Recovery from TAVR and open heart, and meds

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Sue

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Sep 15, 2022
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Arlington VA
I’m an 80 year old woman. I learned that I has aortic stenosis about 20 years ago, and I’ve been following up with cardiologists. My stenosis is now severe, and I started having symptoms (fatigue after light exercise) about two weeks ago. The docs are now preparing to replace my aortic valve fairly soon. I have no other heart issues, and I don’t take any meds for my heart.
I’d like to hear from others who have had valve replacement. I’m especially curious about recovery from TAVR and open heart and about post op meds.
 

dick0236

Eat the elephant one bite at a time
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louisville, KY USA
I’m an 80 year old woman. I learned that I has aortic stenosis about 20 years ago, and I’ve been following up with cardiologists. My stenosis is now severe, and I started having symptoms (fatigue after light exercise) about two weeks ago. The docs are now preparing to replace my aortic valve fairly soon. I have no other heart issues, and I don’t take any meds for my heart.
I’d like to hear from others who have had valve replacement. I’m especially curious about recovery from TAVR and open heart and about post op meds.
Hi Sue and welcome to this forum. At your age of 80 and if your docs concur TAVR should be considered. Your time in the hospital should be short and the recovery should be quick. Any questions about meds should be directed to your Cardio and Surgeon. If not TAVR a tissue-type valve would be considered....but that would require some form of operation with additional hospital time and additional meds. Good Luck:).
 

pellicle

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Hey Sue

Sorry (well I'm sorta not) that I can't offer direct experience on TAVR, however what I can say is this: I worked for some years in a support role for equipment for the elderly. What that made clear to me is that after a certain age you really don't want invasive surgeries because its (speaking statistically) very risky that your body won't recover.

So I would give a hard look at the TAVR options at 80 years of age.

Of course I don't know anything about your health and you could be one of those people out on the XC Ski track who out do me on the up-hills and have greater fitness than the average 40yo, however I've still seen "tough old sticks" go backwards and into the grave from such trauma as hip surgery.

There is nothing with no risk, but from what I see the risks of TAVR are being better managed (you know, like things floating off down the blood stream having been dislodged by the catheter and causing strokes) than they were.

I'm seeing in the literature greater durations of TAVR (meaning they'll last you longer without re-intervention) and so from what I read something over 5 years (and probably 10) is expectable for someone like you (again making assumptions).

Basically the valve is literally a plumbing issue, so don't avoid getting it fixed because it can ruin your entire house if you do ignore it.

Get some opinions and see how you go and come back here with any points that arise from that and see what all of us have to say. There are a few smart-arses here who seem to say "don't ask some random person on the internet" *(but as posters here themselves seem to DunningKrugerly omit themselves from that assessment), however I'd say that by asking the crowd you can find wisdom in the overall assessment of answers. The Wisdom of the Crowd is a well known phenomenon.

Its not that we're cardiologists, but as patients ourselves (and having been around the streets a while) can offer viewpoints and further questions to ask.

Best wishes
 
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Siesta Key, Florida
Hi Sue,

I’m Jim, just turned 82. I am currently getting Echos every 6 months to watch my AS (Aortic Stenosis), which is moderate trending toward severe.

I had Open Heart 5+ years ago and got a quad bypass, so I can speak from experience that that operation was not as difficult as I feared it would be. (But of course back then I was a young 76). While less painful than I had feared, I did have to spend 9 days in the hospital. In my followup, my doctor said something like “one down, one to go”, meaning he could predict that eventually I would need some aortic valve work.

Since then I have religiously followed the development of TAVR. If you are familiar with “Youtube”, it has a wealth of information that will answer most of your concerns. Simply open Youtube and search for “TAVR 2022” and you can actually view some of the same expert conferences and latest information that your doctor gets to see. At our age, my assumption is we will both be TAVR candidates. This forum is an excellent place to learn, so please stay involved and share your journey with us so we can all learn!
 

Chuck C

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Dec 5, 2020
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At our age, my assumption is we will both be TAVR candidates.

I totally agree.

However, it is important to be evaluated for TAVR, to assess whether it is even on the table. There are factors, such as the distribution of calcification, which will determine whether or not a person is a candidate. An echo can give a pretty good idea, but I believe a CT scan or MRI is more conclusive.

When I was 52 years old and in the moderate AS range, approaching severe, my cardiologist had me evaluated for TAVR. I was not really seriously considering it, but he wanted to know so that we had the option on the table. It turned out I was not eligible, due to uneven distribution of calcification on my aortic leaflets. Had I been eligible, I would not have chosen TAVR anyway at age 52/53. At age 80 or 82, I would see things differently and would very likely lean towards TAVR to avoid OHS.
 

Chuck C

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Hi Sue and welcome to the forum.

I had my OHS valve replacement 18 months ago. They were able to do a mini-sternotomy, something my surgeon specialized in, which I think shortened the time needed for parts of my recovery. I was surprised how quickly I felt normal again after surgery. But, I was 53 at the time of surgery and went into surgery in excellent physical condition. At age 80, I'm sure recovery will be more difficult and I would suggest taking guidance from those near your age range to better understand what you will face.

I’m especially curious about recovery from TAVR

At age 80, I think that TAVR would probably be the first choice. Folks are usually released after one or two days from the hospital and report getting back to normal very soon after release. There are a few on the forum who have had TAVR and hopefully they will chime in and share their experience. As I mentioned above, you will need to be evaluated to see if you are eligible for TAVR. It depends on such things as the distribution of your calcification and other factors.

and about post op meds.

All generally go on anti-coagulation for a time after valve surgery. At age 80 you will be getting a tissue valve, so you will only need to be on anti-coagulation for a few months, unless you have other issues which require AC therapy. Most seem to also be put on medication to control blood pressure after surgery as well. I was put on one such medication, known as a beta blocker, after surgery, which I was kept on for about 2 or 3 months. You can ask your cardiologist about any other meds that you might need to be on.

Best of luck with your procedure and please keep us posted.
 
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dick0236

Eat the elephant one bite at a time
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If there’s any “good news” on this subject for us over the hill 80+ folks, I guess it is that we don’t have to worry about making the right decision regarding the mechanical vs tissue question, right?
As another of the "over the hill 80+ folks" I fully agree with you. I value "quality of life" over "quantity of life". Any major open heart surgery is fraught with problems for the elderly person........but that is my opinion only.
 

pellicle

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If there’s any “good news” on this subject for us over the hill 80+ folks, I guess it is that we don’t have to worry about making the right decision regarding the mechanical vs tissue question, right?
:unsure: 😂

yep ...

as a mate and I joke: "What's good about getting old"

{pause}

reduced time in prison for a life sentence.

🙃
 

tom in MO

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MO USA
A family member had a successful regular AVR in her 80s (pre-TAVR) Everything went fine. with the operation and recovery.
 
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