Mechanical Valve - clicking

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Zoeey2011

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
24
Location
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Hi all,
First, a quick intro. I've been a member of the forum for a few months but haven't posted.
I'm in Aurora Ontario (north of Toronto), 56 and was born with a defective mitral valve that was discovered many years ago. I had a St. Jude mech. mitral valve put in Jan. 29 this year and so far things have gone very well. I'm a professional musician and I'm glad to say that I'm back to drumming with as much energy as ever. Walking and riding (bad knees-no running) for miles and back to lifting weights. Other than the steady diet of warfarin and INR checks, there isn't much of a difference to life before the surgery.

I've read many posts and followed threads here. I'm very impressed with the wealth of first hand knowledge and support here; kicks butt over my GP. This site has become a go to for me over the last while. Thanks to all of you.

As far as clicking goes, at first it drove me nuts. When I spoke to my cardiologist about it, he pointed out that the alternative of no clicking is not a desirable one. Good point there.
I've become used to it and don't notice it as much now. When I do hear it, usually in bed at night, it's weirdly like counting sheep - puts me right out.
All the best,
Thomas
Hi Thomas glad to see a fellow Ontarian. I am on Innisfil. I have a medtronics mechanical valve since 2011 and only hear at night when laying my left side.
 

ClickerTicker

Clickin and Tickin
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
5
Location
Hampshire UK
My MVR was in 2002 - most of the time it's not really audible, very occasionally in an extremely quiet environment my wife can hear it.
As someone mentioned earlier, the story is quite different if I wear earplugs at night... then if I lie on my left side it's like a gentle pounding in my ears, on my right side it's much less evident.
 

JonML

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
6
Location
Erie, PA
I have both an aortic and mitral St. Judes valves. The aortic was replaced in 1990 (originally had the Lelehi-Castor(?) valve put in in 1976...just as the St. Judes was coming out... but it developed growth of some type and wouldn't close all the way). The mitral was replaced in 2000. I can hear the mitral louder then the atrial due to the position of the valves in the heart, mitral is both larger and positioned so faces upwards, at least how it was explained to me. If it is quiet I can hear both clicking...freaked out a doctor once as he never heard 2. At night with mouth open it is very loud but with mouth closed is alot quieter. As said you start getting used to it and tune it out. Others beside me never heard them but now if close they say they can faintly hear them.
Just on a lighter side, when I had my first heart surgery in 1976 I was only 16. Was having dinner with my church sponsor couple and he told a story about a friend of his who had a mechanical valve and them playing poker. They always knew when to fold when they started hearing loud and fast clicks, knew he had a good hand.
 

pellicle

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
5,974
Location
Queensland, Australia
Hi

I have a tissue valve and can hear mine when it is quiet and I’m trying to relax/sleep. I think OHS rearranges stuff and it is unavoidable.
to the best of my knowledge this is exactly on the money. While there is tendency to say "my valve .." among valvers the reality is that with the modern bi leaflet valves there is so little difference between them that if shown the top 3 valves I would say the vast majority of people would not be able to see the difference.

The reasons why such differences are found comes down to scar tissue ( which is not just the line you see on your chest from the incision, but is an effect which goes deep into your body) and anatomy.

I have an ATS valve which is "renown" for being one of the most quiet. Yet mine's so audible that when my GP saw me after my surgery he quipped "well they put a real diesel into you didn't they". I not only hear my valve (on occasions) but due to the basic physics of sound it conducts sound thorugh my body to where my ear drums are ... meaning I in essence feel it more than "hear it" (as in coming from the outside through my ears)


Indeed were there in reality (not marketing-land) any significant difference in the "quietness of valves" then
  • that company would have a significant marketing lead
  • the other companies would be very quick to catch up
However when I assented to a mechanical valve anything other than the best possible surgical outcome was not even on my radar. I'd already had 2 surgeries, this third was a matter of survival and a 4th (or more) would likely see me dead (at best) or severely reduced in capacity (maybe worse than dead).

The reality is that since 1952 when the first mechanical valve was put into a human we have learned a lot and valves have progressed from a ball and cage, through to the bileaflet designs we see today (a good basic history here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_heart_valve )


So my priority is on being alive and healthy ... clicking is just something which is a change that you get used to ... (or if you choose not to then you can complain about it ad-nauseam and irritate your family as well as yourself too)

Best Wishes
 

Justmadi

New member
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
2
Location
Wisconsin
I had a St Jude aortic valve put in 6 years ago. The sound has been one of my biggest issues over the years. I can feel and hear each beat. I hear the missed beats and irregular beats to the point hat it has scared me in the past. After wearing a Holter monitor for a month, the conclusion was that its normal for that irregularity. It happens to everyone, I am just much more aware. Someone posted that you get used to it and don’t hear it after time. That’s not true for me, but it is true that I accept it as part of living.
 

