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Article written by Dr. Daliah.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, 73, tweeted this weekend that he is doing “fantastic” after undergoing aortic valve surgery.

The actor and former California Governor tweeted to his fans that he had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and is already up and about walking.

This follows a surgery he had in in 2018 to replace his pulmonic valve.

Pulmonary valve stenosis Information | Mount Sinai - New York

The aortic valve helps keep blood from going back into the left ventricle after it pumps blood throughout the body and the pulmonary valve does the same to prevent blood from going back into the right ventricle as it pumps blood in to the lung.

Schwarzenegger had a bicuspid aortic valve, which is usually congenital, meaning one is born with it.  The aortic valve usually has three flaps and its responsible for allowing blood flow from the left ventricle (holding freshly oxygenated blood from the lungs) to the aorta, the main artery that supplies the body. If the valve is bicuspid, it only has two flaps and thus blood may not fully pass and leak back into to the ventricle.  The ventricle may enlarge and many of these patients elicit a murmur.

Bicuspid-Aortic-Valve.jpg
Image from URMC

Now those with bicuspid aortic valves are also at risk for ascending aortic aneurysms. Either the stress from the faulty valve or the weakness in connective tissue causes the aorta to balloon out. This could lead to an aortic dissection.   The blood flow dissects the lumen of the aorta, the main artery coming off the heart, and this side pooling within the vessel prevents adequate blood flow from getting to vital tissues. In many cases, the heart stops.

In the 1990s, Arnold Schwarzenegger had surgery that took his healthy pulmonary valve and replaced is faulty aortic valve. His pulmonary valve was replaced with a cadaver valve. As these at the time lasted 20 years at most, the actor was due for a replacement, which was done in 2018.

True Lies costar, Bill Paxton, had a bicuspid aortic valve as well. Sadly, he suffered a stroke and died 11 days days after his aortic valve replacement and aneurysm repair in 2017.

Those with Marfan’s syndrome suffer from a genetic connective tissue disorder that could give rise to both the bicuspid aortic valve and ascending aortic aneurysm.

ascending-aortic-aneurysm.jpg
Image from heartosaurus.com

Aortic valve replacements carry a small risk of postoperative stroke, as can aneurysm repairs.

Schwarzenegger continues to work with releases being planned soon for The Legend of Conan and Triplets.

This is a developing story….

Gallery: Arnold Schwarzenegger Through The Years