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Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

  • 1.  Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 08-14-2020 13:35

    Hi all,

    My mom went into surgery at 8 a.m. on Wednesday 8/12 for a mitral valve repair. She's had a heart murmur for years, and it was time to get it fixed. She is a 63 year old female considered healthy. The surgeon was also aware of an aortic aneurysm. He's been aware of it for the last 2 years and said it was so small he just wanted to call it an enlarged aorta.

    My mom was put on bypass for the maze procedure and mitral valve repair and when they took her off, the aneurysm burst. I suppose it couldn't have happened at a better time, because they were already in there. They were technically done with the surgery at 12:15, but it took another 3-4 hours for them to get control of the bleeding. My mom was released to the ICU and 2.5 hours later, they took her back into surgery to drain blood. They brought her back into the ICU, then 7 hours later, they had to open her up again to drain blood because her blood pressure dropped. That was yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. Her blood pressure has remained more stable since the last surgery. They have left her open (taped shut) at this point.

    They are keeping her in a medically induced comma until the swelling begins to go down and she's more stable. Yesterday, concern developed about her kidneys as they are not functioning. Today her potassium and lactic acids have gone down slightly, but they're considering a gentle form of dialysis as there's no kidney improvement.

    This is not at all what we were expecting... She was supposed to have a 4-7 day hospital stay. She was supposed to be out of the ICU by now... I guess the aortic aneurysm put a wrench in things. I'm just so worried. Wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience and can offer any encouragement. 


  • 2.  RE: Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 08-15-2020 07:12
    Hi Jennifer,

    When I was 67 years old, an active athlete and weight lifter for the past 55 years, I had what they described as a mild heart attack.  It was so mild that it didn't even show up on an EKG and I was told that there was no visible heart damage.  They told me that I would be going for an angiogram, that they probably would find a blockage in one or to coronary arteries, that they likely would insert a stent or two and that I'd likely be discharged from the hospital in four days.

    The angiogram disclosed that I had major blockages in five coronary arteries, including the left anterior descending coronary artery known as the widow maker, that stents were not feasible, that I was being scheduled for emergency quintuple bypass surgery, but that I would be fine and discharged in a week.  I reassured  my wife and daughter and went off to surgery.

    I began to awaken from the surgery two weeks later.  I was in a semiconscious, hallucinatory, delusional state for another week after that.  My wife told me that, while the surgery went perfectly well, the doctors decided to keep me intubated on the ventilator another day or so in order to reduce some swelling in my heart.  During that extra time on the ventilator, I contracted bacterial pneumonia, sometimes known as hospital pneumonia, which turned out to have been caused by an atypical bacterium that required two different antibiotics to treat.  The antibiotics wound up also killing my gut bacteria and I developed a c-diff superbug intestinal infection, requiring yet more antibiotics.  I remained on the ventilator all this time.

    When I finally regained my senses, a week after awakening, I was so weak that I could't feed myself or stand, let alone walk.  I was sent to a rehab hospital for an additional three weeks, where I made remarkable daily progress.  That progress continued when I finally arrived home, six weeks after surgery, and began a walking and outpatient rehab program.  In another six weeks, I was back in the gym lifting weights again.  I am now 70 years old, back at the gym (until covid) lifting, doing bodyweight workouts and cardio.  I'm doing the same, now, either at home or un the public park, feeling like Jack Lalanne 2.0.

    I'm here to tell you that complications, bad ones, happen, but we can and do survive and even thrive.  Good luck to your mom and to you and your whole family, who I know are going through the same hell of uncertainty and unwelcome surprises that my wife and daughter experienced.  I wish you all strength, renewed health, peace and love.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 3.  RE: Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 08-15-2020 15:03
    So scary Jennifer.  Praying for your mom and also for you!


  • 4.  RE: Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 08-15-2020 16:10
    Dear Jen

    What you wrote about your mom is a lot like my story!  A "routine " microvalve repair that developed complications.  ( cardiogenic shock... rare..  very rare to survive)
    Firstly This is a very intense time for her, you, and family especially during this coved 19 time
    We know how challenging this is for you! our prayers  are with you
    second: 7 1/2  years  ago , this happened to me.  at age 62, following six years since diagnosis of mitrovalve prolapse.   my point is, here I am writing you ( very healthy grandma who has had 3 grandchildren born since then to enjoy).
    3. the surgeon had to leave my chest open for 8 days with a plastic over it . And i was in 10 day medically induced coma.   People have told me  that they looked over me and could see my heart beating .
    Please follow this advice : take good care of yourself nutritionally and get rest.  let others help you.
    Be aware: When they wake her up, she will be very weak.  it is not like on TV where people waling up from comas are sitting up and chatting and walking

    Marilyn Rosenhouse
    Dallas TX
    (214) 850-0219

  • 5.  RE: Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 08-15-2020 19:29
    Hi all,

    Thank you so much for your kind responses! Your words give me hope and are so helpful during this time.

    We got some good news today. The lactic acid levels in my mom's body were quite high the other night, as of this afternoon, they have returned to normal levels! Additionally, they have started her on dialysis, and the nephrologist thinks her kidneys will regain all of their normal function. Additionally, her liver and lungs, which were also an issue at one point, are now expected to completely recover. She's not stable yet, but big moves in the right direction. If things continue to go this way, the doctor anticipates closing her up mid week.

