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I received a call from the ALF today stating that the staff physician believed that my mother (with dementia) has aoritc stenosis and possible congestive heart failure. An appointment has been made with a Cardiologist. Does anyone have any experience with this diagnosis and what the prognosis may be?
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Feb 16, 2013
My 85 year old father has all of these problems also. Because of his age and health he is kept alive with medication. He's on a slew of diurectics, Warfarin, and potassium. It's taken almost a year for him to stablize, through multiple changes in his meds and constant monitoring of his blood thickness and blood tests. There are days when the blood still doesn't seem to circulate properly to his feet. They are purplish/blue. The medical professionals explain this as poor blood circulation and it's expected. Unfortunately he will eventually loose his feet or legs and/or suffer a massive heart attack from the heart issues. This treatment keeps them alive and the blood circulating. There are improvements in the person once the medication works. Your mother's dementia may also improve a bit, since congestive heartfailure causes reversible dementia. She may have good days and bad days with memory and rational thinking. My father has been less hostile and physically abusive since the medication but more forgetful because the brain still doesn't get enough oxygen. It's a lot of trial and error with the medication but eventually your parent will be better and almost seem like the person you use to know instead of a stranger.
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Mom has atril fib, dementia, CHF and hers is also treated with medications. She has a pill for the atril fib, 2 water pills, Pradaxa. She has the poor circulation and lack of oxygen to the brain, which means each day is very unpredictable. Hers has been controlled for a long time with meds, doctor's visits and hospital stays. It's a series of ups and downs. More recently downs though. Hope your Mom improves and you take care of yourself. Best wishes.
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My mother at age 82 was diagnosed by a Cardiologist with CHF and severe aortic stenosis. While not everyone is a candidate for aortic valve replacement, it was suggested to my mother that since she was an otherwise healthy 82 year old, surgery would be in her best interest as opposed to waiting two years down the road and have an emergency medical situation. She had her aortic valve replaced and a triple bypass. The road to recovery was extremely long and terrible. Due to the surgery, her lungs were not functioning as strong as they needed to so she was ventilator dependent on a trache for 2 1/2 years. She contracted every hospital acquired infection under the sun (c-diff/sepsis/mrsa). Finally through my peservance and keeping on top of her recovery, she was discharged to my home off of the ventilator during October 2011. She still has a trache but is doing well otherwise. Be very careful here. Get two opinions. Find out about the pros and cons to surgery but if surgery occurs, please just know that you never know the outcome nor as in my experience if the recovery will be a nightmare. There were many times I wished I had not encouraged the surgery because I missed my mom the way she was. But ultimately the surgery was the right decision.
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I'm just wondering if all these meds and surgeries are worth the risks and long-term side affects. It is unfortunate when we as caregivers have to make decisions for our loved ones. Are we making the decision THEY want or is it for ourselves? I really don't know. These are the kinds of decisions that I don't want to be forced to make, but who else is there when your loved one has no clue what's really happening? Long before all these meds were invented and surgeries became so sophisticated, people died. Is that so bad? Again, I don't know. I'm kind of playing the "devil's advocate" here. I'm not saying it's right or wrong to get the meds or have the surgery. I'm just wondering what I will do if/when the time comes. I'm glad musiclover1 believes surgery was the right decision. I'm not sure I could be that brave and make it! My Mom had an aortic aneurism which was discovered after she had a stroke. Her health was too precarious to have surgery, and the aneurism eventually killed her...but it took 3 years, and her quality of life was far better than if she had had the surgery. Her death, though sad, was sudden and quick...she passed away watching her beloved Phillies play the Braves sitting in my living room. Although it was very, very difficult, I believe she had a better life those last 3 years. My Dad died just 9 months before my Mom after he had extensive surgery for CHF which was complicated by his underlying condition of sceleraderma. He had had 2 other surgeries that year...one to fix a knee replacement gone bad and another for a broken hip...and I know all those things contributed to his death. It's just very, very sad and very, very difficult to know what the right thing to do really is.
My Dad, at 92 years old, had experimental aorta replacement at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago IL. They used a bovine aorta and he is still doing fine. His cardiologist is Charles Davison or Davidson and the cardiac surgeon was Chris Malasrie. They are both still there and accepting new patients.
Feb 17, 2013
My mom has told me that she does not want surgery and I will support that. At this point, we are waiting to see a cardiologist to confirm the diagnosis. If she indeed does have these heart problems, I will make a decision about the meds. I am not interested in prolonging her life with meds, if the quality of life continues to decline. She has a lot of shortness of breath issues lately and I'm anxious to see what the cardiologist determines. She only weighs 80 pounds and is obviously very frail.
Feb 22, 2014
It's strange how some people have and do what's better for a pet than a loved one? Don't get me wrong, I am most certainly NOT referring to any of you. But, that is the way I look at situations such as this. My dog is elderly and frail, I ask myself if prolonging his life better for me or am I being selfish by wanting him to stay around as long as possible even though his quality of life is more than likely going to suck? That is how I approached whatever health issue arose when it came to my MIL care. I simply asked myself, "am I doing this for her or me?". I always got a second and sometimes third opinion, but I also asked myself if the cure was going to be worse than the disease itself. Asking those questions really helped put many of the decisions I needed to make, into perspective. Good luck to all of you as I to am now suffering from those same health issues.
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