Mechanical Valves and Blood Thinners

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Near 30 years old with Bav and a dialated aorta (4.0). My regurgitation is moderate and stable for years. My cardio said surgery could still be 20+ away but it could also be 5-10. Obviously hoping for much farther away but already thinking about mechanical vs tissue.

could any of you mechanical valvers answer a few things for me??

- what are some of the restrictions?
- how strict is the medicine? If you forget one dose what happens?
- how time consuming is the inr testing?
- how bad is the clicking?
- a general breakdown of what life on blood thinners would be helpful.
 

pellicle

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Guest;n886037 said:
could any of you mechanical valvers answer a few things for me??
sure

- what are some of the restrictions?
I cant drive with a Blood Alcohol content of higher than 0.05

- how strict is the medicine? If you forget one dose what happens?
it depends. If you miss one dose now and then no biggie, if you make a habit of missing doses its going to work out badly. Your first TIA will probably wake you up out of that ****.

Also depends on whos managing you .. leading into

- how time consuming is the inr testing?
10 minutes on a saturday morning for me ... perhaps another 5 to write it up and think if I need to do anything.

- how bad is the clicking?
depends who you ask and when ... as well as how many surgeries you've had before (cos scar tissue makes a difference). Now, 90% of the time I'm unaware of it ...

- a general breakdown of what life on blood thinners would be helpful.

that 5 min I spoke of

my blog on the topic
http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2014/09/managing-my-inr.html
 

dick0236

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Guest;n886037 said:
Near 30 years old ......................... surgery could still be 20+ away but it could also be 5-10. Obviously hoping for much farther away but already thinking about mechanical vs tissue.

could any of you mechanical valvers answer a few things for me??

- what are some of the restrictions?
- how strict is the medicine? If you forget one dose what happens?
- how time consuming is the inr testing?
- how bad is the clicking?
- a general breakdown of what life on blood thinners would be helpful.
I was also 30 years old when the docs told me "surgery is in your future......near future". Has turned out well and my life expectancy has doubled form age 40 to 82+ and counting.With a time line of 5 to 20+ years you ha can be sure that technology will be different........ perhaps far difffent.

restrictions?.....don't run with scissors!
how strict is med?.....no problem is you forget from time to time....but don't make a habit of it 'cause you will loose.
time consuming?.....like Pel says 10 minutes....in my shorts with a cup of coffee every Wednesday am.
Clicking?......what clicking? although I think the cat can hear it 'cause she doesn't like being on my lap.
general breakdown? timely surgery has allowed me to get "old" and subject to the problems of "old" people :).

CHEERS!!
 

LondonAndy

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Hi Guest

As Pellicle and Dick have said, there's not too much to worry about, though life gets a bit complicated if you are female and might get pregnant once on Warfarin. When I got my mechanical valve four years ago (at age 48) a big factor for me was the longer life (of the valve) expected, such that I will hopefully avoid repeat surgery and the extra issues that brings. I don't do contact sports like boxing, and would much rather take a cable car than go mountain climbing, so my concerns about bleeds are pretty minimal. Here's hoping I don't get run over on my commute to central London tomorrow ..... (but I wear a Medic Alert bracelet with access to detailed medical information for paramedics if ever needed).

However, for me one of the important things is the ability to use a hand held meter to test my INR when I want. Again, as both Dick and Pellicle have said, it is a 10 minute (or less - I'm sure I do mine in less than 5!) weekly task, which is much more convenient than going to a clinic for them to do the test for you. Also, those clinics tend to do the tests at less frequent intervals, sometimes up to 2 months apart here in the UK, and that creates a greater risk of stroke etc because you don't know you are out of range. People are different, but when I get a cold my INR plummets significantly, almost from the top of my safe range to the bottom, but because I have a meter at home I can check it when convenient. They work by doing a finger-prick blood test, so also less hassle for your veins than when the clinics to a blood draw, though many of them now use a meter too; they are considered sufficiently accurate and reliable. Getting a meter depends on where you are in the world: here I had to buy mine (£300 / $380) and then I get the test strips on prescription (otherwise they are about £4 / $5 each). More details of the importance for your health are in this amateur guide I did to convince my doctor to let me do this, though I didn't need it as he was already convinced of the benefits. There is a link in the document to the regulator's full report.

