Agent Orange benefits for aortic valve replacement?


I've had my aortic heart valve replaced twice over a six-year period. Does that qualify me for agent orange?  I also have a pacemaker in. I was on the USS Midway CV a 41 and I did a second tour on the USS Chara AE 31 1965-1967.


Jim's Reply:

No, the aortic valve is not included in agent orange presumptive benefits. The heart is made up of a number of separate structures. The only part of the heart that is affected by agent orange (according to VA) is the arterial blood supply to the muscle of the heart itself...VA calls that Ischemic Heart Disease or IHD. That is a separate system of the heart and away from the aortic valve. 

Prior to your valve replacements you had a cardiac cath. If the cardiac cath showed any narrowing of the coronary arteries you may be eligible for the IHD benefit. You can ask your doctor what she or he thinks. If the pacemaker was implanted because of electrical malfunctions caused by IHD, then you have a case. But first...learn whether or not you have IHD or Coronary Artery Disease and filing that claim.