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Heart murmurs/mitral valve problem and stroke?
Old 03-16-2010, 11:31 AM   #1
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Heart murmurs/mitral valve problem and stroke?

I tried looking this up, but the explanation and lack of time keep me from really digging in more as I would like right now (someone has to get their taxes done); so, I will ask some of the medical folks on this board:

Does a heart murmur or mitral valve problem (I guess this is the same thing?) lead to atrial fibrillation = stroke possibility
Is a heart murmur inherited?

No problems here than I know of from an EKG I had, but my mother had a stroke (ok..she was 86, but hey!) and I'd like to make sure as best as I can that I don't ever have one. No fun at all.

Abbott Labs just came out with a clip per the WSJ 3/15/10 article pg. B3 on this. Supposedly good product for damaged heart valves and better than surgery.


(Never having been sick really, I'm so medically knowledgeable as computer tech savvy.)
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:34 PM   #2
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(I'm so medically knowledgeable as computer tech savvy.)
Describes me too.

However, I do have AF. I am unaware of anyone having determined the cause (except as the result of some trauma). I come down on the side of it being a genetic defect -- not the "passed on" kind but something that happens during the embryo stage.

In any event, if you suspect AF or have any concerns about the heart, the first step should be (and quickly) to seek real medical advice. ("Real" meaning combined with a physical examination.) AF is rather a benign affliction if treated but a killer without intervention.

I should mention that, in my case, the treatment is quite inexpensive -- roughly $30 (co-pay) every three months. Actually, that is my total pay out at WalMart (no co-pay). So don't put it off to save any money -- "Time > money."
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:45 PM   #3
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I did have an EKG which showed a mild mitral valve problem, which drove me to the computer to find out what it was about a few years ago.
Recent check-up had two different physicians listen to my heart. Both said, "your heart sounds really good." Whew... I just don't want to have any surprises ever if I can help it. Let's face it...I'm old now, and it's about time I even thought of what I put in my mouth foodwise and how much I exercise for my health.

When I was younger all I thought about was my son and working. Now I'm an old coot, health should be my number one concern I think. I'm trying to do that now. I just thank heaven I have some good genes.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:53 PM   #4
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Sounds like you are coming down with Hypochondria. You need to get that taken care of right away.
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:58 PM   #5
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Does a heart murmur or mitral valve problem (I guess this is the same thing?) lead to atrial fibrillation = stroke possibility
In my case it led to atrial flutter (similar to fib)-indirectly. The heart valve issue caused the heart to enlarge over time. When I had the valve issue fixed at the age of 30 the heart gradually went back to normal size. The enlargement and subsequent shrinking led to A. Flutter.

And, no, a heart murmur is not always a mitral valve problem. It could be a problem with a different valve.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:06 PM   #6
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DS has had a so-called functional heart murmur since he was very small (he's 28 now) and it is checked occasionally everytime he has a new doctor but there is nothing wrong with his heart (Heart Murmur Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment by MedicineNet.com)

DH has mitral valve prolapse for about 10 years and with a heart murmur that developed at the same time with no symptoms from either (Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment on MedicineNet.com). He has an echocardiogram every couple of years to monitor it and takes antibiotics before dental procedures (although I believe there is some discussion that the antibiotics are not necessary). He is very very healthy otherwise.
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:58 PM   #7
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Article today in WSJ about Medtronics coming out with a new item better than Johnson & Johnson's for AF patients that need more than drugs. Just happened to see it.

Atrial fibrillation can lead to strokes I read this morning. Not good news for those with A-F.
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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DS has had a so-called functional heart murmur since he was very small (he's 28 now) and it is checked occasionally everytime he has a new doctor but there is nothing wrong with his heart (Heart Murmur Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment by MedicineNet.com)
Thanks for that, Bestwifeever! I know I was born with a heart murmur. Don't know if my mother was. Maybe some kinky valves are in our genes? No Dr. has ever seemed concerned with it since one told my mother I had this when I was born, so I just figure I'll die an old broad with it. Big whoops! Very informative, tho.
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:47 PM   #9
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Atrial fibrillation can lead to strokes I read this morning. Not good news for those with A-F.
Actually, it does not lead to strokes. It is the irregular rythym that sets up a situation where a stroke can (and most likely will) occur. If the rythym is regulated (chemically or physically) the chances of suffering a stroke is almost the same as the average person without AF. And if you think about that... half of non-AF afflicted people have a greater chance of having a stroke than a person with AF under treatment.

