Living with a Mechanical Heart Valve: Click.Tick.Thump. Love It!

Support Group for Mechanical & Artificial Heart Valve Surgery & Using Warfarin

  In December of last year (2013) my family found out by taking me to the ER that I had developed endocarditis and a resulting sepsis. Very close to death, I was intubated and sedated for 3+ weeks. When I regained consciousness, I learned the endocarditis had caused vegetation to grow on all my prosthetic heart parts (aortic valve, aortic root, and ascending aortic arch), my tricuspid valve was also destroyed by the infection.  

  January 21, 2014 I had a 14 hour surgery to replace all the existing prosthetic parts and my tricuspid valve. I've recovered, and actually feel better than I have felt in years. One of the positive aspects of my illness is I lost 70 pounds while hospitalized and no longer need to pursue the bariatric surgery I had planned. I'm sure my heart is grateful for that.

  The question behind my prior verbose rambling, is has anyone ever found a comforting approach to avoiding or stopping endocarditis before it becomes life threatening. I know people with prosthetic heart valves are at a higher risk for endocarditis, but no doctor has given me anything like a neat little check list like "do this and you should be fine".  My illness really seemed to come on so suddenly I didn't even realize I was in a serious condition until, WHAM I woke up in the hospital 3 1/2 weeks after leaving work early with what I thought was the flu.  

  What do you do prophylactically? I know antibiotics for dental visits, but anyone have any other anti-endocarditis tricks up their sleeve?

Thanks,

Joel

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Interesting Joel..I never really thought about endocartitis but I have just spent a week in hospital with sepsis from a surgical procedure  that went wrong. I also had no idea I was as sick as I was until my hero (again!) my wife demanded a doc visit at home after seeing me with severe chills and sweats.. a screaming ambulance trip to Medway emergency then followed when I was nearly crash cart fodder.

A week in hospital (Thank you Medway Hospital - amazing, professional caring medical attention from a dedicated team of specialist doctors and nurses,.. take a bow!) to try and stablize my body with MASSIVE antibiotics and drips etc...Bloody hell!  I was worried sick that I would alsos contract endocartitis... 

Recovery time now..tired and very glad to be home... 

cheers all

Graeme

Graeme,

   I am glad you are feeling better and recovering. Also happy for you that you did not contract endo. I was freaking out a bit because nobody had told me the root source of the infection, but apparently most doctors my wife talked to believe it initially started in 2012 when I had an ICD implanted. Since I did not know the signs and symptoms of endocarditis, it progressed to a very serious stage. Now I'm thinking I will need a very good reason to allow a doctor to stick some device in my chest. (Old ICD and Pacemaker have been removed and new pacemaker implanted in January)

I can relate to IV antibiotics..."Bloody Hell" is a good description, and I'm not even a Brit. 

Now, I focus on my prophylactic antibiotics when necessary and keep my dental hygiene up and hopefully all will be well.

Joel 

Hi Graeme & Joel

Sorry to hear about the issue you both have had recently but glad to hear you both are recovering.

Graeme, I was shocked to read this - wishing you a speedy recovery, thinking of you.

Best regards

Martina

 

Graeme

What a shocker - our wives are wonderful.

Get well soon

James

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