16 years with my bovine valve

Help Support ValveReplacement.org:

Debster

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
566
Location
Louisburg, Kansas
Congratulations! That is awesome! My mom got her mitral piggy in 2005 also...she was 65 at the time. They told us 10 years as well and that made me very happy-here is to 20 or more I hope!!
 

Croooser

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
20
Congrats! It's good to hear about a long term tissue valve case. Here's hoping it keeps on keepin' on.:)
 

MKM

Active member
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
31
Congratulations and thank you for sharing. 16 years is quite a milestone!
 

marie

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Sep 24, 2007
Messages
2,259
Location
Cajun Country
I just remembered that today is the 16th anniversary of my aortic valve replacement. I rarely think of it. My bovine valve is still working well, and getting 20 years out of it seems like a real possibility.
Congratulations what a great milestone
 

Flymark

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Messages
7
That’s great news, congratulations. I’m hearing more and more about increasing longevity for the tissue valves.
 

charlottekaye

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2012
Messages
59
Location
georgia
I hope you don't perceive this as negative, but - my Dad, who should be alive today, died 9 years ago because his arrogant cardiologist kept telling him all was well with his tissue valve till the minute he was at death's door. Same thing happened to me in 1997. The surgeon who replaced my tissue valve said I barely made it. So, I am a proponent of preemptive replacement. An elective surgery is way easier than an emergency surgery. Wishing you well!
 

BAVD John

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2009
Messages
116
Location
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
I hope you don't perceive this as negative, but - my Dad, who should be alive today, died 9 years ago because his arrogant cardiologist kept telling him all was well with his tissue valve till the minute he was at death's door. Same thing happened to me in 1997. The surgeon who replaced my tissue valve said I barely made it. So, I am a proponent of preemptive replacement. An elective surgery is way easier than an emergency surgery. Wishing you well!
Charlotte,

I'm approaching 12 years this July with my bovine tissue valve. Is it possible for you to elaborate a bit on your fathers condition and your own at the time of replacement surgery? My last echo this past January looked pretty good to my cardiologist. My surgeon gave me an 80% chance that my valve would last 15 years. Thanks. I've just started reading the board again and I think this is my first post since about 2010.
 

charlottekaye

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2012
Messages
59
Location
georgia
Charlotte,

I'm approaching 12 years this July with my bovine tissue valve. Is it possible for you to elaborate a bit on your fathers condition and your own at the time of replacement surgery? My last echo this past January looked pretty good to my cardiologist. My surgeon gave me an 80% chance that my valve would last 15 years. Thanks. I've just started reading the board again and I think this is my first post since about 2010.
Of course! First, I wonder what your doctor meant by saying your echo looks "pretty good?" I don't want to bore you with our whole story, so let me just say that tissue valves can fail pretty quickly. They develop calcification that can break off and cause havoc. ( That happened to me in 1996. I felt my left side go numb and couldn't speak for a while. The feeling slowly passed, and I called my cardiologist - the so-called top cardiologist in Atlanta a few years ago- and he wouldn't let me come in to be evaluated. He just yelled at me: " Ma'am, you're drinking too much coffee." To this day, I have a piece of calcium lodged in my brain, and it's a miracle I can walk and talk. )
I went to my first cardiologist at NYHospital for a 2nd opinion, who told me I had a 50/ 50 chance of dropping dead, the next week it would be 60/40, then 70 /30, etc. She said I had to have surgery no later than 6 weeks from then, and I would have to have a top- notch surgeon, which meant a fight with my HMO. I found the right surgeon at the tail end of the 6 week deadline, and he kind of implied I was being a bit of a drama queen about being at the death's door, but after the surgery, he admitted I could have dropped at any minute. So - I know nobody wants to think about replacing the valve again, but - tissue valves are incredibly dangerous because of the potential problems with the calcification, which happens to everyone. My Dad's cardiologist, the " best" cardiologist in Sarasota, SWORE to me and my Mother that he wouldn't let my Dad go too long with his tissue valve before recommending surgery. Next thing I know, my Mother called me, hysterical, because my Dad's cardiologist had just informed him his left ventricle was damaged, and he needed heart surgery. DUH. ( By the time your left ventricle is damaged, you've waited waay too long to replace your valve.) That was pretty much the end for my sweet Daddy. So, IMO, replacement surgery should be done maybe a year before you need it. The odds of survival in the hands of a good surgeon is in the mid/high 90's, I believe. Also, be very watchful of your health. Infections can get into your bloodstream easier than you'd think. Last, be skeptical of doctor ratings in local magazines. BTW, I was fortunate enough to be in Dr. Clair Hochreiter's valve study at NYH from 1981. The focus of the study was to determine the best time to replace tissue valves. Being in this study literally saved my life. She is an excellent source for 2nd opinions. My goal in sharing all this with you is to just give you an extra awareness. I am not saying your cardiologist is wrong; it's just that they don't like to tell patients too much because they don't want to scare us. Personally, I believe having a little more information is an extra layer of protection, if that makes sense.
I hope I answered your questions. Believe it or not, I left a lot of details out!!
 

Chuck C

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Messages
594
So, IMO, replacement surgery should be done maybe a year before you need it.
I would second this recommendation to get surgery done early. I told my cardiologist and my surgeon that I would rather get my valve replacement 6 months early than 6 months late. When I crossed the line into severe aortic stenosis, with a valve area of .87cm2, I still had no symptoms. My cardiologist told me that he could refer me for surgery now or I could wait for symptoms. I opted not to wait for symptoms and had my valve replaced the next month.

