I just wanted to say that I am 67 years old and was stunned to be told I had a heart murmur last year. I had a non mechanical valve replacement last October (St. Jude) as my echo cardiogram then angiogram confirmed that I had a very narrow stenosis measurement with a calcified bicuspid valve. I have to say that I had almost no symtoms; I went to the Doc for antibiotics for a cold and he found the murmur. I did develop an ache in my back but put this down to old age, even though I walked miles and lived in a house with three flights of stairs which presented no problem. On being told my first heart attack would be my last I agreed to an early operation. I was lucky to have health insurance and this proved worth its weight in gold - no waiting and excellent treatment but I opted for a NH hospital (I am in the UK). My wonderful surgeon, on hearing of my dismay at having an unsightly scar on show at my son's wedding which was last December, worked a miracle and I woke up with a tiny scar that is hidden by my clothing.
I followed the exercise programme to the letter after surgery and five weeks later went on a cruise and used their gym. I went to the wedding, drank champagne and danced all night. I feel fine now and hardly even think about the op. I take low dose aspirin and that is all. I have also been told that should this valve ever fail, it could be replaced without a major operation but it could last for 25 years.
Think positive and do exactly what they tell you to do in hospital particularly drinking fluid as much as you can, and you can make a complete recovery. It is not all bad news, I am the proof. I have just got back from holiday, have a tan, wore a swimming costume and feel great.
Good luck to all of you waiting for the op.