I'm a 43 year old male and have know of my valve for only 9 years. I have had echo's done 9 years ago and was fine at that time. My second one was March of 97 and I had some leakage. Nov. of 98 I had more as and my left ventricle was dialated. My doctor said I had a severe leakage, but it wasn't a emergency. I had my third echo in June 99 and he said there was a slight change and he would see me in Dec. of 99 for another echo. I have had a few times when I first do some lifting or climbing movements that I have a slight shortness of breath. I should also tell you I am a full time firefighter and am thinking that this may not be the best place to be right now and feel I should think of having the valve replaced and heal up and get back to work. I am working my full work at this time. Do you have any thoughts on my condition and my age etc.? Thanks for you time and response.
The aortic valve is the valve that separates the left ventricle from the aorta. It is made of 3 leaflets or flaps that look like an peace symbol when the valve is closed. A bicuspid aortic valve means that there are 2 leaflets instead of the usual 3. A unicuspid valve means there is only one leaflet. Bicuspid aortic valve is the most common congenital anomaly of the heart. These valves are functional at birth and remain so throughout a normal life span. There is a increased predisposition to progress to stenosis (narrowing) as an older adult (60-70's) and surgical repair may be required at that time. Replacement is not generally required until the valve has an area of less than 1 cm2. There is also some increase in the incidence of infective endocarditis (infection of the valve). There is also a risk of regurgitation occuring that may require valve replacement. The timing of valve replacement is more of an art than a science and your doctor is right to follow you closely. You are probably getting close to the time and you should discuss timing with your doctor at your next visit.
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