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Joining the Valve replacement Family

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TanMan

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
Messages
5
Hi everyone,

I am a 20 year old who just underwent aortic valve replacement as of two weeks ago. They replaced my faulty and calcified bicuspid valve with a 25 mm Carbomedic "Top Hat" mechanical valve. Initially my surgeon was deciding to use the St. Jude Mechanical, however, based on his findings during the operation and my active lifestyle he opted to use the supra annular valve. A little about myself, I am a VERY active person and have been my entire life. I run an average of 30-35 miles a week and go to the gym 6 days a week to put it into perspective. I played football and basketball in high school and am a very passionate hunter and outdoorsman. After I graduated high school, I became a firefighter and worked two tireless summers before landing a job on a helitack crew. This job is very unique as it combines the fundamentals of wildland firefighting and air rescue hoist operations all in one. This job is very physical and you have to be in extremely good shape because after the helicopter drops you off you rely solely on your crew. On a crew like this, you are only as strong as your weakest link. I was very lucky to have been given the opportunity at such a young age and am hoping I will be able to come back next season. I have an end goal in sight to become a flight nurse and have been chugging away at my prerequisites for nursing school in the off season. As all things go, the valve replacement was a very large kink in my life plan. The doctor sat me down and we discussed our options. Being as young as I am, the best route for my life in my opinion was the mechanical valve. I was not afraid of taking blood thinners in the slightest as many people use them and can be monitored easily. As for bleeding, I will now carry hemostatic gauze and a tourniquet in my truck wherever I go in case of an accident. I do not see my life changing much in the future as far as daily life. I was reassured when the doctor explained that after I recover from my valve replacement I will be able to do everything physically I was able to do prior to surgery. That means no restrictions whether it be running or weightlifting. The only issue that I see arising in the future is me getting back to my job on the helicopter. Since I am on anticoagulation medication I am worried their might be a hang up with me returning to work. Either way, I am hoping for the best so that I can get more experience with that type of job. I am not the type of person to actually make an account and respond to comments on a forum, but this forum is very helpful and if my experiences help someone else with the what they are going through then it is worth it.

Look forward to getting to know you,

Tanner
 

pellicle

Professional Dingbat
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
7,343
Location
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Hey Tanner and welcome.

I am not the type of person to actually make an account and respond to comments on a forum,
That's fine as we all have personal priorities.

I don't know if you've found it, but my page on managing your INR may be a good resource for you, especially if you are self managing.

Probably start here:

and for reference, this is a link to everything I have written or will write on my blog about INR
in my view ... search term INR

Best Wishes
 

dick0236

Eat the elephant one bite at a time
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
3,062
Location
louisville, KY USA
Hi Tanner and welcome. Like you, I had my valve replaced with a mechanical valve at a young age. Your doc told you correctly.......the valve will have very little impact on your life or lifestyle. Your most limiting factor will be the "four inches between your ears". Take reasonably good care of yourself, develop a routine for correctly managing warfarin, and try not to do too many stupid things (but we all do stupid things from time to time). Stay tuned in to this forum.....there are few valve issues that have not been explored by this group.....and virtually all member are veterans of valve surgery.
 
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DachsieMom

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2015
Messages
339
Location
CT
Welcome! You will find great resources on this website. Many helpful people!
I had a St Jude aortic valve put in at age 41. Just passed my 5 year mark. I just returned from running sprints with my daughter....life on warfarin is normal.
 

Protimenow

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
3,632
Location
California
It's not a bad idea to keep tourniquets with you, but realize that anticoagulants aren't a death sentence -- they just make it take a bit longer to form a clot. You'll bruise more than if you weren't on warfarin, so you may try to avoid things that may cause bruising. Large cuts - whether you're on anticoagulants or not can certainly be an issue, but you're not expecting large cuts anyway, are you?

Being on Warfarin should have little impact on your activity -- but you WILL have more energy after your surgery, and these tasks should be less of a challenge to your body.
 
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LondonAndy

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Aug 1, 2015
Messages
476
Location
London, UK
What a great attitude you have, Tanner! Welcome - I am sure you will indeed inspire other young people who have to go through this.

If I may offer one word of caution though. Once you are fully healed and hopefully back doing your dream job, resist the temptation to overdo things to prove yourself. When they did my valve they accidentally damaged my heart's electrics, and I ended up with a pacemaker too, and as a result I check out a pacemaker forum. I have been amazed how many athletes, marathon runners and extreme cyclists have ended up with one, leading my non-medical mind to wonder if they have strained their heart too much. It's not a big deal if you do end up with one, but it would have more of a career limiting effect.
 

Protimenow

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
3,632
Location
California
Hey, LondonAndy - I didn't know about the Pacemaker Forum (Pacemaker Club). Thanks for the link.

I have questions about my activities, and they'll probably have many answers - some good, some not so. I hope to be able to tell them apart.
 

LondonAndy

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Aug 1, 2015
Messages
476
Location
London, UK
Hey, LondonAndy - I didn't know about the Pacemaker Forum (Pacemaker Club). Thanks for the link.

I have questions about my activities, and they'll probably have many answers - some good, some not so. I hope to be able to tell them apart.
Glad it's useful! There are some really good, knowledgeable people on that site, so I feel confident you will get good advice.
 

DebbyA

VR.org Donator
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
1,177
Location
Tucson, AZ
Welcome to the forum! You may have read that it was founded as a list-serve years ago by a young man who couldn't find anyone who had gone through valve replacement. I hope you don't encounter bureaucratic obstacles to your career. We recently endured a 7-week wildfire in Tucson, and the performance of the firefighting teams was incredibly impressive.
 

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