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How serious is bleeding around the valve?

Q: My father is 80 years old. His ECHO test showed bleeding around his 2 and a half-year year old mechanical valve. He will be getting a scope echo to ascertain if it is around the valve or it is the valve itself. His cardiologist does not think he can survive another operation. My father is afraid to do anything now. How bad is his condition? Can it be treated without surgery?

A:Your query is quite ambiguous and what little I can make of it is that your father has valve leak. This means the blood is leaking around the valve. If this is only mild, then it can be ignored, but if it is significant then majority of cases do need redo valve replacement surgery. Very rarely a percutaneous procedure can be performed which does not require an operation and a device can be used to block the leak around the valve. This is a technical decision of the treating Cardiologist and I cannot say definitely whether your father will qualify for this procedure or not.


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