|My Heart Story||Family William Wieland|
|I had open heart surgery in June, 2014. My aortic valve and mitral valve were replaced with mechanical valves and my aorta was repaired with a Dacron patch.|
|Close Call||My valves were much worse than anyone had foreseen. If my grandfather had been born with them, he probably would have died suddenly while pitching hay. After the operation, the surgeon told my wife that it was "a tough, tough surgery". To keep me motionless, I was under anesthesia for 24 hours. (Usually heart patients are awake a few hours after surgery.) The surgeon later told us that my aortic valve was one of the worst he has seen.|
Mitral Valve — Heart valves are like double doors. The leaflets open one way and blood flows, then they shut so blood doesn't flow back. Mitral valve prolapse is like a saloon door. The valve doesn't shut but goes a little farther and allows some blood to go backwards. My heart had to work harder to pump the same amount of blood.|
Aortic Valve — My aortic valve was like a door with rusty hinges. It was stiff and hardly opened at all. The technical term is calcification. My heart had to work harder to pump the same amount of blood.
Left Ventricle — Blood flows into the left ventricle through the mitral valve and out through the aortic valve. My left ventricle became enlarged trying hard to pump blood with these lousy "doors".
Aorta — Because the aortic valve allowed little blood to pass through, it squirted twice as fast as normal through the smaller opening. (Think of holding your thumb on a garden hose.) This was hard on my aorta, the main artery off the top of the heart.
|CaringBridge||My wife and sister posted heart surgery and recovery updates at www.caringbridge.org/visit/billwieland. It is a great way to update family and friends.|
|Hospital||The Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD was absolutely excellent. My heart surgeon visited me every morning as did the endocrinologist. The nurses promptly answered the call button. They were very knowledgeable since it is a heart hospital—particularly the nurse practicioners. Furthermore, the hospital is connected to a hotel. We simply walked down the hall at 4:30 am the morning of my surgery. My wife, my sister and I stayed for just $50.|
|Engineering||My new aortic valve (Carbomedics Top Hat) and My new mitral valve (Carbomedics Standard Mitral Valve)|
|Cost||The bills trickled in from several sources and my health care provider negotiated many prices, but the cost was well over $100,000. Fortunately, insurance paid most of my expenses.|
|TV||KSFY, the Sioux Falls ABC affiliate, broadcast an Avera Medical Minute about my surgery.|
|The Future||Because I have mechanical valves I must take a blood thinner the rest of my life to avoid clots. Vitamin K reacts with Warfarin, so I must limit my intake of dark, leafy vegetables! Otherwise I have recovered completely. I have slowed down because I am over 50, but I occasionally lift heavy objects or take strenuous hikes.|