In my follow up today with my cardiologist, he gave me some surprising news. I have mild to moderate regurgitation in my replacement heart valve as measured on an echocardiogram. It’s not the valve itself that leaks, it’s around the edges where the liner is sewn to the aortic wall. My doctor says sometimes this happens shortly after surgery, but unusually it is this late (5 years + post surgery). He wants me to get a bacterial culture to make sure I don’t have an infection that could damage the valve or surrounding tissue. Because of the possibility of such an infection, I had to take antibiotics as a precaution whenever I was undergoing any procedure, including dental cleaning. He asked if I had any recent known infections and I mentioned my UTI last fall. It’s possible that some of those bacteria have reached the heart and done some damage.
Replacement valve. The three yellow segments are the valve blades that meet at the top in a “Y”. They work fine.
It’s probably okay as long as I don’t have any active bad bacteria running around in me, and nothing else is done to move it forward. I’m asymptomatic and my heart sounds fine with a stethoscope so don’t worry. If it gets worse I’ll have to get it fixed, which would be a much less invasive operation than last time.
We’ll do the bacteria tests and follow up in a few months to see what’s next.
Published by BionicOldGuy
I am a mechanical engineer born in 1953, Ph. D, Stanford, 1980. I have been in the mechanical CAE field for decades. I also have a lifelong interest in outdoor activities and fitness. I had both hips replaced and a heart valve replacement due to a genetic condition. This blog describes my adventures to stay active despite these bumps in the road. View all posts from BionicOldGuy
Published 20 Apr 202218 Apr 2022
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