Bicuspid Valve and Aortic Aneurysm

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/21/2008 9:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve 27 years ago when I was three. I have never had any real issues. It was only recently that I realized that aortic aneurysm is an issue for those with bicuspid aortic valves. 2.5 or 3.5 years ago I did a CT-scan of the aorta and it came back at 4.6 cm. (My doctor never even told me the diameter.) This year I went for a MRI and my aortic root measured in at 4.5 cm. So it seems things are stable. My doctor said that we don't have to worry about surgery until it gets to 6 cm. I am fairly certain this is all referring to the ascending aorta.

I have a few questions. Based on my online research it seems that the 6 cm measurement might be outdated. Is surgery being recommended at an earlier stage now? Second, to what extent does the stability over time suggest that this is not as big of a concern as if it were growing. Third, has anyone ever experienced premature contractions that make one feel as if your heart is stopping? I've read that these aren't a big worry, but that they could be with BAV. Has anyone ever experienced these?

Does height change the equation? I don't have Marfan's but am tall (6 ft 4) Does height mean that I would naturally have a larger heart and/or aorta?

My doctor recommends to continue exercising and has even cleared me for some light weight lifting. I guess I wondered about others thoughts on all of the above. I have to say that my online research today has me freaked out. Any help or advice would be welcomed. I will say that I am not trying to throw my doctor under the bus as I have been pretty happy with his care.

Miss Helen
Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 8/20/2008 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm a 51 year old female that was diagnosed with Congenital valvular heart disease when I was 5 years old. I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and was followed for many years due not only to insufficiency, but stenosis as well. A few years after the birth of my 4th child, my cardiac symptoms became pretty bad. Primarily shortness of breath. At the age of 35 I had my aortic valve replaced with a mechanical valve.

Fast forward to 2005, shortly before my 48th birthday and I began experiencing some odd sypmptoms. My mechanical valve wouldn't "click" at times (ended up to have a clot on it) and I had this very strange pulsation and bulging in my neck. Scared the dickens out of me. I went to the emergency room, they ordered a cat scan and discovered that I had a 5 cm aneurysm of the ascending aorta. At that time they recommended immediate surgery to repair the aneurysm and replace the old mechanical valve as well. They replaced the ascending arch of my aorta with a dacron graft with a St. Jude mechanical valve attached.

I don't know if it's normal to wait to 6 cm to have the aneurysm repaired, but my doctor's did it immediately at 5 cm. Perhaps it was because I was also experiencing symptoms of a clot of my mechanical valve and they thought it would be best to go ahead and do the whole thing at the same time.

Don't know if any of that helped.
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