Barbara Walters Opens Up Her Heart on “The View”

barbara_walters

Veteran TV reporter and The View c0-host, Barbara Walters, made a surprise announcement today on The View.  The 80 year-old TV personality told viewers that she will be undergoing heart valve surgery later this week.

Walters said that she was to have heart valve replacement to repair a heart valve that had become  “tighter and smaller.”

She said that she has known about the condition for a while, but has kept it a secret, even from her co-hosts. Walters said that she was not having any symptoms, however her doctors and she decided that the timing was right to do the surgery now, as she could take the rest of the summer off.

There are four heart valves which help direct the flow of blood through the heart.

The mitral valve lies between the left atrium, which receives oxygenated blood from the lungs, and the left ventricle, which pumps this blood to the rest of the body.

The aortic valve lies between the muscular left ventricle (the side of the heart which pumps blood to the rest of the body) and the aorta (the body’s main artery out of the heart).

The pulmonary and tricuspid valves are the valves of the right side of the heart.

The pulmonary valve lies between the right ventricle and the main blood vessel to the lungs, and the tricuspid valve directs blood flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle.

Valves may be either too tight (called stenosis) or too loose or floppy (regurgitation or insufficiency).

Either problem can cause abnormalities in the way the blood flows through the heart and, if severe enough, cause symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, congestive heart failure, stroke, or even sudden death.   An open heart operation is required to perform total valve replacement. In this case, the diseased valve is surgically removed and a new one (either a manufactured valve or a natural valve removed from pig) is put in its place.

Biologic replacement valve (left) and mechanical valve (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

Resounding
Health(tm)
Aortic valve disease
Resounding
Health(tm)
Heart Valve Disease
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

2 Comments

  1. Molly

    May 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    She’s EIGHTY? Dang. Girlfriend must have a great plastic surgeon.

    • Dr B

      May 12, 2010 at 3:50 am

      …or good genes!

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