Words of occasional wisdom from Bruce Oakley

Update on Suzy’s heart

Posted by boakley59 on October 7, 2008

Suzy is home from the hospital (10/7/08), tested and cleared to go about her normal life.

The symptoms that sent her to the emergency room have passed and seem to have been momentary. Various diagnostics all came back normal for nutrient levels, blood condition, infection indicators and so on.

In checking all of that, however, doctors detected a heart murmur, and subsequent tests showed a weak valve. Much is known about the mitral valve, but much of what is known is that not enough is known yet. The immediate upshot is that Suzy has a fairly common heart problem that does not require surgery, but will require careful and regular monitoring for the rest of her days.

As I understand what the doctors told us, the outward signs that this valve problem might cause (physical difficulties like chest pain or whatever) become apparent too late. Surgery at that stage is not so undeniably helpful, so there’s a bit of a drive to intervene early. At the same time, many patients lead ordinary lives with this problem and surgery would be too drastic a response. The cautious middle ground is constant monitoring of underlying physical indicators (size of the heart chambers, blood flow, blood vessel configuration), rather than waiting for external symptoms like impaired ability to exercise.

Suzy will start having regular close looks at her heart to see if the weak valve leads to leakage that warrants surgery. Her next followup is in December, and then perhaps every six months or so after that (perhaps less frequently, depending on findings).

We will be working on keeping stress to a minimum and improving general nutrition and fitness. We are glad that the moment has passed and that it brought us an early warning of something that might have been much worse.

The doctors confirm what we all know: Suzy’s heart is a delicate treasure.


3 Responses to “Update on Suzy’s heart”

  1. Peregrine said

    Step One: Get out of stressful job. Check!

    Glad she’s home and doing okay. Hug her for us!


    Bruce sez: Consider her hugged. We do see the silver lining: Stress and worry brought an early warning, so the craziness turned out to be life-saving. Now, life-preserving demands calmer waters. Headed in the right direction!

  2. Thanks, Bruce. Get well, Suzy – that job change sure couldn’t have come at a better time, huh? I’m so glad for you.

  3. Stacy Hudson said

    I will be praying for you guys. Y’all have been through a rough lot this past year!

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