Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Avoiding Permanent Heart Damage

I've been thinking about what I read recently...a detailed description of what happens to your heart when your aortic valve becomes severely stenotic (stenosis means "narrowing"). At the moment I can't locate the more technical description, but this from the Mayo Clinic web site gives you the general outline:

If the aortic valve is narrowed, the left ventricle has to work harder to pump a sufficient amount of blood into the aorta and onward to the rest of your body. In response, the left ventricle may thicken and enlarge. At first these adaptations help the left ventricle pump blood with more force. But eventually these changes weaken the left ventricle — and your heart overall.

I'm going to look today for the technical description of what happens. It has something to do with blood supply to the heart which becomes disrupted or irregular as the heart enlarges in an attempt to compensate for the narrowed valve. This results in ischemia of the heart...which is defined as a localized anemia of living tissue. In other words, parts of your heart begin to suffer from lack of blood supply...therefore, lack of oxygen, as I understand it.

So this is why you don't want to wait to long to have valve surgery if you need it. This sort of damage is NOT reversible, according to what I've read.


LMA said...

Hello Jim,

I wish you the best of luck with your surgery and your heart. A lot of men in my family, including my father had issues similar to years. Have a very blessed and healthy new year.

Barbara said...

Hi Jim,
Nice blog! I have the same thing and was told once my surgery is done(next week)my heart will go back to normal because I am still young (HAH-56).
Hope that is the same for you,
(Dale on VR)