The problem involving AF and stokes is when AF is not diagnosed and/or not given treatment. In that case, the results are deadly -- the "He was healthy as a horse and just keeled over" syndrome. This is particularly true of people like me who are asymptomatic (having no outward symptoms).
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:59 PM   #10
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Actually, it does not lead to strokes. It is the irregular rythym that sets up a situation where a stroke can (and most likely will) occur. If the rythym is regulated (chemically or physically) the chances of suffering a stroke is almost the same as the average person without AF. And if you think about that... half of non-AF afflicted people have a greater chance of having a stroke than a person with AF under treatment.

The problem involving AF and stokes is when AF is not diagnosed and/or not given treatment. In that case, the results are deadly -- the "He was healthy as a horse and just keeled over" syndrome. This is particularly true of people like me who are asymptomatic (having no outward symptoms).
Close.

AF untreated will lead to an embolic stroke (blood clots from the heart upper chambers of which quivers rather than forcefully contracting) in anywhere from 3 to 8% per year, the range relating to things like age, hypertension, etc. Treating with blood thinners like warfarin can cut that risk by 50% or even more, though at the expense of a major hemorrhage as a side effect of the blood thinner in 1 or 1.5%. So only patients at somewhat higher risk should take warfarin while younger, lower risk patients may do best on aspirin alone.

Unfortunately, attempts to reset the quivering atrium usually fails after a short time. Nowadays we usually just control the actual rate and not the AF rhythm itself. There are come permanent cures with cardioversion (mild heart shock therapy) and some exciting procedures which basically ablate or destroy the tiny areas where the fibrillation gets set off.

If the heart stays out of AF, the stroke risk drops, but in many cases the normal rhythm is mixed in with runs of AF.

Sorry to run on - just wanted to clarify.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:03 PM   #11
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Actually, it does not lead to strokes. It is the irregular rythym that sets up a situation where a stroke can (and most likely will) occur. If the rythym is regulated (chemically or physically) the chances of suffering a stroke is almost the same as the average person without AF. And if you think about that... half of non-AF afflicted people have a greater chance of having a stroke than a person with AF under treatment.

The problem involving AF and stokes is when AF is not diagnosed and/or not given treatment. In that case, the results are deadly -- the "He was healthy as a horse and just keeled over" syndrome. This is particularly true of people like me who are asymptomatic (having no outward symptoms).
Not exactly, as the ad says.

AF untreated will lead to an embolic stroke (blood clots from the heart upper chambers which quivers rather than forcefully contracting) in anywhere from 2 to 8% per year, the range relating to things like age, hypertension, etc. Treating with blood thinners like warfarin can cut that risk by 50% or even more, though at the expense of a major hemorrhage as a side effect of the blood thinner in 1 or 1.5% per year. So only patients at somewhat higher risk should take warfarin while younger, lower risk patients may do best on aspirin alone.

Unfortunately, attempts to reset the quivering atrium usually fail after a short time. Nowadays we usually just control the actual rate and not the AF rhythm itself. There are come permanent cures with cardioversion (mild heart shock therapy) and some exciting procedures which basically ablate or destroy the tiny areas where the fibrillation gets set off. Young patients are often treated that way. Good to get your thyroid checked since overactive thyroid can cause AF.

If the heart stays out of AF, the stroke risk drops, but in many cases the normal rhythm is mixed in with runs of AF.

Sorry to run on - just wanted to clarify.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:56 PM   #12
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There are come permanent cures with cardioversion (mild heart shock therapy) and some exciting procedures which basically ablate or destroy the tiny areas where the fibrillation gets set off. Young patients are often treated that way.
Ablation is a pretty amazing procedure, low incidence of problems and with a high success rate. Very nearly pain free, with minimal recuperation time. I went home the same day. Unfortunately, it isn't ALWAYS successful.

I'm a real pain in the ass that way.

Cardioversion, on the other hand, is a lousy way to spend a Friday night.
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:08 PM   #13
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Sorry to run on - just wanted to clarify.
No problem. Thank you for explaining.
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