Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorMore info is trickling out of Charlotte and the health of John Fox.

Evidently the coach was aware before the season that he had a problem with one of his four heart valves (we’re being told it is the aortic valve), and that surgery would be needed after the season.

But with today’s episode, doctors are apparently pushing the procedure to this week– Monday or Tuesday.

It could mean a grinding halt to the season for the Coach Fox. Not necessarily the end– but a big speed bump in the race to the Super Bowl.

The aortic valve is the main doorway through which blood is pumped from the heart to the rest of the body. If it becomes leaky or too tight, blood doesn’t flow properly.

Symptoms, such as dizziness, can be caused by too little blood being pumped to the rest of the body through the damaged valve….or by heart beat irregularities that tend to happen to people with bad valves.

Why do valves need replacing? They can be damaged by infection, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, genetics, and … for no good reason whatsoever.

Some people are born with an abnormal valve, and over time it just wears away and starts leaking. It’s one of the more common reasons.

First sign is usually a heart murmur or irregular heart beat detected by a doctor. Other people notice shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue or palpitations.

Usually there is no emergency to fix these valves unless symptoms become severe- like a dizzy spell.

You diagnose the damaged valve with an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. The next, more accurate test, is an angiogram–where dye is injected into the heart and you can watch how the blood flows through the valve.

I would guess Fox had an echo today, and probably an angio.

The surgery is heart surgery–no two ways about it. It’s generally safe and fixes the problem nicely. But is heart surgery.

And the recovery in the very in the best case is four weeks– worst case 12 weeks, with average being 6-8 weeks.

Do the math, and that is the bulk of the rest of the regular season into the playoffs.

Yet John Fox is John Fox, meaning you can throw the cardiology textbooks out of the stadium.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s