Update On Dennis's Heart Surgery

On March 10th Dennis, Lisa, Alissa, & a good friend from Dennis & Lisa’s church went to meet a cardiologist at the University Hospital of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to get more information on the condition of Dennis’ heart. We learned a lot at this appointment & wanted to share what we’ve learned with our Cherished Cottage family.

In terms of the condition of his heart we learned that Dennis is definitely in need of open heart surgery; it’s just a matter of when & that will be determined by a few underlying factors. Basically what we knew when going into this was that Dennis’ aortic valve was leaking due to an aneurysm. Dennis’ aortic valve was replaced using his pulmonary valve back in 1998; at this time his pulmonary valve was then replaced with a cadaver’s valve. In addition to this we also knew that his heart is enlarged but we didn’t have a definitive reason why.

At the appointment his doctor explained that what we knew was accurate but in addition to the aortic valve leaking substantially & the pulmonary having a “slight slow” leak his mitral & tricuspid valves are also leaking. The cardiologist believes that the cause of all the leaking or at least a significant underlying factor to the majority of the leaking is a direct result of his aortic stem becoming clogged. Because the heart is working overtime trying to maintain flow through the clogged aortic stem it’s causing more leaks to occur & that’s what is causing his heart to enlarge.

The cardiologist explained that Dennis definitely needs open heart surgery this year but the “when” is what we’re still trying to figure out.
            There’s a good chance that the leaks & enlargement will correct thetmselves once the aortic stem is repaired which would obviously be ideal. It still seems that the aortic valve may need to be repaired but at least the mitral, pulmonary, & tricuspid valves wouldn’t need to be.
            However, Dennis has been experiencing shortness of breath in addition to shortness of breath & slight heart palpitations. This has caused the doctor some concern so he wants to have Dennis tested for coronary artery disease before any final steps are taken. Coronary artery disease is caused by the major blood vessels that give your heart it’s blood, oxygen, & nutrients becoming damaged or diseased. It is usually caused by a lot of plaque buildup in the artery & arterial inflammation.


So, bottom line, what is happening now? Dennis is scheduled to go in to the cardiologist in April to have tests done that will determine if he has CAD (coronary artery disease) and if the results show that he in fact does that will mean that he needs the surgery as soon as possible. If he does not have CAD then he will see the cardiologist again in June & at that time we will discuss scheduling the surgery.

He did assure us though, that the enlargement will go back down to normal once all four valves & the aortic stem are repaired.

We want to thank all of you for your kindness, thoughts & prayers during this time. We appreciate all of you very much.

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals; if you are seeking medical advice/information please consult a physician.

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