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Valve repair / Open Heart Surgery during Covid

  • 1.  Valve repair / Open Heart Surgery during Covid

    Posted 04-04-2021 13:44

    I'm a 62 year old woman -- previously insanely healthy!!! - recovering from open-heart surgery to repair a valve rupture that may or may not have been caused by Covid.  But in any case, open-heart surgery AND the pandemic has been crazy traumatic as I'm sure many of you know.  I'm doing okay but still have some afib (slow and controlled) problems that my doctor says will resolve, but still makes me so nervous. Also, I hate being on Amiodarone!

    Just wondering if there are others who have had similar experiences and want to chat.

    Take care, everyone.

    Liza Levine
    New York NY

  • 2.  RE: Valve repair / Open Heart Surgery during Covid

    Posted 04-05-2021 05:18
    Hi Liza,

    I'm a 70 year old male who had emergency quintuple CABG surgery 3 plus years ago after a "mild" heart attack and having been a symptom free athlete my entire life including right up to the time of my heart attack.  Like you, I was "insanely healthy" having not had a cold for 10 years at the time of my heart attack despite daily commuting on NYC/Port Authority mass transit.

    Although I have not received a formal afib diagnosis, my cardiologist did recently discover a missed or perhaps extra beat during a routine EKG, which necessitated further testing (nuclear stress test and echocardiogram) disclosing that all my grafts remain clear.  I did tell my doctor that I first learned about occasional skipped heart beats decades earlier while a marathon runner, which I understood was not unusual for an athlete with"runner's heart" and did not require treatment at the time.  I'm not sure what my cardiologist will prescribe now, given that periodic running induced sciatica has ended my running career (although, strangely, hasn't interfered with my life as a gym rat), but he seemed unconcerned once he verified that there were no new blockages.  I'll be seeing him again in a few weeks to followup on possible medication adjustments.

    Anyway, welcome to the group.  The people on this board are the best people in the world, and I hope you grow to love them the same way that I have.

    All the best,


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 3.  RE: Valve repair / Open Heart Surgery during Covid

    Posted 04-06-2021 07:17
    Dear Lisa
    Its really amazing how w well you are doing!
    It takes time to recovery from  heart surgery.  We are patients because we are learning to be patient. haha. i encourage you to accept help and attention from friends and family.  ( be kind and show gratitude to your caregivers ). My friends came over to accompany me walking around my cul-de-sac then graduating around  the block. Obey doctors orders but don't hesitate to call them with your questions.
    Ask why you are on each medication and when (and how)  can you go off or reduce them .  Ask if there are alternatives for those ones with bad side affects

    Marilyn Rosenhouse
    Dallas Tx

  • 4.  RE: Valve repair / Open Heart Surgery during Covid

    Posted 04-05-2021 08:24
    Hello, Liza, and welcome!  I am sorry to hear of your experience with Covid and resulting heart problem.  As you likely have seen from this forum, it is quite possible to still live your best life with a heart condition.

    My story - 62 years of age, I have known about my mitral stenosis for decades, it is probably due to rheumatic fever as a child, although I was never diagnosed with it and never knew I had it!  Anyhoo - the valve slowly closed up for a long time and finally, last Fall, the condition required intervention.  I had balloon valvuloplasty to re-open the valve, which successfully gave me some relief.  The hope is that this will give me a few more years before I need a new valve, and perhaps by then the mitral will be able to be replaced without full open heart surgery - my surgeon is already trialing the technique (I did not qualify for the trial, unfortunately).


  • 5.  RE: Valve repair / Open Heart Surgery during Covid

    Posted 04-05-2021 09:10
    Hello Carolyn!
    Thank you so much for responding.  Mine may also have been originally caused by a childhood "heart murmur" but no one expected the valve to rupture this year.  I thought I had until I was 95! :). A few years ago a cardiologist told me that mitral valve without OHS might be possible soon, and I thought that's what I would get.  But we just have no control, right?  I hope if we both need replacement it will be way down the road when the "Mick Jagger procedure" will be available for mitral valve.  Take care, and again, thank you for replying.  It definitely helps to hear from others with similar experience.

    Liza Levine
    New York NY

  • 6.  RE: Valve repair / Open Heart Surgery during Covid

    Posted 04-06-2021 15:00
    I had OHS in Dec 2015 to replace my aortic valve. Prior to this I did not have AFIB but after surgery I was told that I have it. Mine is very mild and I take Atenolol once daily. At this point in time I can't tell that I have AFIB unless I feel my pulse or get an EKG. I was told that my AFIB was a common result for valve replacement because of the incisions made to get the valve out.

    One thing you should discuss with your Cardiologist is the possibility of using a different med and also the amount. I found that my initial dose of Atenolol was OK right after surgery but after attending 10 weeks of rehab I actually felt worse (dizzy, tired, etc) every morning when I got out of bed. After butting heads with my Cardiologist for several weeks he had me wear a Holter monitor for a few days and the results showed my heart was beating so slow at rest and my BP was 90/55 which explained why I felt the way I did.
    He cut my dose in half and since mid 2016 I have been living a mostly normal life. (I have other health issues unrelated to the OHS)

    You have to be your own advocate and keep notes of how you feel and what activities you are doing. Also, buy a BP machine and record your BP 3 times a day. Then when you visit your cardiologist you can show him the documentation and hopefully make a med adjustment or try a different med.

    chapter 296 orlando

  • 7.  RE: Valve repair / Open Heart Surgery during Covid

    Posted 04-08-2021 08:58
    Congratulations on being well along on your recovery. Everyone has a degree of uncertainty post surgery.
    I'm unsure as to what you refer to as valve rupture, but whether it was repaired or replaced, Afib is a common condition. Amiodarone Is a powerful arrhythmic drug with side effects.  It's given post surgery but only for a limited duration. There are other drugs so ask your cardiologist for their suggestions on an alternative.
    Good luck,

    Victor Fabry, CEO
    Greylock Advisors, LLC
    Short Hills, New Jersey