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

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

4 months post op, Mitral Valve Replacement with St Jude mechanical heart valve

I have spent the last 7 weeks in Cardiac Rehab twice a week.  I found it really beneficial and you can work gently at your own pace.  Our local council offer a discount for their fitness programmes under the exercise prescription scheme.  The Physio at Cardiac Rehab completes the paperwork and I'll get an appointment after Christmas for a session with one of the trainers for my own circuit.  Lots of heart friendly classes to join as well.

I saw my Cardiologist yesterday and had a baseline TTE (ultrasound).  He was suggesting I go on ACE inhibitors (Ramipril) to support the heart and assist with remodelling.  I wondered if others were on ACE inhibitors and what their experiences are with this drug?

I'm now self testing with my Coaguchek which is so convenient.  My INR is not yet stable and I'm not often in therapeutic range but this was no barrier to self testing. Our local Warfarin Clinic is run by the Biomedical Scientists. The BMS who supported and trained me in the use of the Coagucheck said it was just as reliable as venous blood sampling.  The reason the NHS don't use it routinely for all Warfarin sampling is that venous blood sampling costs pennies and the Coaguchek costs pounds! It's the cost of the test strips. Maybe the price would come down if they were used more.  I asked my GP for the test strips on prescrption but the PCT won't supply them and I heard they were also making Diabetics pay for their own test strips.  It means I buy my own test strips but I'm happy to do that for the convenience.  They are around £2.50 a strip. 

All in all it's been a tough year with the death of my sister in January from the same Mitral Valve problem.  This made me check out my heart which was going into failure slowly but surely.

I'm so grateful to the NHS for treating me efficiently and thoroughly.  When I really needed good medical care, the NHS was there for me. I do hope the changes to the NHS in April 2013 do nothing to stop the excellence that I experienced.

Merry Christmas and thank you so much for all your support this year.

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Comment by John French on December 21, 2012 at 21:43
Hi Janet - I get my Coagucheck strips on prescription so only pay the prescription fee - I have purchased a prepayment certificate for around £104 which means I get all my prescriptions for that. It is strange how the various areas have different rules.

I am on an ACE inhibitor - Perindopril - I take 2mg each day. I have been on this since they discovered my aortic aneurysm as a precaution - I never had high blood pressure. They have kept me on it post surgery as it apparently has a protective effect on the heart. I haven't had any side effects other than a slight cough for the first few months I took it - it settled down after that.

Best wishes

Comment by Martina on December 19, 2012 at 21:39

Hi Janet

Very glad to hear from you. I too found the Cardiac Rehab very helpful. I self test with my Coaguchek too and had thought it was cheaper than getting it done at my Dr's surgery (go to my Dr's once a month and self test every week). Strips wise, I get 24 off strips on prescription then next time I pay for 24 off and we continue to alternate i.e. I buy some myself.

I have not required Ramipril - so, sorry can't assist you.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope next year is a much happier one for you.

Best regards


Comment by Janet Hogger on December 19, 2012 at 18:18

Hi James

Thanks for the info about Ramipril. 

I think the BMS was talking about the sheer volume of people who turn up at the Phlebotomy clinic for bloods and Warfarin testing and that economies of scale came into it.


Comment by James Cohen on December 19, 2012 at 16:40

I am on Ramipril and have been for a number of years.  Started at 5mg and now up to 10mg, which keeps my blood pressure under control.  No one offered me alternatives, and I have not asked as it seems to work well.  They do a blood test once a year for kidney function.


Do not agree with the BMS suggestion that venous testing cost pennies.  I see the nurse, she takes the blood, a driver turns up later in the day and drives it to the hospital, who do the test, and then print out a form, which they post to me.  The hospital charges my PCT £85 for the service (excluding the nurse) the Coaguchek costs the PCT about £6 per test strip!  To say about my time and impact on the working day!


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