Sunday, October 7, 2012

Getting a Second Opinion

Getting a second opinion for my son's mitral valve issues was the #1 best decision we ever made, hands down.  

Our local cardiologist told us to wait and replace his mitral valve in a few years. In his opinion, the current valve wasn't salvageable.  Because our goal was to replace the valve, we were letting LO's heart enlarge until it reached the size of an adult so the valve we implanted would be larger.  

I REALLY wanted to save the valve, so I went against the cardiologist's advice and sought a second opinion from the congenital valve program at Boston Children's.  They thought his leak was much worse than expected, that the leak explained all the weight gain issues we were experiencing as well as why he was sick so often.  They advocated for mitral valve repair to occur before this year's cold/flu season.  Our cardiologist advocated heavily against that course, in his experience, mitral valve repairs rarely worked.  He said the decision was ultimately up to us, but he felt that we were subjecting our son to a surgery that wasn't likely to succeed and we'd be replacing the valve in a few years regardless.  We sought a third opinion at CHOP.  CHOP agreed with Boston and, after reviewing the echo we sent, gently pointed out a number of issues with the original echo report that accompanied the actual echo.

We're now 9 days post op from my son's valvoplasty.  The severe mitral valve regurgitation is now trace mitral valve regurgitation and neither the surgeon nor the cardiologist expect that we'll ever need surgery again.