Mitral Valve Replacement in Austin, Texas!!! Your comments/experience please!

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ShezaGirlie

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Hi everyone, especially longtime members! I was a member from the beginning of VR.com right after I had AVR for a congenital bicuspid valve. Now 20 years later my mitral valve has bit the dust and most likely needs replacement. Never in a million years would I have guessed my shortness of breath would get so bad and that a trashed mitral valve would cause it, but it is what it is. My EF is 35% with normal being from 60-80%. I am looking for Austin, Texas and surrounds folks who had their surgery in Austin at one of the heart hospitals and your experience. I have three cardio thoracic surgeons to choose from there as all come highly recommended. I don't have the energy to get to the famed Cleveland Clinic, so Austin it is. Please share your info if you don't mind.. Thanks to all..
 

dick0236

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Hi again Shezagirl, long time no see........and sorry about your current circumstance. Can't help with Texas hospitals or surgeons.......although the guy who did mine went to the Texas Heart Institute shortly after I had mine........so I'm sure they know what they are doing. Good luck and welcome back.;)
 

Freebird

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I'm in Austin and my cardiologist recommended Dewan, Kerendi or Felger. I met with both Dewan and Kerendi and have decided on Dewan after hearing many recommendations. I haven't had the surgery yet but will most likely have it in the coming months. Happy to compare notes. Who was recommended to you?
 

Grits

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I had my bicuspid aortic valve replaced last May in Austin by Dr. Richard Neely at Seton Hospital. Dr. Neely is part of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons of Austin and was a wonderful doctor. He is in with the 3 doctors mentioned in Freebird's post, I think anyone in that practice would be great. The hospital staff was great also.
Grits
 

Freebird

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I've had two OHS done by Dr. Stephen Dewan. Both surgeries were done at the Heart Hospital of Austin. If I had to do it all again, I'd choose the same surgeon and location.
Hi Odie, I believe I'm about to go down this path and Dewan @ Heart Hospital is my choice. Did you go with tissue or mechanical? Did he offer his opinion on one or the other? When was your surgery?
 

Freebird

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I've had two OHS done by Dr. Stephen Dewan. Both surgeries were done at the Heart Hospital of Austin. If I had to do it all again, I'd choose the same surgeon and location.
Odie, also, do you know if Heart Hospital offers cardiac rehab in their facility? I live nearby and so it would be quite convenient.
 

Bryan B

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Hi ShezaGirlie,

I'm not from Austin (although I was born not too far from there) so I can't help with advice, just wanted to say hello from another old timer VR member and wish you well as you prepare for another OHS. Having had 2 myself I kind of know the feeling you must be going through right now. If it comforts you any I found that the 2nd one was easier in many ways than the first one. Probably most of that was just knowing what to expect and some of the tricks that made my recovery easier once I got home. There wasn't the learning curve that I had to go through after the first surgery. Let us know how things are progressing!
 

ShezaGirlie

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Thank you, thank you all from the bottom of my heart! i Now have an appointment at The Heart Valve Clinic @ Heart Hospital of Austin this coming Tuesday, Mar 10, so I intend to have much information then. My local cardio, Dr. Boyd here in New Braunfels has set me up with all of the above. Dr Kerendi has been mentioned to me after they have seen preliminary tests done here at the local ER in New Braunfels last week. I’m sure there will be more testing at the Heart Valve Clinic soon. I am so ready to get this over with - whatever comes. If replacement in the protocol, I will choose mechanical for the simple fact that I have been on warfarin since 1999 with no problems with my AVR St. Jude (recalled) Silzone Valve.
 

ShezaGirlie

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Sheza, I'm so bummed to see that you need another valve job. I know how resilient you are and wish you all the best. ((Hugs))
Yeah Bina...this hit me like a ton of bricks even though I now realize it came on so slowly. I chalked it up to getting older until I had almost no air and then hit the ER. ((Hugs back))
 

ShezaGirlie

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I'm in Austin and my cardiologist recommended Dewan, Kerendi or Felger. I met with both Dewan and Kerendi and have decided on Dewan after hearing many recommendations. I haven't had the surgery yet but will most likely have it in the coming months. Happy to compare notes. Who was recommended to you?
Looks like I will have Dr Kerendi. I understand Dr Dewan is also a wonderful Cardiothoracic surgeon! I will know more after coming Tuesday appointment at the Heart Valve Clinic. My one and only OHS (AVR mechanical) was 20 years ago in San Antonio, so I suspect many advancements have been made.
 

