I just got back from the Cardiologist who said my tests(echo and nuclear stress) showed I have BAV and explained what it is. He also said it is common and doesn't mean anything as far as my heart goes and my symptoms of angina. I am having a PFT test to see how bad my copd is which is what he thinks is causing my chest symptoms and was put on nitro spray as needed. He did say I will need to have another echocardiogram in a year to make sure I have no leaky valve. My question is, "If BAV is nothing to be concerned with, why would I need another echo ever if all of my chest and jaw pain, shortness of breath and fatigue are related to the copd"? Thank you
I also wanted to ask, my echocardiogram came back with slow blood flow to the heart and BAV. Then the nuclear tests came back normal so dos that mean the blood flow to my heart is fine. I felt like the cardiologist wanted to tell me very little and pat me on the head and send me along.
By BAV I presume you mean "bicuspid aortic valve." This is found in a relatively small portion of the population and is a structurally abnormal valve. The aortic valve normally has 3 leaflets, but in a bicuspid situation there are only 2 leaflets (hence the name). A bicuspid valve can cause problems over time if there is significant narrowing across the valve area which impedes blood flow and places extra strain on the heart. Many patients will end up needing a valve replacement (either with a bioprosthetic or a mechanical valve) at some point in their life. The bicuspid valve is not replaced until there is evidence that valve narrowing is causing problems (elevated pressures on an ultrasound of the heart for example) or when symptoms develop that can be attributed to the narrowed valve. A nuclear stress test only rules out coronary artery blockages and does not show if there is significant aortic valve problems. It is common practice to repeat yearly echo's in patients with bicuspid aortic valves to catch evidence of valve narrowing as soon as possible (i.e., before symptoms develop). If you also have severe COPD, then your symptoms may be caused by the lung disease rather than the valve (especially if your echo results did not show worsened strain/overload, etc on the heart). It is important that you ask your physician when he/she would recommend replacing the valve. If they recommended to you that you return in 1 year for another echo, then I must assume that the echo findings suggested normal function of the heart and no evidence of increased gradients across the aortic valve. I hope that helps!
Thank you, that does help explain it. My copd is mild if that makes a difference. I'm also going for a lung function test next week to make sure. My cardiologist didn't explain much and I didn't know exactly what questions to ask. I am grateful for this forum and can't stress enough if you don't smoke don't start, and if you do, quit!, the heart and lungs don't like it. I am 57 and 42yrs of those 57 I smoked, and I thank God I finally gave them up for good in July (my Birthday present to me). Take care...
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