Talking to Your Doctor About Heart Valve Disease
Receiving a heart valve disease diagnosis and learning about your treatment options can feel overwhelming. However, discussing treatment options with your doctor and medical team is extremely important, especially as you learn about your doctor’s recommended treatment. Always take time to prepare for your conversations with your doctor.
Before you meet with your doctor
- Write down questions to bring with you.
- Gather your medical records to share.
- Be ready to take notes to help you remember important points.
- Consider bringing a friend or family member to your appointment or procedure.
When you meet with your doctor, ask:
- About your test results
- About the severity of your heart valve disease
- How to protect your valve from further damage
- The implications of your symptoms
- What kind of treatment may be best for you
- What to expect during treatment
- How to prepare for heart valve surgery
- About common complications of heart surgery
During your discussion, your doctor should give you:
- A clear explanation of your condition, diagnostic tests and treatment options, as well as the risks and benefits of treatments
- Referrals to appropriate specialists when necessary
In the moment, it can be hard to remember all of your concerns, but listing them out ahead of time or using one of these convenient checklists can help:
Treatment Conversation Checklist
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Talking to family members and friends
Being diagnosed with heart valve disease can be scary. You do not have to face it alone. Talking about your treatment options with your friends and family is a helpful way to receive the support and care you need, especially as you begin to prepare for treatment, a hospital stay (if necessary), recovery and getting back to a normal, active life.
As you share news of your diagnosis, keep in mind that your friends and family members may be afraid, too. The more you can talk about what is happening and what to expect, the more they can be there to encourage, comfort and support you.
Your loved ones can help you:
- Research and understand your illness
- Develop lists of questions to ask your doctor
- Come with you to your doctor appointments so they can ask questions and hear the same advice you hear