Can medication alone treat or help an 75% blockage in a heart valve

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My father in law has been diagnosed with heart failure and lung failure,

He was treated with oxygen and removing fluid that had built up.

He's now been sent home with various medication, after going to

A specialist cardiac unit in Galway Ireland, it was discovered he has

And 85% blockage in one of his heart valves due to calcification

The decision has been made not to operate but to treat with


Is this a long term solution or will he eventually need the valve replacing

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    hi Lucy

    i would say the next time in hospital with you father in law have a list of questions ready for cardogolist and make sure u get answers as they have tendence to fobb you off with we will do a check on that now  have your list of questions and make sure you get answers

    best of ;luck i dont know the answer to youre question

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  • Posted

    For an older sick person for whom open heart surgery would be too great a risk there is now TAVR transcatheter heart valve that is insert up through the groin artey or from an artery in the arm. It is pretty much like fitting a stent   
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    • Posted


      Derek, need to be armed with as much info as possible

      About it, having researched it a little doesn't

      Seem like the medication will fix the blockage ?

      As you say open heart surgery for an elderly man

      May not be possible.

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    • Posted

      I asked for TAVR at 77 and was told that I was too fit for it and could have open heart surgery.

      I know that it is for aortic valve replacement but I'm not sure if it also used for Mitral Valves. It is quite a new procedure and is obviously minimly invasive and a very short recovery time.

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    • Posted

      The life expectancy is probably low as the ones whose only option it is are usually sick in other ways. Some reports say it only increases life expectancy from 2 to 2.9 years but with a much higer quality of life than on drug therapy.

      If you Google Medtronics or Edwards with TAVR (two of the makers of the valve) you should get a lot of information. I use Google alerts to flag me all the reference that come up for AVR.  

      I should cancel the alerts as I no longer need them except as a matter of interest.

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  • Posted

    Without being unduly pessimistic, unfortunately eventually is not long in the future. I forgot to say they my blockage was about 76% and although I was symptom free at the time it was diagnosed it was really a situation where I was told that if I didn't have it I would only have two years life excpectation. I of course did not also have the lung problem that is evidently caused by the heart failure. Presumably a better working heart would help in that respect.
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  • Posted

    I think it depends on his age. The anaesthetic risk will be high with heart and lung failure and heart valve surgery already carries some considerable risk as  I understand it. It may be that the extra work the valve has been doing has caused the heart failure.

    I don't think - please check - there's any non surgical way of repairing the valve.

    There are lots of ways to reduce the burden on the heart eg beta blockers,  ACE inhibitors & meds to strengthen the heart beat.

    The British Heart Foundation website has some pretty good information. Hope things improve with the meds.


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    • Posted

      Thank you so much Derek,

      Unfortunately my partner and I are in the uk

      And his family are in Ireland so going to hospital

      Appointments is very hard, I feel that maybe more questions

      Need to be asked, as you say it's probably not going

      To be fixed by the medication which was the impression given by the consultant.

      I think it's more likely that they will just lessen the other

      Symptoms such as fluid build up and an irregular heart beat.

      It's worrying to think he's home and could potentially still be at risk of heart attack or a


      Thanks for the information you've given me it's very helpful.

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