Another suggestion I would make is to do your surgeon shopping well ahead of time, whether it is your first valve surgery, second or third. Often times when surgery is needed it is urgent or even emergency. That is not the best time to start looking for the right surgeon, in my view. I was consulting with surgeons while I was still in the moderate stenosis range- interviewing them for the job in a way, and so once I crossed into severe we already had a plan in place and moved quickly on it.
 

charlottekaye

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2012
Messages
59
Location
georgia
I would second this recommendation to get surgery done early. I told my cardiologist and my surgeon that I would rather get my valve replacement 6 months early than 6 months late. When I crossed the line into severe aortic stenosis, with a valve area of .87cm2, I still had no symptoms. My cardiologist told me that he could refer me for surgery now or I could wait for symptoms. I opted not to wait for symptoms and had my valve replaced the next month.

Another suggestion I would make is to do your surgeon shopping well ahead of time, whether it is your first valve surgery, second or third. Often times when surgery is needed it is urgent or even emergency. That is not the best time to start looking for the right surgeon, in my view. I was consulting with surgeons while I was still in the moderate stenosis range- interviewing them for the job in a way, and so once I crossed into severe we already had a plan in place and moved quickly on it.
Absolutely!
 

BAVD John

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2009
Messages
116
Location
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Of course! First, I wonder what your doctor meant by saying your echo looks "pretty good?" I don't want to bore you with our whole story, so let me just say that tissue valves can fail pretty quickly. They develop calcification that can break off and cause havoc. ( That happened to me in 1996. I felt my left side go numb and couldn't speak for a while. The feeling slowly passed, and I called my cardiologist - the so-called top cardiologist in Atlanta a few years ago- and he wouldn't let me come in to be evaluated. He just yelled at me: " Ma'am, you're drinking too much coffee." To this day, I have a piece of calcium lodged in my brain, and it's a miracle I can walk and talk. )
I went to my first cardiologist at NYHospital for a 2nd opinion, who told me I had a 50/ 50 chance of dropping dead, the next week it would be 60/40, then 70 /30, etc. She said I had to have surgery no later than 6 weeks from then, and I would have to have a top- notch surgeon, which meant a fight with my HMO. I found the right surgeon at the tail end of the 6 week deadline, and he kind of implied I was being a bit of a drama queen about being at the death's door, but after the surgery, he admitted I could have dropped at any minute. So - I know nobody wants to think about replacing the valve again, but - tissue valves are incredibly dangerous because of the potential problems with the calcification, which happens to everyone. My Dad's cardiologist, the " best" cardiologist in Sarasota, SWORE to me and my Mother that he wouldn't let my Dad go too long with his tissue valve before recommending surgery. Next thing I know, my Mother called me, hysterical, because my Dad's cardiologist had just informed him his left ventricle was damaged, and he needed heart surgery. DUH. ( By the time your left ventricle is damaged, you've waited waay too long to replace your valve.) That was pretty much the end for my sweet Daddy. So, IMO, replacement surgery should be done maybe a year before you need it. The odds of survival in the hands of a good surgeon is in the mid/high 90's, I believe. Also, be very watchful of your health. Infections can get into your bloodstream easier than you'd think. Last, be skeptical of doctor ratings in local magazines. BTW, I was fortunate enough to be in Dr. Clair Hochreiter's valve study at NYH from 1981. The focus of the study was to determine the best time to replace tissue valves. Being in this study literally saved my life. She is an excellent source for 2nd opinions. My goal in sharing all this with you is to just give you an extra awareness. I am not saying your cardiologist is wrong; it's just that they don't like to tell patients too much because they don't want to scare us. Personally, I believe having a little more information is an extra layer of protection, if that makes sense.
I hope I answered your questions. Believe it or not, I left a lot of details out!!
charlotte,

Thanks for your response. You succeeded in making more aware of potential problems down the road. My surgeon, Dr. Patrick McCarthy at Northwestern Memorial gave me an 80% chance of this valve lasting 15 years. Looks like I have more questions for my cardiologist the next time I see him later in the year.
 

charlottekaye

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2012
Messages
59
Location
georgia
charlotte,

Thanks for your response. You succeeded in making more aware of potential problems down the road. My surgeon, Dr. Patrick McCarthy at Northwestern Memorial gave me an 80% chance of this valve lasting 15 years. Looks like I have more questions for my cardiologist the next time I see him later in the year.

Quizzing cardiologists is a part of all our lives. Next for me is quizzing anesthesiologists; I anticipate a problem with my next surgery.
 

bobco70

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Dec 2, 2020
Messages
7
I just remembered that today is the 16th anniversary of my aortic valve replacement. I rarely think of it. My bovine valve is still working well, and getting 20 years out of it seems like a real possibility.
Congratulations, Duffey - I also have a bovine valve which is 4 months shy of 16 but I won’t get there as I’m up for replacement in 2 weeks. Perhaps another bovine with root expansion or a stentless as it needs to be upsized to get a TAVR down the road.
Best wishes you make it to 20 years.
Bob
 

Duffey

Me and Granbon
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Sep 29, 2004
Messages
5,257
Location
Far side of the moon
Congratulations, Duffey - I also have a bovine valve which is 4 months shy of 16 but I won’t get there as I’m up for replacement in 2 weeks. Perhaps another bovine with root expansion or a stentless as it needs to be upsized to get a TAVR down the road.
Best wishes you make it to 20 years.
Bob
Thanks Bob. Best wishes for your upcoming replacement.
 
Top