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New member
Jan 17, 2023
Durham UK
Hi All,
Like so many on here I've recently had the news that my aortic valve has reached the point where I need surgery. I was born with a bicuspid valve which was only picked up around 5yrs ago when the also diagnosed my aortic aneurysm. I'm 52yrs old and have always been very fit and active, I started getting symptoms around 10mnths ago. I am under a fabulous consultant at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle and have (after much deliberation) decided to go for an on-x valve.
Any members with similar experience and/or anyone else with advice on what to expect post opp would be very much appreciated.
Thanks for reading, stay well and take care all.


Professional Dingbat, Guru and Merkintologist
Supporting Member
Nov 4, 2012
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Hi John and welcome

there are heaps of threads here to read, just because someone isn't answering your question directly doesn't mean that what they wrote is not correct (or even that its rare). Thing is this is the one of the most successful surgeries in the medical repertoire.

an excellent thread as an exemplar

you will find many more

Myself I've had 3 OHS, last one was at 48, so all I can tell you is that its hard for a little while but then its just normal life again.

BTW, what tipped you to the On-X? I hope it wasn't the line of marketing trollop about lower INR levels or something. If it was, then take a good, long careful look at the St Jude. (I don't have either)

Best Wishes


VR.org Supporter
Supporting Member
Jul 31, 2022
Dayton Ohio
Welcome John - I went with On-X this past June to replace my bicuspid AV based on doctor recommendation - was not very aware of options. Plus there was a study to get away from Warfarin - that study has since been canceled. All my misgivings about Warfarin were incorrect - I should have gone mechanical in ‘14 rather than ‘22.
Lot of good information on this site.
I am back to ski patrol and running 5-10 k on a semi consistent basis. Everything seems in order - took 3 months to really hit my stride.
I’m 54 now and nobody could really tell I have a mechanical valve. The cardiologist claimed to hear the ticking, but no one else can. I notice it occasionally.
Did I mention that Warfarin is not a big deal? That was my biggest concern. Uninformed

Chuck C

VR.org Supporter
Supporting Member
Dec 5, 2020
Welcome to the forum!

I discovered this forum a few months before my aortic valve surgery and it was such a great resource for me. It was very informative to read the stories of those who had faced the procedure that I was facing and also the faced the choices that I had to make.

My situation was almost the exact as yours: born bicuspid, became severe at age 53 and got surgery (Pellicle linked the thread to my story above), had an aortic aneurysm repaired while they were in there. This procedure is also what you will likely get and is called a Bentall, which involves replacing your aortic valve and also part of your aorta.

Like you, I chose mechanical. I don't want repeat surgeries and my family has a history for longevity, so it would have probably meant multiple surgeries for me. I considered the On-x and the St Jude and ultimately decided to go with the St Jude. They are both good valves and you will be fine with the On-x. As mentioned by Pellicle, if you go with the On-x, really consider avoiding the lower INR range that some recommend of 1.5 to 2.0. There are several threads on this forum discussing this. If your cardiologist is insisting on the lower INR, I would seek a second opinion. As I mentioned, I was deciding between On-x and St. Jude and my surgeon was happy to give me whichever I chose, but he insisted that if I chose On-x, my INR range would be 2.0-3.0 not below 2.0. He and his colleagues are of the view that the lower INR is just marketing and not safe. There is much you can read about that issue on this website.

My quick list of suggestions and what to expect.

Go into surgery in the best physical shape possible. If you are not the athletic type, at least do a lot of brisk walking leading up to surgery. The better physical condition, generally the better your recovery.

Walk as often as they will let you in recovery. You will feel better, and it really helps recovery to get the blood pumping and the muscles working a little.

They will give you an incentive spirometer in recovery. You are to use this many times per day to open your lungs back up, as the lungs are collapsed for the surgery. It is really important to use this as often as they tell you. If your situation is like mine, they will guide you few times per day, but you will also be expected to use it on your own several times. Don't cut corners with this- it is super important for a safe recovery to get those lungs opend back up.

It is not a cake walk, but recovery is not as bad as you might think. Take each improvement in recovery as a victory that you can feel good about and look forward to the next victory. You will be fully recovered before you know it.

Also, you can be very active with a mechanical valve. I came from my jiu jitsu class an hour ago, in which I wrestled with guys in their 20s and 30s. The mechanical valve has posed no issues in being physically active for me, and many others here on the forum.

Best of luck with your procedure and please keep us updated.