You’ve been told that one of the valves in your heart needs to be repaired. It isn’t doing the work it should, opening and closing to allow blood in and out of the four chambers of the heart. Your options for repair, depending on the severity of your condition and your general health, include certain medications; surgical procedures; or, in some cases, heart valve replacement.
Your doctor will advise you as to the best course of action, but there are some questions you can ask that will make your treatment more understandable. A Vascular Specialist from St. Luke’s Heart and Vascular Center advises that you make a list, and include some of these. “If medicine is being recommended,“ says a St. Luke’s vascular specialist, “you can ask: What kinds of medicine are available, and why is this path an option for me? What are the side effects? Will this result in permanent improvement, or will I always have to take it?”
They continue, “If surgical repair is recommended, some questions are: Will I need to have general or open heart surgery, or can this be done as part of a cardiac catheterization procedure? Where will the catheter be inserted? How long does it take, and what is the recovery time? Is this an in-patient or outpatient procedure?”
The vascular specialist at St. Luke’s University Health Network adds, “Similarly, if valve replacement is recommended, your questions can include: Will I be getting a tissue valve or a mechanical valve, or will you be able to use a valve of my own? What are my best options, and why?”
Being prepared with these kinds of questions, and with others you may have, will help make the information you receive at your appointment both more productive and more reassuring.