• Susan Strong

Aortic Stenosis: 5 Tips for Care Partners

When I was first diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis and my cardiologist told me I needed aortic valve replacement, I felt overwhelmed by the news. What I wanted most in that moment was to be back home, feeling the safety and comfort of a hug from the person closest to me. Throughout the journey from diagnosis to treatment, Darryl was my rock.


If you were to ask him about his role as my care partner, he would downplay his contributions – but I can’t imagine going through it without his support. Darryl remained steadfast as he accompanied me to appointments, tests, and procedures; took careful notes so I could be present with my doctors; and maintained a notebook with a running list of questions for my healthcare team. He stayed positive and reminded me how much better I would feel with my new heart valve, lifting my spirits when I would get stuck in my own anxiety and fear.


Since my transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in 2014, I’ve met many other people with aortic stenosis, as well as their care partners. I’ve reflected with them about their experiences, as they told me about the tools they wish they had during the process. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to be there for your loved one while also managing your own mental health:


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