My 83 year-old mother is being considered for open heart surgery to replace the aorta valve in her heart. While she is in good health for someone that age, I am concerned that the severity of such surgery, and resulting reecovery, will place severe strain on her overall health and subsequent lifestyle.

So I'm curious if anyone has experience with heart surgery of this type, in persons at an advanced age, and the recovery process. thanks!
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replied January 25th, 2012
Progressive disease of the aortic valve is not unusual in older patients. The surgery does carry a greater risk because of age, but oftentimes the risk of surgery is considerably less than the risk of doing nothing. You seem to be aware of the realistic fact that older persons take considerably longer to recover from such surgery.
There is a new method of dealing with the aortic valve problem that consists of approaching the valve using a catheter passed up the artery from the groin. This is a relatively new procedure, puts less strain on older persons, but does carry the risk of such complications as a stroke. To the best of my knowledge, such procedures have been reserved for older patients whose medical condition does not allow for a surgical approach.
I have referred older patients for aortic valve surgery and have been pleased at their good response, though recovery takes longer. If your mother has an experienced surgeon, do discuss with him the questions you are asking here.
Please be aware that I am unable to diagnose medical conditions online.


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replied January 25th, 2012
Thank you Dr.Miller. I believe my mother is in good hands with a cardiologist and cardiology surgeon in Atlanta, both associated with St. Joseph's hospital in that city, which I understand is a very good cardio hospital. I will pass this information on to my brotehr who lives in the area, and who is helping my mother and I with this decision. Thank you again for your post.
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