MY HEART by Nick Arndt

Below, I write about a confusing time in my life, during my one semester at Valparaiso University in Spring of 2015.

[Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation: blood flowing back into the heart before it goes to the lungs to get oxygen…caused by Pulmonary Hypertension (high blood pressure in the arteries)…which causes blood vessels to thicken…hearing a murmur…may need a new pulmonary valve…surgery?]

In January of 2015, I transferred from USI to Valpo. I visited the Health Center on campus here at Valpo to get an updated physical. During the physical, the nurse practitioner told me she may have heard a heart murmur. I was in disbelief because I’ve been healthy and heart-strong all my life, being an endurance athlete. She said I would need to get it checked out.

The next week, I went to a clinic on LaPorte Ave., close to campus. I got an EKG (electrocardiogram) done by one doctor and another reviewed my results. He (the second doctor) noted my EKG results were normal, except for a little hitch in my heartbeat waves. He also noted that I had slightly abnormally high blood pressure for a young, healthy, athlete, with no family history of it. I was then referred to Dr. Shah, at a medical center on Roosevelt Rd.

Two weeks later, I saw the young Dr. Shah. He was outstanding. He talked to me about my heart and answered all of my questions. I felt comfortable around him. He seemed the most knowledgable of any of my doctors whom I’d seen so far. He checked my murmur and blood pressure. Each had gotten a little worse over the two weeks, as I continued to train. He scheduled me for an ECO (echocardiogram), where they would rub gel in different places on my bare chest and get all sorts of 3D views of my heart on a screen. This was to be done in two more weeks.

Today, February 10, I got my ECO done by a female doctor. She said my heart was easy to read on the screen because I am fit. However, after the results were sent to Dr. Shah, he concluded this: my pulmonary valves were abnormally thick and have a moderate leakage of blood out of them. The pulmonary valves are located on the dorsal side of the heart and lead to the lungs.

The result? I will have to go in again at a later date to get a TEE test done along with some blood work, in two separate appointments. I will be put to sleep and doctors will stick a camera down my throat and esophagus to get a better view of the dorsal side of my heart.

Although I’ve been active and fit all my life, I was born with this.

This worries me!

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