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As you probably know, Joan has been experiencing worsening symptoms over a period of years, variously appearing as cardiac arrhythmia, shortness of breath and dizziness. She has known for most of her life that she had mitral valve regurgitation, and a series of cardiologists attempted to alleviate her symptoms with medications and behavioral modification, with little success. Eventually she was referred to a valve specialist at Tufts Medical Center, who teamed up with other heart specialists there to develop a fully informed diagnosis. It turns out that Joan has not just valve regurgitation, but what is termed a "flail leaflet," meaning that one of the leaflets that forms the mitral valve is flapping in the breeze. She may also have HCM, or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the septum wall between the left and right ventricles. This combination of factors reduces the blood flow out of the left ventricle, especially under duress. To correct this, she will be having surgery to repair the mitral valve, and remove some material from the septum.
The surgery is scheduled for Monday, October 31, and will probably extend into the afternoon. I will post updates here when information is available.