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AF Association
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Leaking heart valve

I have a leaking heart valve and the doctors are waiting until they think I need a replacement. Meanwhile I have an episode of a.f. which takes me to a&e about every 9-12 months. Other times I manage to tough it out until the heart goes back into normal rhythm. Still there are days when I just feel queer. Only on dabigatran as cardiologist said I haven't had any benefit from previous drugs. Glad to be almost medication free. Will I feel better and with less a.f. episodes after a valve replacement? I had a ventricular standstill last December when in hospital. Any thoughts out there please?

4 Replies

Which valve is leaking? I had an aortic valve replacement three years ago and had PAF for about 7 years before that. I was on rhythm control. My condition was congenital and worsened, not acquired. Put into NSR after the operation, I went back into PAF about 3 days later. AF frequently happens after heart surgery. I've had one cardioversion since the operation, which lasted about 16 months. I'm on rate control.

Sadly the valve replacement may make no difference to your AF and the need for drugs. In my case no one is sure whether the valve problem contributed to the AF or if the AF helped the valve deteriorate. I don't seem to have fast AF, which I experienced 10 years and 3 years ago, presumably due to the drugs and haven't needed to go to A&E since my operation.

If your AF is valvular (definitions vary) and depending on what type of valve you have replaced, you might have to switch to warfarin.


My story is similar to Mrspat except I had no AF prior to an artificial mitral valve replacement 20 years ago. The instances of AF developing after the replacement is high. In my case it took 13 years, I am told the norm is about 3 years post op.

I have had 2 ablations since which have been hugely beneficial but have not eliminated the problem, it is reduced it to a manageable level, I have a PIP should I get a 'go' other than that it is warfarin.

No complaints, I am here and very grateful to be living in a time when we have the medication to keep on top of AF. Very good luck with your valve replacement that is going to go a long way in lifting your quality of life, and whatever comes afterwards in terms of AF can be managed.


On the subject or leaking valves, I am intrigued by the evaluation system used by cardios (ie. mild, moderate or severe). My first echo showed mine to be severe, yet subsequent checks showed up as mild. The difference was that the first was measured when I was in AF and the others when I was in NSR. Do we assume that AF aggravates this situation?


From what I've been told, having an echo while in fast AF makes it very difficult to assess what's going on with the normal functions of the heart.


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