An explanation of my condition and why I need surgery.
My first post is a brief history of my history with my condition.
My diagnosis is Bicuspid Aortic Valve and a 4.6cm Ascending Aortic Aneurysm.
Bicuspid Aortic Valve is present in 1-2% of the population with more than half of those being male. This makes this condition the most common heart defect. Not all patients with BAV need valve replacement, but those whose valves wear to the point where the heart might fail become candidates for aortic valve replacement. My heart experiences a symptom called regurgitation, where blood leaks back into the heart during each pump cycle. This makes the heart work harder which is indicated by an enlarged left ventricle. Some BAV patients have stenosis, or a narrowing of the valve opening. I do not have any stenosis. The aortic valve can be replaced with a biological valve (usually pig) or a mechanical valve. There are many types of procedures, all depending of surgeon and patient preference. Those who receive mechanical valves are required to take blood thinning medication to prevent blood platelets from sticking to the valve surface, which could cause clotting or a stroke.
Patients with BAV often develop an associated aneurysm at some point in their aortic artery. A thoracic aneurysm occurs when the tissue of the aorta artery becomes weakened and begins to balloon. My aneurysm occurs at the ascending portion, which is the part of the artery the immediately exits the heart and goes upwards. The peak is called the arch, and after the arch the aortic artery goes down, and is called descending. Often (and in my case), when open heart surgery is performed to replace the Bicuspid Aortic Valve, the surgeon will also fix the aneurysm.
My surgeon will replace my aortic valve with an On-X mechanical valve, and replace the ascending aortic aneurysm with tube graft. Below is the On-X valve and ascending aortic prosthesis.
Here is a fun video on how the surgery will go down (caution, blood & guts)!