I'm confused about heart failure and cardiomyopathy.

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Husband had leaking heart valve. Had surgery to repair. Was told he got heart failure cause of leaky valve. It was emergency surgery. And he has Cardiomyopathy. He started with heart murmer. Does anyone understand this stuff?

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Cardiomyopathy is a very serious disease and probably be life shortening. Damage occurs to the heart that weakens it leading to heart failure which weakens and enlarges the heart making it more difficult to pump blood to the body. It can be due to things like heart valve problems which can be present from birth, due to rheumatic fever or a build up of plaque in the arteries.
often the first signs of a problem may be weakness, tiredness, shortness of breath and build up of fluid especially noticeable in the ankles and lower legs also in the lungs which may produce extreme shortness of breath. There also may be mild intermittent heart palpitations leading tto sever atrial fibrillation.
The first symptom many be that on routine visit the Dr will notice a heart murmur. Without supervision and treatment the disease can progress to the stage where it becomes an emergency situation triggering a stroke or heart attack or blood clots in the lungs or legs.
This all sounds very scary and indeed it is if you allow it to become a focus of your life. It is very important to follow the instructions and testing recommended by your hearth care professionals. Doing all these things will give a much better chance of living for a good number of years or even a normal life span.
The main advice I have is to adjust to a new way of life and adapt to your new limitations, in other words do what you can, don't overdo it and focus on the things you can still enjoy in your life, take your meds as prescribed (some have nasty side effects so ask for alternatives) never just stop.
How do I know? All of these things have snuck up on me during the past two years. Do not avoid using assistive devices because you feel people will look at you. Yes they will but very often they will offer needed help which is very welcome even if you can struggle and manage alone. Yesterday I went to a store and a woman offered me a shopping cart and when i came out of the store she had also come out and helped me load the car and took the cart back for me. I am almost 78 and have no idea how long I have got left but have no intention of sitting home feeling sorry for myself. Lots of things have to be given up or slowed down but there is always an alternative.
Don't give up on your husband encourage him to do as much as possible for himself and adapt to what will become a new normal. You know him very well so can be the only one to gauge how he is really doing. Make sure all legal matters are in order and you have POAs etc in place. it is fine to talk frankly about his prognosis and press the Drs for real answers to questions not false hopes.
This is not a death sentence it is more a change in the way of life for you both.
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Barb,

1. Follow Brooklyn Barb's suggestion and do research - a lot of it. Both of the sites she recommended offer good perspectives. WEB MD is sometimes more simplified; Mayo Clinic's site offers a broader overview, including treatment options, severity, etc.

If you don't understand it, read a little bit at a time and do additional research if necessary.

2. In the meantime, contact your local hospitals as well as your husband's cardiologist and ask for information on where you can find cardiac support groups.

3. If you still don't understand the issues as your husband's appointment nears, write them down and either e-mail or mail them, or take the list with you to the cardiology appointment. Ask the cardiologist to explain the issues to you, as well as the issue of longevity.

4. None of us has a guarantee on life; the healthiest of us here could die tomorrow in a car accident, or other unforeseen event. Focus on living each day with your husband and maximizing life as it is now.

If you need to create your own estate plans, do that as a priority. You may not need them for years, but at least that issue has been addressed.
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It was mitral valve leak. Started as murmer. Eventually, gushing leak with blood backed up wrong way I think. That resulted in cardiomyopathy and heart failure.
I have looked on wbmd, etc. Still not completely understand everything. We don't
have another heart appointment for a few months. One thing I want to know is how long husband will live. But guess doctor can't say. Each person is different.
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My mother had "global cardiomyopathy", meaning the entire heart was failing from over work, not just a part of it. A "murmur" is a leak that can be heard with a stethoscope. How many valves? The two atrioventricular (AV) valves, the mitral valve (bicuspid valve), and the tricuspid valve, which are between the upper chambers (atria) and the lower chambers (ventricles). The two semilunar (SL) valves, the aortic valve and the pulmonary valve, which are in the arteries leaving the heart. A lot of valves. If one valve leaks, the heart has to work harder to get the job done. If your arteries are blocking up, your heart has to work harder. If you are FAT, your heart has to work harder.
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Have you asked his doctor? Have you looked up cardiac myopathy on Web MD or the Mayo Clinic site?
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