As the saying goes over at valvereplacement.com, only a surgeon can cure valve disease. A cardiologist cannot cure your valve problem. The reason I sought out a surgeon's opinion is that the conventional wisdom over at VR.com is that cardiologists tend to be more conservative in the management of valve disease, and prefer to delay surgical intervention until the onset of severe symptoms. On the other hand, it is felt that surgeons prefer to intervene at an earlier point, before any permanent damage is done to the heart. This may or may not be true depending on who the care providers are.
After sleeping on it, it occurs to me that I got what I wanted from the surgeon at Penn, i.e., an evaluation. In his opinion, it is not yet time for my surgery. I'm not thrilled to be walking around with an aortic aneurysm, but many people have one and many people don't even know that they have it. At least I'm aware of the problem, I have obtained an evaluation from someone who is capable of curing it, and I have a plan for management of my condition going forward. So, that's not all that bad a place to be, all things considered.