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Heart Valve Replacement

My father is 70 years old and his doctor (a heart specialist)
advised that he get surgery to replace a clogged heart valve with
either a stent or animal valve.

In about 2 weeks, he needs to see the actual heart surgeon
to prepare for the surgery.  

It seems almost certain that he has to get this done because
the valve is clogged.

My dad also is taking cholesterol medication, and might also need
to get a bypass operation (done at the same time as the valve replacement).
He gets an angiogram done in a few weeks time to determine

Questions I have for my dad's situation:

1. What is the long term prognosis for this kind or procedure?  (Good  long term survival or not? and how many years?)
2. Is it better to get an animal valve or get a stent inserted?
3.What kinds of medications precautions need to be
taken after this surgery is done??
I believe he has to take blood thinner medication for the rest of his life??

Thanks for any info and advice.

Peter (in Vancouver, Canada)
3 Responses
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Avatar universal
Wait a minute, when I said the risk of death from severe valve disease is 100%, I meant untreated severe valve disease.  I hope that was clear.  The point is that severe valve dysfunction is a terminal condition if untreated, like a lot of other severe conditions are -- for instance, diabetes.  Diabetes also will eventually kill you if it is untreated, and so will severe valve disease.  However, treatment can make either valve disease or diabetes into something that is very managable and that you can live with.  

Also, when I said that blood thinners are not required with an animal valve unless the patient needs blood thinners for some other reason, I was thinking of coumadin.  SOME doctors do think it is a good idea for people with an animal valve, especially older people, to be on aspirin therapy -- as long as the patient has no contraindication to taking aspirin.  SOMETIMES if aspirin is contraindicated, those same doctors will want the patient to try Plavix.  But, consistent with what I stated above, coumadin is not required for an animal valve, unless the patient has some other reason to need to take coumadin.  And not all doctors necessarily even recommend aspirin/Plavix for someone with an animal valve.

A 70 year-old who gets an animal valve and has a successful surgery with no major complications is usually going to live long enough with that animal valve to die of something that is unrelated to the valve problem.
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Avatar universal
There is a small risk of death or permanent disability from the surgery, but the risk of death from severe valve disease is 100%.  Good cardiologists don't recommend heart surgery unless and until the risks of doing nothing are clearly greater than the risks of the surgery.

I would pick the best surgeon I could find and then let him pick the type of implant. With an animal valve, blood thinners are not required unless the patient needs blood thinners for some other reason.  

Good luck with the procedure.  It is done everyday, and the vast majority of patients do very well -- even, as telemachus points out, people who are much older than your father.  Following a successful surgery, your father should have the same life expectacy that he would have had otherwise.
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Avatar universal
For some peace of mind. My best friends mother at age 92 got it done with a valve and she is doing great almost 3 years later.
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