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Have leaky heart valve, enlarged heart. Swollen feet and ankles. Is open heart surgery dangerous?

My mother (86 years old) was just diagnosed with a very leaky heart valve . There is another valve that is not yet leaking, but is an upcoming problem. She was told today that her her heart is slighly enlarged, and they are suggesting open heart surgery. She is in good health, good blood pressure and no cholesteral issues, although she is very fragile and has is now lost about 4 inches height, and is quite stooped in posture . The only symptoms that she has had are swollen feet and ankles, which is now under control. We were also told that the procedures is more dangerous due to her age. What are your thoughts?
Asked On : Sun, 2 Sep 2012
Answers:  1 Views:  441
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Cardiologist 's  Response
Hi there, Thanks for writing in. I am a qualified and certified cardiologist. I read your mail with diligence. If your mother is good health then only she is operable with a risk that as per assessment of your doctor is much less then benefit she is likely to receive valve replacement. Good blood pressure and no cholesterol issue does in no way means that valves of heart can not be involved. I agree with you she, because of her age has a risk which is slightly more than her younger peers but leaving a valve which is producing progressive heart failure, that is my interpretation of slightly larger heart, swollen feet and ankles. She may progress to a stage when surgery itself will not be possible. I have personal problems of giving percentage of success of surgery it she was 40 year old if the risk was 2% of serious complication and now it is hypothetically 5% of serious complication; God forbid is one of 2 or one of those 5; what consolation is it for you that other 98% or 95% operated by that surgeon did not have any complication? Discuss with the surgeon who is going to replace the valve but final call is yours. Good Luck.
With Best wishes.

Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
Answered: Mon, 3 Sep 2012
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