My 80-year-old Mother has a leaking heart valve. The cardiologist said on a scale of 0-4, hers is leaking 2. No surgery due to age. Any prognosis? - AgingCare.com

My 80-year-old Mother has a leaking heart valve. The cardiologist said on a scale of 0-4, hers is leaking 2. No surgery due to age. Any prognosis?

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Only your doctor can figure this out, but he or she is right to consider the risks of surgery at your mother's age. I'd lean (from personal experience with my loved ones) toward following the doctor's advice, but if you aren't sure, try to get a second opinion. This is serious surgery, and anesthetics can be very hard on elders. Please talk to the doctor about all of the pros and cons.
Carol
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All I can tell you is what happened to me. Several years ago I was diagnosed aortic valve stenosis and the doctors thought I just might outlive it. Well by the time I was 81 I could hardly breath and was expected to go into heart failure if I didn't get a cow's valve (bovine valve). By then I also had bleeding from my intestine and had to have periodic transfusions.

My doctor was very honest, he told me it's time now for a new valve and that bleeding may heal itself after this surgery. He said it's a very risky surgery at my age and with my complications. I asked him how soon can it be done. I came out of that operation room with no complications, and feeling OK and everyone congratulated me. I MADE IT! But my surgeon said it will take at least 8 months of recuperation because my sternum had to be cut open like a book and then sewed up again with steel wire. I'll be 82 in a few weeks and as long as I keep my blood pressure down I'm fine. It is said that a new valve like this usually adds 15 or more years to your life!
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