Mitral Valve Prolapse Repair -Follow Up - 6/6

Progress Over Time

Many years have passed since my robot-assisted Mitral Valve Prolapse surgery and my view of the surgery and the results remain the same. It was excellent. Generally, I never even think that I had this critical heart surgery. It is not a part of my daily, weekly, or monthly thoughts.

As an example, about 5 years after the surgery I went to an emergency room due to an extreme pain low in my gut. They checked me in and after asking lots of questions and taking some X-rays and films of my abdomen a doctor came to inquire further. He said "something is showing in your films, have you ever had heart surgery."

I said yes, I'd had corrective surgery for mitral valve prolapse. He said "That's kind of important. You should tell us about that when you check in and we ask you all those questions!" Oops. Slipped my mind. (BTW, the heart and surgery had nothing to do with this problem.)

There's no need to keep the surgery in my mind in my everyday life, so much so that I had forgotten to even mention it when I went to the hospital. There's some kind of plastic ring thing they put around the valve or something when they work on it, and that ring shows up on X-rays, and this doctor had seen it. Maybe they should just put a chip in there like they do for your dog or cat these days.

 

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It is now 2012, and I find the hosting of the Web site where I originally put this story is no longer providing that service so I've renewed the site in this new location. As part of that I've tried to update some of the links, but some cannot be easily traced any more. 99.9% of the above story is as I told it in 2003 (with the verb tenses for that period in time.)

From what I can tell, Dr. Chitwood has become something of legend. He looks to be still active in mitral valve surgery, having performed over 400 da Vinci repairs, speaks at conferences, and running the new East Carolina Heart Institute.

Meantime, Austin has gotten a da Vinci machine or two in some facilities although I'm not certain they're using it for hearts or just the other procedures for which it is approved. Me, I've got over 8 years on this renewed heart and couldn't be happier with the outcome. I may end up being the longest running robotically-repaired heart patient, just because I was one of the earlier ones and am so young.

Cheers, Tom    -February 2012

 

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My heart is just fine now. I go to the cardiologist once a year or so for a check up but there has been no discernable degradation to my heart. Everything is working fine. I'm told not to perform consistent heavy resistive muscle work, but since I haven't done bench presses or weight lifting since college, that's not a problem. I lift couches and things around the house and crank down on wrenches on the car without worry - it's only occasional.

I still ride my bicycle quite frequently and for long and strenuous rides some times. That's just fine and I tire no more than the next guy - in fact it's quite invigorating, just so you know. As I said earlier, I need to take no medicine for my heart.

The only thing that reminds me of my changed heart is that if I lie in bed on my right side just so, my heart will usually pound hard enough to make it difficult to sleep. If I roll 10° it stops and I go back to sleep. That's it. No other ill effects. Period.

The scars on my chest are hard to find any more, except for the 2" one and it has faded some. If asked, I like to say I got into a knife fight and you should see the other guy; or I tell my heart story. I figure it's more interesting and useful than some guy explaining his tattoo.

 

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More, Links, and Visuals

(many of these links are external, so I apologize if they go dead without my noticing)

Best Illustration of the Heart

Drawing of Mitral Valve

Animation of Heart or Like You're There or Rubbery YouTube  

The Man (surgeon)
  
(& Google: W. Randolph Chitwood Jr)

The Machine

Robot Hands

The Theatre

da Vinci in Action 7:00 video 12/17/10

My Doppler TEE

My "Cath"

Med Sched

My Timeline

My Scars

 

Throughout this discussion, all trademarks and copyrights remain with their respective owners. Apologies if they are used incorrectly or products and services are ineptly described. The author has no association with the mentioned people or organizations other than the obvious and has not been paid or encouraged for the opinions expressed here.

 

Where

My surgery was performed at:

Pitt County Memorial Hospital
Brody School of Medicine
East Carolina University
600 Moye Blvd.
Greenville, North Carolina 27834
                   (not SC)
(252) 744-1020
 

Who

Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr. now (5+ years later) also reigns over:

East Carolina Heart Institute
115 Heart Drive
Greenville, North Carolina 27834

 

Using

The robotic machine used in my surgery was the early version of:

da Vinci Surgical System®
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
1266 Kifer Road
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Phone: (408) 523-2100

Typical Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)

• Shortness of breath
• Fatigue, exhaustion, light-headedness, dizziness, faint
• Anxiety, apprehension, panic, sleep disorders
• Heart throbbing, fluttering, palpitations; chest pain
• Headaches, migraines, digestive problems
• Cold hands and feet

―――

I had attributed my only symptom, occasional anxiety at bedtime and awareness of my heart beating, to stress and concern regarding my job – chalk it up to modern society. Some people experiencing more of the symptoms apparently can become overcome with anxiety because they haven't been diagnosed and connected the symptoms to MVP and don't understand what is happening to them.

click to go to a section

0. Prologue

1. About MVP

2. In Hospital

3. Gain, No Pain

4. Show Me

5. Conclusions

6. Follow-up

Links & More

start of story
prior section
next section
master site
click to go to a section

0. Prologue

1. About MVP

2. In Hospital

3. Gain, No Pain

4. Show Me

5. Conclusions

6. Follow-up

Links & More

start of story
prior section
next section
master site
click to go to a section

0. Prologue

1. About MVP

2. In Hospital

3. Gain, No Pain

4. Show Me

5. Conclusions

6. Follow-up

Links & More

start of story
prior section
next section
master site

Copyright ©2003-2015

Copyright ©2003-2015