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Hi MiMi

Noticed your from Jackson MS. Where are you having your surgery?

Making that decision on valve type can be difficult and is a very personal decision. There is not one perfect valve out there that I am aware of. We just have to make the best educated guess regarding the 'correct valve type' and hope we make the proper decision.

If I had to do it over again....would not change a thing. My decision to go mechanical fits my lifestyle just fine.:)
Sure there are things I have given up....but nothing that I can't live without. Was looking at the longevity of the valve so I would hopefully not go though multiple repeats.


Hi, Gina.
I'm having my surgery at St. Dominic's here in Jackson. My surgeon is Stuart Horsley. What do you know good about them?...I don't want to hear anything bad...HA! I trust my cardiologist completely...he is my doctor's doctor and he recommended Dr. Horsley. My cardiologist Gene Hutcheson.
The coumadin just sounds so high maintenance to me...I'm afraid I'd forget to take it and really get messed up. We'll see. Barbara
Valve Replacement Options

Valve Replacement Options

I'm a 42 year old healthy male. I was born with bad connective tissue, and now my aortic insufficiency is becoming a problem. (Regurgitation, heart enlargement, ejection fraction, etc.).
The first couple of doctors thought a mechanical replacement was the best thing, for sure. Especially since I expect to live so long (don't we all?). Another doctor thinks a tissue valve is the way to go, and he says the cumulative issues of 15 years of Coumadin are riskier than a second operation when I'm 57. Obviously, he expects a tissue valve to last 15 years.
Now I'm trying to decide. Do some doctors like the mechanical valve because it is works so well, lasts so long, and it makes them look good? Does Coumadin really make your quality of Life stink? (I would like to play with my young children.) Do tissue valves last 15 years?
Toby, tissue valves are suppossed to last 10, 15, or more years. It depends on the rate of calcification in your body. The majority show signs of deterioration after about 10. It is rare for it to be leaking so quickly like mine is.

Docs like the mechanical valves because they are hardy and rarely need to be replaced and are not affected by bacteria endocarditis. Heart surgery is traumatic enough without repeat performances!

The type is valve picked depends on the person, all factors are concidered but the more YOU know the better you can discuss the decision. Good luck!
Hi Toby-

Coumadin doesn't make your quality of life "stink". My husband has been on it for 24 years and has done all the things he's wanted to do, no problems. You will not be able to do dangerous things which can cause you to have accidents and bleed profusely, but if you have small children, you wouldn't be doing those anyway. Contact sports are not recommended, but those aren't a good idea with a heart problem either.

Having small bumps, bruises, and cuts hasn't been a problem. They might bleed just a little longer, but Joe has found that all of them have resolved in a normal fashion. As a matter of fact, he heals a lot faster than I do.

Aside from the blood tests which have to be done routinely, it isn't a bad deal.

I can tell you for sure that having another valve surgery again when you're older and possibly sicker really does "stink". Joe's been there and done that.
Toby, I have never heard a Dr. give the opinion of Coumadin that your's did. Never.

Ask that same question to a few more docs and check the spread of opinions. Nothing wrong with Tissue valves but Coumadin taken properly is not that big a deal.

Personally I'm on Coumadin because I do not want to go through that operation again.
This reply is for Zipper#5.
A mechanical valve needs to be replaced at times too. I had a replacement within eleven days after the first surgery, and the surgeon implanted a different brand of valve. This was all due to a blood clot that had lodged itself underneath the first valve.
I was told to be careful NOT to get Endocarditus, so I understood that we with mechanical valves can get the bacterial infection, and from what I have heard it is not something you wish for.

Aortic Stenosis
AVR's 8/7/00 & 8/18/00
St.Jude's mechanical
Coumadin 20mg a day.
Christina- thanks for your post! You're right, endocarditits is not a fun experience, many people are not lucky enough to live through it. It damages vital organs very quickly! A intensive IV therapy( 6 weeks) is the only way to stop further damage. You are lucky they found the clot so quickly.

I was surprised to hear that endocarditis can occur with a mechanical valve, it must attack the surrounding tissue. :( Not pleasant. I'll be sure to ask about it. Thanks.
Hi Zip5,

I had surgery on 3/23/00 and now have a St. Judes mechanical Aortic Valve and graft. I have not had any problems with Coumadin. I am a 51 yr old male.

I have to agree with Dick and some of the others regarding their comments on Coumadin.

