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

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

Can anyone suggest decent methods to control what I like to term' valve-related anxiety disorder'?!

I just visited the local ED here again this afternoon thinking all hell was breaking loose with shortness of breath, pending feeling of doom etc (exasperated by a nurse saying she couldnt find my pulse for a moment!)

At the end I was diagnosed with another anxiety attack after the doc took an ECG and said my ticker looked fine.  He also reassured me that the valve will last a lifetime and is like a 'puncture in your car tyre'.  You get a puncture, replace it with a new tyre, and back to normal - same goes with the valve.  Funny that did seem to help, as well as the valium he prescribed to me.

I have tried yoga but the ticking puts an end to that as I can't 'focus' really.  Exercise does help me, thus the triathlons, but after 12yrs you'd think I would be over the anxiety disorder every time I hear an irregular heartbeat or sudden extra loud 'tick'.

Any advice or suggestions that may have worked for others will be warmly appreciated.



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Dear Alan,

There are two aspects that need separation. The heart plus valve and psychological. The heart part of it is like the doctor says and I believe is fixed. The heart is better than before and will not fail you unless neglected. The psychological is not difficult to master.

Try to record or know what triggers the anxiety.Usually it is the fear of something happening or not happening. If it is death, then do not fear it as it is inevitable like taxes. So what's left is all about living. The heart and the body do give out alarming sounds and symptoms which are generally harmless. I haven't heard of some one having a huge crash sound before slumping to a heart attack. Only in the movies.


As regards Yoga and the clicking sound. If the sound is treated as a disturbance, so it will be. In Yoga one can blank the mind of sounds. It is all in the mind. Try reciting a mantra, make it your favourite one, that eliminates all sounds. Recite silently, repeatedly as a signal for all sounds to go away. It could be anything which comes to your mind.


The aim is to know what triggers, then control it, and reduce and slowly eliminate the attacks.







Hi Alan

We are all different but Yoga works for me.  I do about half an hour most days as a routine and use Yogic breathing when I need to calm myself down and take my mind off the ticking.  I also spent some sessions with a counsellor after the operation and that helped me handle some of the quite scary feelings. Maybe the trialthons (which I couldn't do in a million years) suggest that you're trying a bit too hard and something like Yoga which is calming would be worth persisting with.  I don't go to classes but I have a session with a Yoga teacher every six weeks or so and we've devised a not very demanding routine which suits me.

Would be good to have your feedback as we learn a lot from each other in spite of us being, as I said, all rather different.


Hi Alan

 In my reply to Evelyn where I wrote  some patients are treated with med's for anxiety & depression for a length of time ~~~~I do know about med's being given to the young for anxiety etc.    In your post Anxiety Issues you wrote the med Valium seem to help.  In your reply to Evelyn you said you never took it.        I also do as you  stop. refocus,except I hold my breath for a few seconds , guess what ever works is a plus .


 Anne J

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