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

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

Hi all, im 27 and mum to 2 children. At the age of 7 I had a valve repair and 2 holes patched up at the old groby road childrens in leicester. Ever since I have had yearly check ups and always known that there was a chance of future surgery but I had always been given the impression it would be when I was much older. I went for my check up in May ( first years have ever been on my own- big mistake) and was told that my valve had gone from a mild/moderate leak to a severe leak and I needed to go to Leicester the following month to have an transoesophical echocardiogram ( sorry if that is mis spelt). I travelled to Leicester in June to have this procedure and it confirmed the severity of the leak - at leat now I understood why I have been so tired all the time and struggling with some physical exercise. Within 4 weeks the doctors had discussed my case and wrote to me telling me that I needed a repair, however because of the severity it may lead to a replacement. I saw the surgeon at Leicester last Tuesday and we agreed that he would perform surgery and I gave him permission to decide whether to repair or replace whilst I am in theatre. He told me he would like to do this surgery oct/nov as he would like me to have a scan to check arteries in my groin before surgery.
This has all come as quite a shock and I feel like im in a bit of a whirlwind. I have had tears and then I feel in denial about having the surgery, I'm quite worried in case anything goes wrong because my children are so young ( I know chances are slim of anything going wrong but I can't help worrying). On the otherhand I am looking forward to feeling better and hopefully never needing surgery again. It seems a while away until my surgery as I have lots of things happening before then but I know it is going to creep up. I can't really remember my previous op and I am concerned about home life while im in hospital, and I do not really like the idea of warfarin. Sorry this post is very moany but it just feels so much better I write it down and let it all out. Emily x

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Hi Emily, I know what you mean that it comes as such a shock - mine did too. It is very understandable to be worried, it's only natural to be. I was happy when I found this website – knowing you are not the only one going through this is very helpful, Open heart surgery is a relative regular surgery now. So, try not to worry, I know easy to say hard to do. We are here to help so please ask as many questions as you like. As you say it does help to write down your thoughts.

Wishing you all the best – it won’t be long until you are on the road to recovery.

Best regards


Hi Emily,

Your feeling and anxieties are completely understandable and normal. All of us who have been through this have felt the same. Trust me the waiting is worst, however at your age you are in a great position in terms of recovering from the surgery. I am 58yrs. and have been on warfarin for 11yrs. and I advise you not to worry about it, my mother was on warfarin for 30 odd years without any problems.

The artery check in your groin is probably an angiogram, I've had it and it's nothing really probably just a precaution to see if you have any blockages around your heart. This doesn't mean they think there is, but the doctors like to find out everything relevant about you so they can plan the opp. properly.

Please try not to worry too much, all us members best wishes are with you.


if this is the only one way to the life, we have't  other choice. I had 3 operations, and it is unclear what will happen in  future, but i believe to this minds- then you walk through spigles,  can pierced feets, but then you stay in same place will never see roses ... IWrite to forum every time,then you will fill sad,or happy,ask if dont know something. I am with you:):):) P.S i have 2 children too,and only about children was woring. Everything will be ok,dont lost believe.

Emily sweet darling sorry the campness in me this is a truly sad story more so you are just a baby yourself. I found that heart surgery has come such a long way is not as easy as appendices but the surgeons know what they are doing. So much research has go in so many years of good operations that yes you even say so you know you are going to be just fine.

Is no comfort to you but having the surgery at such early stage and having all the wrong things repaired means that after that you will have a full life with your young babies to live and your husband in such I would pray for you and hope to hear fantastic news of recovery and good life after the replacement.

You have to stay strong and positive for the babies and for yourself. And you are not alone.

I have not had my replacement yet but there are a lot of kind hearted people on here to hold your hand with advice every step of the way.

I m thinking of you and hope the operation will pass and in a few months you ll be back on here reporting good progress and well being and hapiness. I am so very sorry you do have to have this at your very young age.

Hugs if permited


Thank you everyone for your very kind and encouraging words. I'm not feeling too bad at the moment, the surgeon told me to get a holiday in before the op so that is all booked for the beginning of October so I have 4 lovely days away to look forward too and then he said he will try and do the op as soon as when I get back. I can not express how truly wonderful I think this site is, it has given me such motivation from reading other peoples experiences. Emily x

Hi Emily,

 Your story is ALOT similar to mine. At the age of 5 weeks old I had my aortic valve repaired (not replaced) for aortic stenosis. We knew eventually one day it would have to be replaced. I have been fortunate enough to be physically and play sports all my life with no issues. Well this past may I went for an echo havent been since I was 21 and I am currently 28. Well turns out my valve is leaking bad and stenosis is bad, pretty much just a small hole there not even really a valve. So this past Monday Aug. 20 I had a 21mm St. jude mechanical valve put in. We decided on the mechanical valve for a number of reasons, my age and not wanting a re- operation down the road. I cam home after 5 days and today, I feel 10x better. Its amazing how quickly I am recovering!! I am young and in good shape so I know that plays in a factor as well but I tell you I DONT regret having it done. I can already tell a difference in how I feel and im only 8 days post op not even close to fully recovered yet. I dont think you realize how much your bad valve or condition affects you till its fixed!! Its like my doctor told me its not like the valve is going to fix itself, so why wait till it causes you a problem!!!

Thanks Ryan, your story is very encouraging. I am kind of eager to get the op done now but the other half is still in den
Sorry I hadn't finished the last post, half of me is in denial about the op still. I have been off work with the kids over the summer but I'm back to work nex Wednesday so I'm looking forward to that as it will keep me busy and take my mind off things. Wishing u a speedy recovery Ryan and keep me posted on how u r doing. Emily x

Hi Emily, Sorry you have to go through this but we have strength in numbers. I had mechanical valve replacement 2 years ago. Warfarin is now a part of my life. Besides bruising, I have not had any side effects. I run, take Zumba exercise classes and feel great. Do not worry going into surgery...this prodedure had been done 30,000 times at my hospital alone. I was back to work full-time in 4 weeks. I will pray that everything goes well for you.

Warmest regards from Central Illinois, USA. Mary Z

Hi Emily, I was, fortunate (or unfortunate) to have had emergency heart surgury in Nov 2005 and had alot of problems. But the brilliant people at Broadgreen Liverpool were so supportive to me and my family. And i believe that the support given by friends, family and my wonderful wife. And the will to see them and my two boys (age eleven and ten now) made me not give in.

You obviously love your kids a lot, and that will give you the strength to get you through your surgury. Trust me and every body on this site and form we are all behind you.

As for taking the Warfrin you will get used to it and soon enjoy life and probley better than before.

King reguards


who have mechanical heart valves i want to ask-have been for you diagnosed heart failure,and what big degree was your regurgitation?  And now have you problems  with heart rhythm or not?  Thank you for the answer:)

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