Learning to Cope with Heart Failure

Last updated: April 2023

My heart problems are varied. I have a pacemaker and am in permanent atrial fibrillation. I have had my tricuspid valve replaced, my mitral valve repaired, and my left atrial appendage blocked off to stop clots.

The tricuspid valve had torrential regurgitation which was rapidly leading to right heart failure. However, I managed to arrest this with the tricuspid replacement. The problem now is severely dilated atria with some right and left heart impairment.

AFib is the key cause of this. I live in New Zealand with a third-world health system and went to Australia for my cardiac surgery. At present I can exercise quite well, 45 minutes to 1 hour walks at least three times per week, with some quite tough hill work included. But it is getting harder!!

I’m 77 years old, so I'm probably doing ok for my age. My medication is minimal, just blood thinners and diuretics. I’ll probably have to go back on beta blockers soon, these were stopped after my heart surgery.

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