Hello everyone. Welcome to my blog. For several years, I’ve had a type of heart murmur called "mitral valve prolapse." In most people, this condition stays benign but it can develop into something more serious. So it’s important to have it tracked over time.
During my annual physical exam this spring, my primary care doc (Steve Vargas) noticed a change in how the murmur sounded. It could even be heard without a stethoscope when he was standing behind me! So he said, “It's time for you to see a cardiologist!"
I had an echocardiogram in April, and it showed I have moderately severe mitral regurgitation. Blood is now leaking backwards from the heart towards the lungs. As a result, the heart has to work harder to pump the needed amount of blood forward throughout the body. The heart muscle compensates by expanding. Left untreated, this can lead to progressive lung congestion and heart failure.
I don’t yet have any of the symptoms. But I have learned it’s best not to wait – by the time symptoms appear, the heart muscle will have already been damaged in some ways surgery can’t fix. For asymptomatic patients like me, the best option is early surgery to repair the mitral valve.
So this summer I'll be undergoing open-heart surgery, and I'd welcome your company along the journey. At first the news really scared me, but as I have gained more understanding of the condition, the procedure to repair it and aftercare required, I'm feeling pumped (sorry!) about moving ahead.
So now you know the lay of the land. Stu and I will keep you posted over the coming months. We appreciate your concern, care and support. DR.