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Heart & Cardiology/Aorta valve re- replacement


Hello. I am contacting you about my Great- Grandmother. She is 85 years old. About 5 years ago, she underwent open- heart surgery. She had her aorta valve replaced, and some stints put in. Her doctor told her at the time the the valve could only be done once. It was done with a pig's valve. She is now experiencing shortness of breath just from walking short distances, or from stress. She went to her doctor, and he listened to her heart, and heard some "clogging" or something. SO my question is, is her valve causing her to loose her breath, and can the valve be replaced a second time. She is in very good health other than that. She just beat breast cancer, and underwent cataract surgery. She has some problems with sugar, and blood pressure and so on, but is in very good health. Her mind is still very sharp too, which is a good thing for her age. I love her dearly, so I hope that the valve can be replaced if need be. I hope even more that it is not the valve causing it at all. She has an appointment on Wednesday, so I will have an answer by then. I just want to get your opinion. I hope it is good news. Thank you very much for you time-- Jack

Hi Jack,
Her symptoms are likely those of heart failure. It is unlikely (but not impossible) that the valve is malfunctioning, or that there is a leak the area where the valve was placed, causing her symptoms. A re-operation is possible, while there is also another solution called TAVI that can be used if necessary. However, this all premature at this point. An essential test at this point is a cardiac echo that answer most if not all your questions:
Hope this helps,
Dr T

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