series in which Dr Dominik Schlosshan, Consultant Cardiologist
at the Yorkshire Heart Centre, answers reader's queries on Heart
problems. Letters should be addressed to Dr Schlosshan, Take
Heart Office, F Floor, Jubilee Wing, LGI, LS1 2HX or e-mail
to email@example.com. Your name will not be published here
or in the newsletter.
I am a 76 yr old woman and I have been told I have a leaking heart
valve. I also have emphysema. I had a heart attack in 1994 and three
stents have been put in arteries at later dates.
My question is how safe is an operation for a new heart valve for
someone of my age?
Many thanks for your enquiry about the safety of a valve operation
in someone your age and your past medical history.
The majority of heart valve operations are performed in patients
your age, so it is not unusual for patients your age to be considered
for heart valve operations.
All open heart surgery carries some risk as it is a major operation.
The overall risk of the operation is determined by many factors
including your heart function, lung function, kidney function, overall
exercise capacity, the state of the arteries supplying your heart
and other things. This is always carefully assessed before considering
surgery. The surgeon then balances the overall risks of the operation
with the benefits of the operation. This would be discussed with
you in detail would an operation be considered.