Freebird

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Looks like I will have Dr Kerendi. I understand Dr Dewan is also a wonderful Cardiothoracic surgeon! I will know more after coming Tuesday appointment at the Heart Valve Clinic. My one and only OHS (AVR mechanical) was 20 years ago in San Antonio, so I suspect many advancements have been made.
We met with Dr. Kerendi and liked him very much. He's younger than Dr. Dewan who I believe is 65 years old, so I will most likely use Kerendi for my tissue replacement one day. Who were the 3 surgeons first recommended to you?
 

Odie

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Hi Odie, I believe I'm about to go down this path and Dewan @ Heart Hospital is my choice. Did you go with tissue or mechanical? Did he offer his opinion on one or the other? When was your surgery?
My first surgery was in 2014 and was a repair, the 2nd surgery was last November. By the time I started interviewing surgeons for the first surgery I had already determined that mechanical was the right choice for me. The decision for make and model of mechanical valve was left entirely up to Dr Dewan's opinion. He selected an On-X valve.

Odie, also, do you know if Heart Hospital offers cardiac rehab in their facility? I live nearby and so it would be quite convenient.
They do not offer cardiac rehab at their facility. The Heart Hospital is part of the St. David's Hospital system. St. David's offers cardiac rehab through a number of other locations listed here.

I did cardiac rehab after my first surgery at the St David’s North location. I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend going through the program once regardless of your exercising experience. For the 2nd surgery I felt knowledgeable enough to do the rehab myself at my local gym.

Looks like I will have Dr Kerendi. I understand Dr Dewan is also a wonderful Cardiothoracic surgeon!
I've met Dr Kerendi a couple of times. He is a solid choice and very well respected.
 

Freebird

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I've had two OHS done by Dr. Stephen Dewan. Both surgeries were done at the Heart Hospital of Austin. If I had to do it all again, I'd choose the same surgeon and location.
Question for you, Odie, given that you just recently were the beneficiary of Dr. Dewan's wonderful skills.

Did you have any second thoughts of his ability due to his age, which I believe is 65? His reputation in Austin appears unparalleled. I only met with him once, about a year ago and was quite impressed with him. 65 is young in the normal scheme of things in my opinion (I'm 58 myself), but I just had this thought as it pertains to being a surgeon. Sorry, these are the ramblings and thoughts of a pre-op mind. :)
 

ShezaGirlie

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We met with Dr. Kerendi and liked him very much. He's younger than Dr. Dewan who I believe is 65 years old, so I will most likely use Kerendi for my tissue replacement one day. Who were the 3 surgeons first recommended to you?
Hi Freebird, the three were Dewan, Kerendi and Felger. i Would feel confident with any one of the three.
 

ShezaGirlie

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UPDATE
Today’s (June 2nd) results from TEE in Austin... Ok, here goes...
Results after pow wow with 4 doctors including interventional cardiologists/surgeons Dr Jerome Thomas and Dr Zidor, surgeons including Dr Dewar and Dr Hyde plus 3 PA’s and nurse Nikki who was great. You sure get good representation there. Ok, now I have 3 choices after 2nd TEE today.

1. Open heart to remove my 20 yr old aortic valve which has been a stellar performer, install a bovine valve there and a bovine valve in the mitral position. Reasoning is that one or the other valve goes south, they can insert another valve through an artery. My mechanical valve has to be replaced to do that since it’s mechanical and over 20 yrs I've had no problems with it and warfarin isn't a concern for me.

2. Side port to access heart between ribs and leave current 20 yr aortic valve and repair mitral valve. This is also a heart/lung machine ordeal. Surgeon said I’m a really good candidate for a repair. Surgeon did say he 'freezes' the nerves near the incision, so they don't transmit pain to the brain. It takes about 3 months for the nerves to regress to normal.

3. Insert mitral clip through an artery and clip the mitral leaflets together. This surgery is only about 4 years old, so no history to judge its’ effectiveness related to longevity. The surgery is usually done on the elderly (over 80 yrs old or so) who cannot withstand the previous surgeries.

So, I have a few days to come to a conclusion and then surgery is booked. Just wondering what your choice would be if faced with the same situation. I'm in my 70s and have no other heart problems....heart muscle is good, arteries are clear, electrical system works fine Ejection fraction is right at 60.
I’d sure rather be booking a trip!
 
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Freebird

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Thanks for the update! I don't have an opinion as to which direction to go for you. I was wondering how far ahead is your surgery and if you'll be doing it at the Heart Hospital? I meet with Dr. Dewan on Monday and I'm assuming we'll be moving forward. Kind of wondering if there's a backlog for surgery due to the elective surgery stop due to covid.
 
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