Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Heart transplant patient
avatar
Kjenkins3 posted:
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...
Reply
 
avatar
cardiostarusa1 responded:
Hi:

"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), to mild (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.

Understanding Your Ejection Fraction

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/heartfailure/ejectionfraction.aspx
**To get a decent estimate of LVEF, a MUGA scan is reported as being the most accurate of the non-invasive imaging.

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.

Taker care,

CardioStar*

WebMD memer (since 8/99)



-

-

Be well-informed

LEARN ABOUT the Heart


WebMD

The Heart: (Human Anatomy) Pictures, Definition, Location in the Body and Heart Problems

http://www.webmd.com/heart/picture-of-the-heart

-

Patient resources

Heart/Heart-Lung Forum

http://www.transplantbuddies.org/tbx/messages/5/5.html?1278051163

-

WebMD/WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

WeMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.


Featuring Experts

James Beckerman, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist at the Providence St. Vincent Heart Clinic in Portland, OR. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Col...More

Helpful Tips

Coffee Can Lower Depression Risk in WomenGuest Expert
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204010604576594853506227020.html More
Was this Helpful?
1 of 1 found this helpful

Expert Blog

The Heart Beat - James Beckerman, MD, FACC

Dr. James Beckerman shares how small, livable lifestyle changes can have a real impact on your risk of heart attack and stroke...Read More

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems to the
Food and Drug Administration

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information, visit the Duke Health General and Consultative Heart Care Center