Hello I am very concerned for my Father. He is a heart transplant patient as of 17 years now, things have been going well for him until the last two years. I live in Texas and he is in Virginia so it is hard for me to believe what he tells me (I think he doesn't want me to worry) about his condition. My dad is 52 and got his transplant when he was 35 a unknown virus attacked his heart. Well his biopsys have been showing changes and in June they gave him 2 years. As of a month ago he finally couldn't hide the pain. He finally went to the doctor on Friday the 23rd. He was retaining fluid and his stomach, feet and hands were swollen. They found out the fluid was his urine backing up into his system but surprisingly his kidneys are working fine. Also now they say he has a valve on his right side leaking and his heart is not pumping correctly. His biopsy results are not back yet but I googled all his symptoms and it all points to heart failure.. I am worried because I am clueless about his condition. Please any advice will be appreciated. Also he has coronary heart disease and is an unlikely candidate for another heart, he actually has signed not to be resuscitated if something was to occur. I need advice...
"Now they say he has a valve on his right side leaking"
Valvular regurgitation (leakage, a back flow of blood through the one way-only valve) levels goes from trace or physiologic (aka minimal or trivial, found in many otherwise heart-healthy people, and for the most-part, can be safely ignored), tomild (should be monitored) to moderate (should be monitored closely to see what overall effect it's having on the heart) to severe (when it gets to this point, valve repair or replacement is usually dictated).
Valvular regurgitation grading scale by echocardiography is 0-4 . Valvular regurgitation can cause various symptoms or no symptom(s) at all.
As necessary, prescription drug-therapy treats symptoms, but does not cure the condition. Corrective treatments include catheter-based or surgical-based valve repair and replacement
"His heart is not pumping correctly"
Normal resting range left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is 50%-75%. Under 50% enters into the realm of dysfunctional territory that goes from mild to moderate to severe heart failure.
Pertinent excerpt from article by Richard N. Fogoros, M.D.
When is the MUGA scan more useful than other heart tests?
The advantages of the MUGA scan over other techniques (such as the echocardiogram) for measuring the LVEF are twofold. First, the MUGA ejection fraction is highly accurate, probably more accurate than that obtained by any other technique. Second, The MUGA ejection fraction is highly reproducible. That is, if the LVEF measurement is repeated several times, nearly the same answer is always obtained. (With other tests, variations in the measured LVEF are much greater.)
As applicable, in some cases, along with a doctor recommended/authorized exercise regimen (unless contraindicated), LVEF can be increased, sometimes substantially, by customizing/tweaking prescription drug-therapy (e.g., Coreg, which showed, back in its clinical trial days, that it could boost LVEF in some individuals) and supplemental (complimentary or integrative medicine) therapy, as deemed applicable.
Just one example of complimentary medicine is the use of the supplement Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 or ubiquinone, a vitamin-like substance) for heart failure (though currently not scientifically proven, some doctors may advise the patient to give it a try) which may/can (i.e., along with doctor directed prescription drug-therapy, and with the doctor knowing about any supplements being taken) help to improve LVEF in some, with other supplements sometimes added to the
"He has coronary heart disease and is an unlikely candidate for another heart."
Marvelous medical technology may/can help. As reported in the worldwide media and various medical literature, some cardiac patients, who were extremely ill, and who had an LVAD (heart pump) implanted, were able to stay alive long enough until a heart (or another heart) became available, or were able to avoid a heart transplant completely, as being on an LVAD (and then having it explanted/removed) helped to reverse some of the damage done to the heart, allowing one to live as near a normal life as humanly possible.
Most important, communicate well (be it via phone, e-mail, in-person, or other), with his doctors at ALL times. The very best of luck to your father down the road of life.
WebMD memer (since 8/99)
LEARN ABOUT the Heart
The Heart: (Human Anatomy) Pictures, Definition, Location in the Body and Heart Problems
The opinions expressed in WebMD Communities are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Communities are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.
Do not consider Communities as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.