Enlarged heart - operation to repair

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I have a relative who has been diagnosed with an enlarged heart.  My father died of an enlarged heart 25 years ago. so its in the family.

I am an engineer so I can understand a simple explanation that if your heart gets bigger but the muscle doesn't get stronger then the pressure it can pump falls away and you have a problem of insufficient blood flow and low blood pressure.   Drugs that make the heart work harder are only going to wear the muscles out faster unless you can make them grow so they are again in the right proportion to the heart size.

One drastic siolution I heard of is that instead of making the muscles grow or just work harder we make the pump back to its old efficiency.   Heart too Big?  Then just make it smaller.    The idea is that the surgeon just cuts a wedge out of the muscle and sews the remaining heart back together.   It all then heals and you have aas good as new,    I can't imagine what you do while it heals but I am only an engineer and I expect the heart experts to have such issues covered.   After all swapping a heart out is now routine.

Can anyone tell me if they have heard of this operation and what they know about it?

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    The problem with heart surgery I was later told is that the heart does not like being handled and that is why I went into AF after aortic valve replacement. I'd read everything about the procedure and asked all the questions but the fact that happens to around 33% of patients eluded me.In many ways I'm now in a worse situation than before and now three years later am waiting for a pacemaker.
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    • Posted

      Hi Derek

      A valve replacement sounds pretty routine so a 33% chance of a problem sounds bad.

      Against this is the idea that you need to be healthy to undergo heart surgery so you have to make the decision before your state of health declines too much  I think many things like this are a balance of risks and we have no guide to the real risks unless some expert has surveyed them for us.

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    • Posted

      They said a 12-15% chance of death during the operation. The alternative was death within two years of my diagnosis and I was already a year into that. As a gambler I understood the odds and the doctors office was looking out over a racecourse I go to.
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    • Posted

      But its not quite like backing a horse is it?  WOW what a decision to face.   Obviously you won handsomely.   I applaud you for backing the maths.

      I hope your good judgement continues.

      Cheers

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    • Posted

      People face a lot worse decisions and at a much earlier age. In one you put your trust in a jockeys hands and the other in the surgeons. I trust the surgeon more that a jockey. Though at the last meeting I had been to there I had 20/1 for winner of the last race of the season. I missed the first meeting of the next season as I was having my operation that day and the next six..
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    • Posted

      I guess if you beat the 20/1 with a jockey a smooth talking surgeon would convince you that 8/1 is a mere doddle.   

      Imagine making such a decision on behalf of your child.

      It makes me feel very lucky that I've reached 70 without such problems

      Graham

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    • Posted

      I had waited so long for the operation that I went to see this smooth talker privately in the early December. He said that he was booked up for the next eight weeks so I asked what his NHS waiting time was and he said thirteen weeks. I thought about it and later phoned his secretary to say that I was going to gamble on saving £22K by waiting the other five weeks. She later called back and said that he could fit me in sooner by doing it on December 26th. I still decided to ride a waiting race.

      Decisions on surgery are usually made for you although they are put down as 'elective surgery' Our daughter was only 21 when diagnosed with  colon cancer after going to a second hospital when the first one had twice sent her away saying that she was constipated and had piles.. She was told that the golf ball sized tumour would be removed and she would be back to a normal life in three months but when they operated it had spread to her liver and lymph glands and she died five months later.

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    • Posted

      Dear Derek

      I am sorry about your daughter,   I have three daughters and I can't imagine how I could continue after such an experience.  Every day must be an effort.

      Graham

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