My sister reported that my mom had exhibited uncharacteristic behavior. Besides shortness of breath, Mom tended to stop as she was walking along to “window shop and look around”. Not typical behavior. I asked why she did that? Heart beating quickly, can’t get her breath? She could not pinpoint why she stopped. My sister & I thought … just the aging process.
Unfortunately this seemed to be more frequent & we decided to see a heart specialist. Through a stethoscope exam, the physician diagnosed a huge heart murmur. He further stated that Mom’s life was threatened by this condition. The cardiologist recommended we scheduled an angiogram to see what it looked like inside.
After confirming on the angiogram and making an appointment with the surgeon to choose open heart or to try to get a procedure through a leg artery (that is still only available to her as a randomized trial) a close family friend, who is a physician, scheduled a second opinion.
The second physician confirmed that everything we heard was completely true. This cardiologist however, pointed out that Mom has a great lifestyle, & in her late 80’s, would not be offered this procedure in a European country because of her age. He said that since she is not symptomatic yet (but will be without any doubt) the third option was to do nothing at this time. The doctor said it is very likely that she would not come out of the surgery the same cheerful optimistic person that she is today.
Conclusion? There is no real conclusion in health care until the actual end. Ours is a wait and see. You never know what you will eventually do. But we chose lifestyle over surgery. Also, it is a huge decision (and the decision, in the end, is the patient’s) Truly, it was good to have both sisters there as well as my Mother’s sister for support in that.
Maybe you have a reason for a second opinion you would like to share. Written by Linda in Scottsdale