which is really hard as a daughter! So whether or not to have surgery depends, I think, to an extent on how your Mom physically feels right now/these days. I would agree that it's a good idea to ask if she could try medication first; sometimes it's an option, sometimes it's not, for a variety of reasons.
Also, one thing my Mom's cardiothoracic surgeon told us upfront when we met with him before making the decision to have the surgery or not, that he wanted her to plan on doing some rehab/therapy at an extended care facility after the surgery (for about 3-4 weeks). He said his experience with 80-plus patients is they do better if they get strengthened up before trying to return home. He still recommends a 10-12 week cardiac rehab program after they get home/after that 3-4 week therapy stay. I would also ask what the doctor recommends for rehab afterwards. This was really helpful so we knew what to expect and what this surgery really involved before my Mom made the decision, and we/us daughters could look into places beforehand, because if the heart surgery goes well without trouble, they often send people home like 5-7 days later, which is pretty fast!
I am sorry for rambling; hope this was helpful. Best of luck!
Lol you will get older and you will look back and laugh at what you said. your relating to old people as a part of history etc..as if older were seperate from younger in ways that make you feel safe, unattached and only a observer of something that you fix a verb to....make you feel some what warm and fuzzy to look on the elders as a chapter in a book. Its life dear, your life, our life its who we become and we all go there, even you.
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