Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Kellie ask how long porcine replacement heart valves last

Hi Kellie, thanks for the question. How long they last will vary from person to person, but on average 8 out of 10 tissue valves are working after 12-15 years. If this type of valve is put in a younger person who is very active, it may wear out quicker than this. However in someone who is older, the valve may last for the rest of their life.

For more information about the different types of valves you can have and their advantages and disadvantages, see our booklet, heart valve disease.

Helen asks about coronary spasms

Coronary spasm is also known as prinzmetals angina. If the coronary artery goes into spasm, it can suddenly deprive the heart muscle of blood and oxygen. Unlike the typical angina associated with coronary heart disease, coronary spasm usually happens when you are resting, and not necessarily after you have been exercising or physically exerting yourself. It affects women and men equally and can also affect quite young people

This condition can be well controlled using medication that will help to relieve the spasms and the outlook for most people with coronary spasm is good.

For more information, read our Prinzmetals information sheet.

Helen asks about cold weather and chest pains

Hi Helen, thanks for your question. If you are having severe chest pain you need to call 999 immediately. It may not be anything serious, but there is a chance that it could be a heart attack, so it’s vital to get checked out just to be on the safe side.

If you have a heart condition, being outside when it is very cold can bring on symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the symptoms you have been experiencing. It is really important that you try and keep warm during this cold weather. For more information about cold weather and keeping warm, you may like to read our factsheet.

A heart rate of 140bpm is higher than normal, so it is very important that you get this double checked by a doctor, as soon as possible.

Jayne Whittaker asks about her test results

Q - I've had a positive stress echo but a normal angiogram have a fast heart rate and get angina pains is it normal to have angina with these test results stress echo said to be controlled by medication?

Hi Jayne, the most common cause of angina is coronary heart disease. If you had a normal angiogram, then usually it’s unlikely that someone would have coronary heart disease. However because your stress echo was not normal it suggests that there may be an underlying problem.

This really needs to be discussed with the doctor looking after you. He/she will be able to explain your test results to you and suggest what they think the problem may be.

If you'd like any more information or if you'd like to speak to me or another BHF nurse, give us a call on our heart helpline - 0300 330 3311.

Jayne asks what cold rememdies can a patient with Cardiomyopathy and a Bivent pacemaker take?

Hi Jayne, thanks for your question. This really depends on how well you with your cardiomyopathy are and also what medication you are on.

For most people who have cardiomyopathy (and a bivent pacemaker), it will be fine to take cold remedies, but it is really important that you double check with your pharmacist or doctor. This is just to make sure that it’s Ok to take them and that they don’t interact with any of your other medicines.

We have a range of booklets about the different types of cardiomyopathy, which you may find useful.

Rachel Wylde asks about her Daughter's pulmonary stenosis and going rides

Hi Rachel, this really depends on her individual condition, and also the type of ride. Many people with pulmonary stenosis will be advised not to go on roller-coasters and similar rides. Because the advice will be different from person to person, the best thing is to ask your daughters’ doctor if it’s OK for her to go on them.

With regard to swimming pools and jacuzzis, again you need to check with your daughters doctor, as it will depend on how mild or severe her condition is. Some people with pulmonary stenosis will be OK to go in a swimming pool, but others will be advised against it. It is important that she doesn’t bathe or use pools that are very hot or very cold.

We've got a few pulmonary stenosis publications which may be of help.

Have a good Christmas too!

Richard Stocker asks - Should my son who has aortic stenosis get called in by the doc for a flu jab?

Thanks for the question Richard.

If someone has a long term heart problem then it is usually recommended that they have a vaccine to protect them against flu.

This is because this group of people are at a higher risk of complications if they get flu.

If you or your son has not been contacted by his GP, then please book an appointment with the doctor or practice nurse to discuss him having the flu vaccine.

For more information, have a look at the NHS website.