Probability of either a-fib or permanent memory issues post-surgery

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Freebird

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Sep 27, 2019
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Hello,
I'm one of those who are in the 'waiting room' around here. I got my surprise diagnosis of bicuspid av about a year ago. I'm 58, asymptomatic, with a 4.2 aneurysm and in severe stenosis. I've met with two cardiologists and two surgeons and our plan of action is to wait for symptoms or for a worsening echo. I get an echo every 6 months. I've had 3 in the past year since diagnosis.

I've more or less wrapped my head around the surgery but I continue to read about two issues that concern me:

1. It seems like many have to get pacemakers after this surgery. I believe I asked my cardiologist about this and she said it most often happens with folks with high blood pressure? I should note I have normal to low bp and normal cholesterol and a 0 calcium score. Is the need for a pacemaker after surgery common for someone like myself?

2. I read about folks having pump head or general memory issues after surgery. Is this common? Is it age related? Is it permanent or does it correct itself over time? Is it due to the surgery being so long? I've heard it's an 8 hour surgery, correct?

So many questions. I'm grateful for any input.
 

pellicle

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Hi
So many questions. I'm grateful for any input.
not wanting to let this version of the question you also asked here feel lonely, I thought I'd add that I did somehow recall there was an age related component in "pump head".

So it seems as good a place as any to leave this wikipedia link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postperfusion_syndrome

I read something on it back in 2012 when recovering from my Nov 2011 surgery, but decided that it wasn't sufficiently significant to assisting me in recovery and left it there.
 
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gerrychuck

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I think pump head may be one of those things that can be measured objectively, but is difficult to perceive subjectively. Is my memory worse now than it was before my surgery in 2012? Undoubtedly. Is it worse than any other 60 year old that I know? Who knows? All 60 year olds complain about their memory! I at least have an excuse; it's not age, it's pump head😉. I guess what I am saying is that whatever objective effects there are from time on the pump, they are, in my experience, pretty subtle and not life-altering, if they are noticeable at all. In my case, pump head is just something I read about on this forum, not something I was ever aware of in terms of symptomology. As for the pacemaker, I don't know what the relationship is with aortic valve surgery. I have read that there is a significant correlation with mitral valve surgery as the av bundles are so close to the valve that they are often disrupted by the surgery. I had mitral replacement in 2012, and I got a pacemaker in 2018. Again, I don't know what the correlation is with aortic surgery, or what the mechanism would be.
 

Paleowoman

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All 60 year olds complain about their memory!
Hey - not me 😊 I'm 66 and my memory is extremely good, it's as good as it's ever been, not gone downhill with age at all (yet ?). People who know me well comment on how good my memory is too ! Heart surgery (at 60) didn't affect it either :)

I've replied more fully to this thread on the other one that's the same which Freebird asked here: https://www.valvereplacement.org/threads/probability-of-either-a-fib-or-permanent-memory-issues-post-surgery.887364/
 

Freebird

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I think pump head may be one of those things that can be measured objectively, but is difficult to perceive subjectively. Is my memory worse now than it was before my surgery in 2012? Undoubtedly. Is it worse than any other 60 year old that I know? Who knows? All 60 year olds complain about their memory! I at least have an excuse; it's not age, it's pump head😉. I guess what I am saying is that whatever objective effects there are from time on the pump, they are, in my experience, pretty subtle and not life-altering, if they are noticeable at all. In my case, pump head is just something I read about on this forum, not something I was ever aware of in terms of symptomology. As for the pacemaker, I don't know what the relationship is with aortic valve surgery. I have read that there is a significant correlation with mitral valve surgery as the av bundles are so close to the valve that they are often disrupted by the surgery. I had mitral replacement in 2012, and I got a pacemaker in 2018. Again, I don't know what the correlation is with aortic surgery, or what the mechanism would be.
Interesting take, Gerry. At 58 I've already had tastes of less than perfect memory and if I were this way post-surgery I'd be fine. Thanks for your input.
 

carolinemc

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May 31, 2010
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kansas city, mo
I think pump head may be one of those things that can be measured objectively, but is difficult to perceive subjectively. Is my memory worse now than it was before my surgery in 2012? Undoubtedly. Is it worse than any other 60 year old that I know? Who knows? All 60 year olds complain about their memory! I at least have an excuse; it's not age, it's pump head😉. I guess what I am saying is that whatever objective effects there are from time on the pump, they are, in my experience, pretty subtle and not life-altering, if they are noticeable at all. In my case, pump head is just something I read about on this forum, not something I was ever aware of in terms of symptomology. As for the pacemaker, I don't know what the relationship is with aortic valve surgery. I have read that there is a significant correlation with mitral valve surgery as the av bundles are so close to the valve that they are often disrupted by the surgery. I had mitral replacement in 2012, and I got a pacemaker in 2018. Again, I don't know what the correlation is with aortic surgery, or what the mechanism would be.
When I had my bypass in 2001, I suffered pump head from being on the heart/lung machine during surgery. The after affects were not noticed till I returned to work and had to relearn everything I had been doing before surgery. I have had moments of forgetting how to do something, residue from the pump head. It is a real condition. Not life altering, just having to deal with it. Had nothing to do with being older now. I was 36 when I had the bypass. So age has nothing to do with pump head.
 

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