Tell-Tale Heart

I was originally inspired to blog about my heart valve replacement journey by a woman my age who did the same thing about 2 years before my surgery. Her blog is:

lisasrival6I was so excited to hear that she appeared on my favorite podcast, Radiolab. In the episode she describes her aortic valve replacement, which was very similar to my procedure. She also describes a sensation that she experiences that I also experience! Every heart beat can be felt strongly in my chest. Not only is the clicking audible, but the beating is audible too. The energy from each beat is also transferred to my upper skeletal system. If you put your hand on my shoulder, you can feel my heart beat.

Summer describes this sensation, and how it affected her mentally and emotionally. I know exactly how she feels. I had he same reactions as her, and came to grips with it in a similar way. It was very emotional to hear this story.

If you are a valve patient, or soon to be, PLEASE listen to this story. 

Follow this link to stream the story from Radiolab’s website:


3 thoughts on “Tell-Tale Heart

  1. Kim B

    Hi there. I came across your blog a few weeks ago around the time I started working on creating my own blog about my AVR/heart valve experiences, Tick Tock Ticker. I was blown away by our common ground: I was also born with a bicuspid aortic valve, which they found when I was a child. I was told the usual — that if it ever bothered me it wouldn’t be until around middle age — and yet here I am, 24 with a mechanical valve. (I’ve also got an On-X, by the way!)

    Finding your blog was a great comfort, and it led me to other bloggers in similar situations, and for that I want to thank you. My only regret is that I didn’t find your blog last November/December, when I first found out that I would need surgery ASAP. I was terrified, in a lot of pain and desperate for encouragement, and since I didn’t personally know anyone who had been through heart surgery, I was pretty much stuck with the internet. I did find a few things, but nothing quite as long term or in depth as your blog and the others I’ve come across since. That said, it’s better late than never, and your blog is still a great source of information and encouragement for me on days when I really need it.

    I also want to offer my condolences for the loss you wrote about in your previous post; I can only imagine how rough that was. Even as someone who never had the privilege of knowing your friend, I was deeply affected by your post. Like you, I saw myself — or at least my own situation — in your friend’s story, and it really rattled me to be forced to realize that surgery wasn’t the end of a chapter of my life but the beginning of a new one, with new complications and possibilities, not all of them pleasant. It’s good to be rattled now and then, though. It reminds us to be grateful for the time we do have, and to make the most of it.

    Anyway, this is a ridiculously long comment, so I’ll wrap up simply by reiterating my gratitude. Thank you for creating and maintaining this blog; I know I am not the only one for whom it has been a positive influence, and that counts for so, so much when going through something like AVR surgery and dealing with something as odd and unexpected as living with a tick-tock-ticking heart valve.


  2. Lilian

    Hi Anthony, I also have a replacement valve (I think it’s porcine) and my heartbeat is also very loud – audible by others in quiet places and my heartbeat can be felt in my upper skeletal system as well. Thanks again for your blog – it’s always good to know you’re not alone.


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