But I wonder what valves will be like by the time you come to have yours done? I trust you will be keeping your research updated!
 

pellicle

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dick0236;n886042 said:
...although I think the cat can hear it 'cause she doesn't like being on my lap.
well firstly "its a cat" ... they are fickle creatures at best, secondly have you been following the Finnish directions on how to handle cats?

... cos you just never know what they're planning ;-)

My personal favorite Finnish saying is: Life is uncertain so eat your desert first.
 

pellicle

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LondonAndy;n886047 said:
... More details of the importance for your health are in this amateur guide I did to convince my doctor to let me do this, though I didn't need it as he was already convinced of the benefits. There is a link in the document to the regulator's full report.
if you don't read that (and you should) this is the stand out two points for me:
• 42% reduction in the risk of thromboembolic events compared with standard care
• Risk of death reduced by 32% through self-management
 

pellicle

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Hey

LondonAndy;n886047 said:
H More details of the importance for your health are in this amateur guide I did to convince my doctor to let me do this, though I didn't need it as he was already convinced of the benefits. There is a link in the document to the regulator's full report.
I love that this diagnosis page even has a section for home testing.

Test in the comfort of home I say ... (unless you're camping, then test out in the scrub too)
 

LondonAndy

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pellicle;n886055 said:
if you don't read that (and you should) this is the stand out two points for me:
• 42% reduction in the risk of thromboembolic events compared with standard care
• Risk of death reduced by 32% through self-management
It always amuses me to talk of the "risk of death" being reduced - we all die! But seriously, you are right: these two stats alone should make anyone in any doubt about home testing realise the huge benefits. More convenient, cheaper for health care providers, AND YOU LIVE LONGER!
 

Superman

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Guest;n886037 said:
- what are some of the restrictions?
- how strict is the medicine? If you forget one dose what happens?
- how time consuming is the inr testing?
- how bad is the clicking?
- a general breakdown of what life on blood thinners would be helpful.
Restrictions are really driven by INR levels. If you’re too high, enjoy that spinach and mushroom quiche. Too low, maybe consider something else for dinner. Overall, everything in moderation as long as you’re testing and in therapeutic range. If you’re a chain saw juggling act, might consider another line.

The medicine is strict. Missing a dose should be dealt with, but it’s not an ER visit. Be aware. Make up for it if you can. Test. Adjust your dose if you fell out of range. That said, this isn’t a panic situation by any stretch. As others have said, if you habitually miss doses, then you are gambling.

I invest a total of 5 minutes a week between the test, emailing my results, and listening to a voicemail from the Coumadin clinic if any changes are recommended.

Clicking for 28 years now. Hasn’t driven me insane yet. Got my first mechanical valve at 17 years. I hear mine whenever I listen to it. It’s not a distraction though.

The above kind of sums up your last question.

Life is normal. Married. Five kids. Have a job. Work out fairly regularly.

Even though I went with a mechanical valve, I still required a second surgery when I was 36 due to an ascending aorta aneurysm. I still kept a mechanical valve that time. Just saying it’s no guarantee against a reoperation. Something to keep in mind.
 

tom in MO

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For me, there are no restrictions in what I do or eat due to the mechanical valve. If my INR is too high, I wait, it usually goes down. If it stays high or goes higher, I adjust the dose.

The ticking is either not a problem, or goes away as you get older, fatter and deafer :)

If I miss a dose, I just take 50% more for the next two days and test in a week.

For me, the biggest restriction for being on warfarin is not being allowed to take NSAIDs for arthritis.

Testing costs money, but it's not too bad if you have insurance.

Unless you are into extreme sports w/o protective gear or bar room brawling, life on blood thinners is the same as life before blood thinners.
 

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