Mended Hearts Open Forum

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  • 1.  Age and Surgery

    Posted 01-18-2022 08:27
    Greetings Everyone....

    I'm new here and I can sure use some advice. I'm 78 years ago and I just had a cardiac catheterization. Here are the results:

    · Severe 2v CAD
    · Severe heavily calcified proximal LAD in a dual LAD system.
    · Chronic total occlusion of the proximal RCA.
    · Mild non-obstructive disease along LCx/Ramus
    · Normal right sided heart pressures.

    I have felt the effects of this for years and it was no surprise but it sure took a long time for me to get the docs to take a look.

    Here's my issue. I have an appointment scheduled with the surgeon next week and my initial thought was great, I can finally get this taken care of. But now, after further reflection, I'm wondering if a benefit analysis would be positive given that I'm 78 years old. I'm aware that much of the time the disease is systemic and there are good odds that there are other issues that will need remedying down the road. I'm also pretty intimidated by the difficulty of the recovery process. I've had five operations on my back, the last being a spinal fusion, and I've grown weary of the process.

    I'm having a thought that at this age it might make sense to just kick the can down the road and avoid surgery. I have no idea what the prognosis is but I have always placed a greater value on quality of life as opposed to quantity. I'm a man of faith and I have no fear of death whatsoever other than leaving my incredible wife of 55 years.

    I look forward to hearing from members of this forum who are far more knowledgeable than me. Thanks very much.

    Best regards,
    John Audette
    Sisters, Oregon

    John Audette
    Audette Collection
    Sisters OR

  • 2.  RE: Age and Surgery

    Posted 01-19-2022 05:43

    I have no idea about your medical options, but I definitely understand your concerns and strongly recommend that you obtain a second opinion from a top interventional cardiologist before having non-emergency coronary artery graft bypass surgery.

    I had emergency quintuple CABG surgery four years ago (I was 67 at the time, athletic and with no prior symptoms whatsoever until I had a heart attack in bed early one Monday morning).  After the ambulance took me to the hospital, blood work confirmed the heart attack (my EKG was negative) and had my angiogram, I was told I had major (90%) blockages in five coronary arteries including the LAD, that stenting was not an option and that they had scheduled me for emergency bypass surgery at 6:30 the next morning, notwithstanding that I had been symptom free until the time of the heart attack and had excellent collateral circulation (possibly as a result of decades as a ling distance runner and weightlifter).  

    I don't know whether I would have survived if I skipped the surgery against medical recommendations, but I had a wife ten years younger than me and a 17 year old daughter about to enter college at the time and so I had absolutely no doubt that going through with the surgery was the right choice.  The surgery went perfectly although I caught ventilator pneumonia and spent two weeks in a medically induced coma post-surgery, which terrified my wife.  The good news was that, when they awakened me, nearly all the tubes had been removed and I was in no pain whatsoever.  I did require three weeks of inpatient rehab, but swiftly recovered. Three months later, after undergoing outpatient rehab and receiving clearance from my cardiologist, I was back in the gym lifting again and back to work.  I'm now mostly retired, still lifting 3x a week, and cycling and/or walking every day at the age of 71.

    As a postscript, I have been a zen practitioner for40 years and was not in the least bit afraid of death when I opted for surgery.

    Good luck and keep us posted.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