Monday, June 24, 2013

Heart Murmur

My G.P. shares the concern of the E/R doctor and the anethesiologist.  My mitral valve is making a weird squeaking noise that he has not heard from my heart before, and he does not know what it means, so he is sending me to a cardiologist.

I have had really pretty good health for many, many years... it is beginning to feel like everything is going downhill.  I have long had a desire to retire, so that I can do things that really matter in the area of public policy, but the collapse of interest rates and fall in the stock market starting in 2008 have delayed this, and delayed this, and delayed this.  There are times that I suspect that as soon as I reach the point where I can do stuff that really matters on a full-time basis, I'll die.

UPDATE: Interesting article from New England Journal of Medicine (1951) about the squeak.  It sounds like it is a sign of a significant but slowly advancing problem.  This article at WebMD indicates that mitral valve prolapse (different from the stenosis mentioned in that ancient NEJM article) is apparently not a terribly serious problem, and lists a number of symptoms of "mitral value prolapse syndrome," some of which I have (shortness of breath, tingling in extremities, in my case in my hands, although I thought that was tendonitits).  Most significantly, it mentions that it runs in families, and my daughter also has a heart murmur.


  1. I retired four years ago at 58 years of age not because I could afford to but because I didn't wish to be one of those who worked until age 65, retired, then promptly died. I saw that happen with colleagues of mine.

    What made retirement possible was not any special wealth but a lack of debt and a willingness to make due with less of the material things in life. I live in a very modest home, drive a modest car, and don't do things like dining out often.

    I do now have the time to do the things that are important to me, just not all of them. I'm okay with that. If I needed to go back to work and earn more money I could but what I can never earn more of is more time.

    Make do with less and do more of what's important.

  2. That's not good news, Clayton but I'm hoping that the concerns turn out to be unfounded.

    best wishes.

  3. Clayton, I've had a heart murmur for many years now. My GP and cardiologist keep a watch on it, but it doesn't bother me. I'm not sure it's the mitral valve though. Least of my worries.

    Going downhill? That started for me at 50. Now I'm 62. I've had two stent operations (the last one just a year ago), tinnitus (now at a low level), severe back pain (from statins), the bottom of my feet hurt (don't know why). Add to that the fact that I watched all of my family pass away, and I'm not alone, no kids even. I'd like to retire, but I have an easy sit-down job in IT, so I keep going.

    You're right on schedule. You'll do okay.

  4. My daughter had open heart surgery when she was born and had a tiny left over heart murmur. When I asked the doctor about it, if we needed to follow it, he laughed and said not to worry. He said their equipment is so good they can pick up a heart murmur in practically anybody.