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  • Writer's pictureSusan Strong

Life After TAVR: Managing Uncertainty About My Valve's Future

Just a few days ago, Nov. 12th, was my 7 year "valversary"! So much life has happened since then. I'm grateful for the life-saving #TAVR procedure that gave me my quality of life back! The photos below are from the day after my TAVR, and from my 56th birthday last month. At this point in my journey with heart valve disease, I'm learning to manage some anxiety around the longevity of my new valve, and I'm learning about my treatment options for the future. In my latest post for Healthgrades, I share how I stay positive and trust my doctors.

Thank you for checking out my blog posts and website. Feel free to contact me to share your story. It totally makes my day to hear that I've helped or encouraged someone who is dealing with heart valve disease, especially those like me who have aortic stenosis as a late effect of radiation treatment for cancer.

If you have questions about how long TAVR valves last, or if you've been told that surgical valves last longer than TAVR valves, or you're just trying to weigh your options to decide on which treatment is right for you, please keep reading below...

Here's a sample from my most recent article on Healthgrades:

Life After TAVR: Managing Uncertainty About My Valve's Future

As a younger person living with valvular heart disease, I’ve learned to think of my aortic stenosis (AS) as a chronic condition to manage for the long term, rather than an issue to be fixed and forgotten. Yes, my diseased aortic valve was replaced with transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), during which my doctor implanted a new bioprosthetic, or tissue, valve over my damaged valve–but now that valve is almost seven years old. The need for another valve replacement crosses my mind more often than it did during the “honeymoon” phase of the first few years after my TAVR.

If you’re like me and had aortic valve replacement before age 65, it’s likely that you will outlive your tissue valve, so it’s important to have a plan for lifetime management.

Understanding My Valve

Before my TAVR, aortic stenosis caused me to feel exhausted, and I became short of breath just walking across the room. I felt a constant sense of pressure in my chest, along with heart palpitations that would unnerve me when I was trying to fall asleep. Getting my new valve was such a relief, and I felt better immediately. But I knew it wasn’t forever.

My doctor told me that over time–potentially 10 to 15 years–all tissue heart valves degenerate and eventually need to be replaced. He explained no one can predict or guarantee how long any valve will last in an individual person, so data over time is used to provide estimates for valve longevity. Since TAVR is a newer treatment, we don’t yet have enough data to make precise estimates for TAVR valves, but he believes the early data is promising. Click here to read the entire article on Healthgrades.

A few months after TAVR I was able to dance in Zumba classes again!
Before TAVR, I was too short of breath to exercise at all.



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