...Making life better for Yorkshire Heart Patients

A 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 protected]. Your name will not be published here or in the newsletter.

Dear Dr Schlosshan,

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?

Yours sincerely

Mrs W.

Dear Mrs W,

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.

Best wishes

Dominik Schlosshan