True Story Of Valve Infection

While preparing for higher studies, Lokendranath began experiencing sudden blurred vision. Seeking a proper diagnosis and cure, he consulted various doctors, including ophthalmologists and general physicians. Despite being prescribed medications for dry eyes and vitamin deficiencies, and being advised that stress from his rigorous study schedule could be causing his blurred vision, Lokendranath, a doctor himself, remained unsatisfied.

Upon further recommendation, Lokendranath visited a cardiologist, leading to a series of tests. A 2D echo revealed an abnormality in his heart valve known as bicuspid aortic valve, a congenital condition where the aortic valve develops abnormally during early pregnancy. This occurs during the developmental phase of the infant’s heart, explained doctors. Further examination revealed that the aortic valve had become enlarged and infected the surrounding area. Subsequently, Lokendranath sought treatment at the Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai.

What Happens In A Valve Infection

“In cases of valve infection, patients typically exhibit symptoms like persistent fever, fatigue, and so on. However, Lokendranath’s case presented an unusual symptom of blurry vision. This occurrence suggests that the infected material from his aortic valve may have traveled to his eyes, resulting in this symptom,” explained Dr. Ramakanta Panda, a cardiovascular thoracic surgeon at the Asian Heart Institute.

Dr. Panda further elaborated on the heart valve abnormality, noting that it often remains asymptomatic for many years. However, in some patients, it may progress over time, leading to medical issues. “Valve infection is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Individuals with this valve defect are particularly susceptible to infections. The most common sources of infection include the teeth, nose, urine, or sputum. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals with valve problems, as well as those without, to maintain proper dental hygiene,” emphasized Dr. Panda.

Open Heart Surgery

“The infection was spreading rapidly, affecting the surrounding valve tissue,” explained Dr. Sunil Vanzara, a Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeon at the Asian Heart Institute. “This resulted in the formation of a pseudoaneurysm, or false aneurysm—a swelling of the wall of the heart artery. The swelling occurs due to a hole that has not sealed. In Lokendranath’s case, this hole in his heart was nearly the size of a plum fruit, leading to leakage in his heart valve.”

After six weeks of continuous monitoring and a regimen of heavy antibiotic injections, Lokendranath underwent open-heart surgery. The procedure, lasting 12 hours and deemed highly complex, involved the removal of his aortic valve. The cavity formed by the destruction (pseudoaneurysm) was then lined with tissues sourced from his own body, and an artificial aortic valve prosthesis was implanted.