Consuela

Active member
Joined
Oct 7, 2005
Messages
38
Location
New York
Mines not to noticeable in the day on a noisey building site 😊but at night when trying to get to sleep it is very audible.
I have had my mechanical heart replacement since 2005 and it has been ticking since then. At night, try putting the pillow under your left side when you are trying to fall asleep, that usually does the trick.
 

Silver Bullet

Active member
Joined
Nov 2, 2015
Messages
28
Location
Canada
I was very worried about this as if I can hear my watch or a clock ticking, I can't fall asleep. I never hear my valve (mechanical aortic) unless its quiet and I'm not distracted, so I do hear it when I lie in bed before fallen asleep. Thankfully, it rarely keeps me awake for anymore than a few minutes.
 

Bill B

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
935
Location
Alamo, CA
My St Jude's AV has never "clicked" and I'm a skinny guy, so I was worried this might be an issue, but mine is surprisingly quiet. I do "hear" my heartbeat. It's more of a typical "thump". It transmits internally through my vasculature to my ears and is not audible to anyone around me. It's more pronounced if I lie on my right side, I think due to changes the way the heart fills in that position. Regardless, it is not a bother at all. Now, when my heart rate was quite fast (85-90 resting) right after surgery due to pronounced anemia and a few other related issues, the rapid thumping was rather annoying. But now with a resting heart rather of 60, the gentle, slow thump is remarkably soothing.
 

shah4u

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2016
Messages
9
Location
India
I guess almost everyone hears the clicking of the valve. I hear mine clicking too and it's prominent during night time. Otherwise throughout the day I can hear sometimes when I concentrate and not so other times. In my case I get assurance feeling when I hear the valve clicking signalling to me that everything is all right inside.
 

marvsehn

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2016
Messages
14
Location
Lynchburg, VA
I have a St Jude since 2012. I am very happy with the result and grateful my replacement turned out to be a mechanical valve and a one time surgery. I do hear mine when sleeping and at times just use it as counting sheep to go to sleep. No one else ever hears it including my wife who hears everything. Also, the INR self testing works great. I like knownig once a week. Mine bounces around a bit as I travel and change eating habits. I created s spreadsheet to monitor and help with slight adjustments. As for what seems to be unusual heart beats I think they have been there before and we just didn't know. Mine settle in much better when I am on a routine and regular exercise program. I love cycling and usually wear a chest heart rate monitor.
 

drivetopless

VR.org Donator
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
634
Location
formerly Atlanta, GA.
I have an On-X. Sometimes I hear it, and sometimes I don't. Small quiet spaces are when others might hear it the most (elevators, bathrooms).. they think it is a watch. Immediately after surgery was when I noticed it the most. 8 years later I rarely even notice. When I do hear it, the steadiness is comforting.
 

Keithl

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 20, 2019
Messages
80
I have an On-X aortic and can hear it at times, but it sound like it is coming from inside my head almost. Almost like a faint ting sound. I usually hear it when it is quiet like when I am going to sleep. We have a white noise sound machine, but still hear the valve most nights. most other times I either don’t hear it or notice it. I have been fine with it as the only other option was replace it with tissue and I am not doing this surgery again.
 

pellicle

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
5,974
Location
Queensland, Australia
As I sit here typing I can distinctly hear my SJAV. It sounds like a ping each beat. BTW, I have had the valve 32 years now.
out of interest how old were you when you first got it? (at the risk of seeming to ask your age, but I just wondered how old you were when you commenced warfarin because I also volunteer with helping younger people learn how to manage their INR)
 

thomas999

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
24
Location
sterling heights, michigan, usa
I was age 32 when I had my aortic valve replaced with a Saint Jude pyrolytic carbon mechanical valve, which is a dual Leaf valve. I am now going to be 64 in a few months and seem to be going strong. I have had to stay on top of my Coumadin blood thinner levels because they can vary by various influences, such as what you eat, weight, etc. Sometimes I get a bit irresponsible, I have waited almost three months between INR blood tests. I never recommend such a thing, but my valve has been doing so good sometimes I get a bit complacent.
 

Keithl

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 20, 2019
Messages
80
I was age 32 when I had my aortic valve replaced with a Saint Jude pyrolytic carbon mechanical valve, which is a dual Leaf valve. I am now going to be 64 in a few months and seem to be going strong. I have had to stay on top of my Coumadin blood thinner levels because they can vary by various influences, such as what you eat, weight, etc. Sometimes I get a bit irresponsible, I have waited almost three months between INR blood tests. I never recommend such a thing, but my valve has been doing so good sometimes I get a bit complacent.
Congratulations for a long healthy life with you valve, this is exactly why I went mechanical.
 
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