Good luck with your choice,
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Rob, Thanks for your Post! It's a hard decision esp. for an active person like me. I see the surgeon tomorrow- will know more then.
Coumiden and Mech valves

Coumiden and Mech valves

I understand your concern because I felt the same way. i have two small kids and was 40 when I had my VR. I worried about being on coumiden as well .. afraid to shave my legs and worried about being in some sort of accident ... eating the wrong thing and so on. I realize now that I was really a bit overreactive to these things. When I cut myself it may take an extra minute to clot but barely a problem. I swim exersize chase my kids just like all the other moms do that I know. It has noway handicapped my life style in any way. I take my pill like a normal responsible person takes ther meds. I go to the lab once a month where I have a new friend that draws my blood. I takes about 10 to 15 minutes out of my life a month to go but its on the way to the gym so no trouble.
I chose the St Judes valve because I had known so many people that had it and were doing wonderful. i was told that it normally lasts a life time or 20 plus yrs.
Thats for me because I think going through the surgery was far more trouble then taking that little pill each day. I don't want to do it any time soon again unless I have to thats for sure. 10 yrs is to soon for me. I hope when and if I have to do it again that there will be much more technology and ways to make it easier.
Good luck and relax about coumiden its not a big deal.
THanks for your message. I've lately come to the conclusion that it is far more important to have confidence in the surgeon. There are really quite a few good choices available, but a good surgeon doing the one he or she believes in is the key.
C.E. valve stats

C.E. valve stats

Hey Zipper, I just had my CE bovine pericardial valve put in about two months ago, and mine doesn't seem to be having any problems. Some people just have problems with them. How long has yours lasted? Only a year? I was just wondering, since I think we have the same thing. What model was yours? Mine is a model 6900. Mine is a mitral valve. I went to the University of Washington, and had Dr. Edward Verrier do the surgery. He knew what he was talking about, and I trusted him right away. Well, I hope your new valve goes better than this one! I don't want to take coumadin, because I am 23, and I forget stuff too easily. :D
Gee Sue, How nice of you to wriite! I see you are an adult congenital too, nice to meet others out there going through it.
Seems I have no decision, my body is rejecting the tissue valve and will have to have mechanical put in. Just wish I didn't have to be on meds for the next 40 yrs. Thanks again- Maureen
Zipper #5
Hey, read all the posts here, and got up to date before shooting off my mouth. (As everyone here knows I do). I have been on Coumadin since 1978. What, 23 years?? It does not give you a stinky life. Ex husbands, stressful jobs, car repairs... they give you stinky lives. Coumadin is as good or as bad as you make it out to be. I eat a regular diet, do not restrict myself in that regard. My blood test results have been pretty darned regular considering 23 years!! Dont worry about the Coumadin. It has NO yucky feeling side effects. Just follow the Docs orders, and all will be fine. Hang in there!
Joann has been on coumadin since 1971. This is the least of her problems. Confidence in your surgeon is most important. Very few people have major problems with coumadin. It is a pain, but you can live a very normal life.

Good Luck.
I am waiting on surgery to have my aortic valve replaced. I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and now at 40 I need it replaced. I have chosen to have a pig valve put in because I do not want to have to take Coumadin. I am a very active person and I wouldn't be able to carry on ski-ing, ice skating or cycling etc for fear of having a bad fall if I was on Coumadin. I looked into my options very carefully and decided to have a pig valve which hopefully will last 10 to 15 years. I know that I will have to go through surgery again but at that time there may be something new which will last a lifetime and not require any medication. Good luck with your decision.


Hey. that was why I decided to get a tissue valve also. I am very active and bruise easily. I still have to take aspirin, but that's it! I have two kids, like to ski, but I'm not too good at it. I ran over my thumb once! Don't ask!
take it easy!:D :D
Mechanical Valve

Mechanical Valve

I just had a replacement of the aortic valve and chose the Mechanical because I did not want another surgery in five to ten years. I have been fine so far with my St. Jude's. I have more energy and even though I take Coumadin, I do just fine. The fear of cut and bleeding is nothing. I work in an office and could get paper cuts, but I override the fear with being to be here everyday, healthier than I have been in a long time. I just could not see having surgery again too soon. I know for me, I made the right choice at 36. I could have another surgery in 20 or so years. But you have to make your own choices. I am proud of anyone have surgery anyway, to feel better.

Aortic valve replacement
St. Jude's Valve
Hi Zipper

I had a mitral valve replaced in 1999 with a
St. Jude's mechanical valve due to endocarditis.
I was born with two bicuspid valves. I am now
have problems with my aortic valve. It will
probably be replaced in the spring. I take
coumadin. Just make sure you understand what
the drug can do to you. Women on coumadin should
not ovulate because of cysts which can form at
ovulation. these cysts can rupture and cause you
to bleed. I know it happened to me. Other than
that I have adjusted well to the drug. I am a
busy mother of 4 children and also work part time.
My lifestyle really hasn't changed.
:) Judy