Should You Have Heart Valve Replacement Surgery?

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Filed Under: Valve Disease, Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/20/2014

When it comes to heart valve replacement surgery, mitral valve surgery may be optional, but aortic valve surgery cannot wait. 

 

Should You Have Heart Valve Replacement Surgery? Transcript

Dr. Sinatra: One of my newsletter subscribers called my office and she was terrified. “My doctor has recommended that I have valve surgery, but I'm afraid. Can I still say, ‘no,; and still be OK?”

Folks, surgery is about which valve is involved and, again, quality of life. Let me give you an example. If you have a leaking mitral valve and the left atrium has become enlarged and the left ventricle is enlarged and your AD is old—and I see this in the office all the time—but your quality of life is okay, I say, don't have the surgery. I say, treat you with lifestyle interventions. Take CoQ10, take ATP-supporting nutrients, help to build energy substrates into the heart with carnitine, ribose and magnesium, and many of my patients feel better, and I've delayed surgery decades in patients—I mean, decades, where they never needed surgery. The mitral valve is one value you can get away with; however, the aortic valve is a different story.

When I see patients with a leaking aortic valve and the left ventricle starts to increase in size, that bothers me. And the reason why it bothers me is that when the left ventricle starts to dilate and it becomes too dilated, then it can't snap back. The other problem with aortic insufficiency is the problem of sudden death in people who especially exercise with aortic insufficiency. I've seen this happen many times in patients who refuse surgery. So, when it comes to the aortic valve, I am much more aggressive than when it comes to the mitral valve.

For mitral valve surgery, we can sit and wait, get over your fears, try alternatives. For aortic valve surgery, if that left ventricle starts to get a little bit enlarged, I say, have the surgery. You'll be better, and you'll be glad you did.

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