    I needed this breath of positive air today.

    Thank you to those who shared your amazing personal stories. I appreciate knowing what you went through and that everything ended up okay.


    Jennifer Finklea
    Reynoldsburg OH

  • 6.  RE: Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 08-24-2020 00:10
    Dear Jennifer
    God is with your Mother so what can be against her? What a terrible time your mother and you who love her so much have had. I am very happy that she will be making a full recovery.

    Henry Murphy
    HJM Taxi Management
    East Elmhurst NY

  • 7.  RE: Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 09-03-2020 22:53
    how is your mom now? hope she is on the road to recovery

    Marilyn B. Rosenhouse
    Mobile: (214)850-0655

  • 8.  RE: Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 09-18-2020 18:43

    Hi All,

    I wanted to give you an update. Marilyn, thank you so much for asking. Sorry for the delayed response. It has been a terrifying roller won't stop...and I cannot get off.

    I'll start by saying, at this very moment, my mom is in surgery #7 since her original open heart surgery Aug. 13th. She had the original surgery, then they ripped her open twice to get the bleeding under control, left her taped shut in a medically induced comma, and then closed her up a week later. That accounts for 4 surgeries. Queue the awfulness that has come about since... I have a ton of nervous energy at the moment, so apologies for the book.

    My mom's kidneys failed on her, and did so for about 3 weeks. She was on dialysis. Due to the volume of fluid retention, she developed sores on her legs and feet. Fortunately, she didn't really develop any bedsores. She complained about not regaining feeling in her legs when a lot of the volume was taken from her body with dialysis, and then the returning function of her kidneys. The doctors thought it was because there was still fluid in her legs, and that with better blood flow from moving around it would improve. Also note, my mom complained of a burning sensation in one of her legs...

    A week ago Saturday, they performed surgery number 5. An exploratory surgery to determine the lack of blood flow to her right leg. They were looking at where they inserted her groin port. They found tissue in the vein and removed it. They cleaned up the area and closed her up. On Tuesday of this week, they released her to rehab. This was a fantastic and exciting moment for our whole family! Finally! Woohoo! Recovery! It was short-lived. Within 24 hours of being at the Rehab Facility, the wound on her right heal opened up and she was being rushed back to the hospital via ambulance. At around 3 p.m. when my dad called the family, an aggressive course of antibiotics was the plan. Roughly an hour later, my dad messaged us all -- probably amputation. Needless to say, I was floored! I am still am! AMPUTATION?!

    She had necrotizing fasciitis in her right leg. It destroyed almost all of her leg. They amputated at the knee to start, and removed all of the dead and diseased tissue above the knee. She lost her hamstring. They tied-off the artery, and left the wound open to drain. They planned to go back in and amputate above the knee once the infection cleared. The infection was in her bloodstream at this point and they needed to make sure the rest of her leg stayed healthy. There was so much puss in her leg, the surgeon said it was a MIRACLE she was still alive. Another few hours, she definitely would have died. So, Wednesday night passed, and her artery remained tied-off. Phew! She didn't die! That was a scary night. And, the infection in her blood has cleared! Thank GOD! Now, at this very moment, she's back in surgery. If the tissue is healthy, they plan to amputate above the knee, and close her up.

    Here are some of the things that have come to light in recent hours...

    The anesthesiologist came in this afternoon and said he was going to do spinal sedation anesthesia... Right. My mom's on blood thinners. My dad caught that. Only reason he knew, is because they almost did it another time, and caught themselves before they did.

    Second, the kidney doctor apologized profusely today about my mom's leg. Thought it was swelling from fluid retention. Said he won't be charging them.

    Starting to have a heavy sinking feeling. Did my mom lose her leg because of negligence? I... Just don't have words right now. I cannot even begin to express the level of hurt and anger I'm feeling. And my precious mother has been a sweet saint through this. Incredibly positive, and so sweet and loving. 

    A few more things to note -- my mom went in very healthy. She had a heart murmur. That was it. No medications for anything. Diligent about physicals, not overweight, no diabetes. No issues. Just upper back pain, but come one, who doesn't have back pain? So, she was healthy. Now, she'll be leaving the hospital without a leg after a mitral valve repair. I'm truly having trouble comprehending all of this.

    Jennifer Finklea
    Reynoldsburg OH

  • 9.  RE: Mitral Valve Repair Surgery with Complications

    Posted 09-22-2020 16:02
    dear Jenifer
    your note arrived on my Heartaversary! September 18!
    i have been thinking and praying for you and your Mom. i cant imagine how you are coping!!! ( please if you have access to people to pray for your mom You should request it )
    It has taken me a few days to organize my thoughts for you and comforting words for you!
    its been exactly 8 years since my open heart surgery and complications. ( cardiogrnic shick and 10 days in coma with “open chest”). Fortunately Miracles happened on my behalf.
    1. my husband advises me to tell you that your family go to some sort of counseling ... i say he has PTSD from my heart complications)
    2. a friend of mine’s daughter had the flesh eating condition. it was terrible!!! it can happen to anyone... the heart surgery was probably just a very bad Timing ... her life was saved because she was in the hospital when it occurred and they could treat it right away!!!
    3. Empathy goes out to you!!! because of the Covid-19 you are not able to be there with her.
    I am sending you virtual hugs and Handholding

    Marilyn B. Rosenhouse
    Mobile: (214)850-0655