Giving millions of fans some “Satisfaction,” Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is recovering and in good health after undergoing a heart valve procedure in New York City on Thursday.
Jagger is being monitored for any complications that could occur, such as excess bleeding, sources told Billboard.
The 75-year-old rocker underwent a minimally invasive procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a common procedure used to replace worn-out heart valves. Doctors accessed his heart valve using a catheter that was inserted through his femoral artery, avoiding the need to open Jagger’s chest.
With TAVR, a replacement valve can be put in place without surgery by puncturing a leg artery, inserting a new valve, threading it up to the heart “and just popping it in place,” explained Dr. Catherine Otto, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. Worn-out valves can be replaced with new ones made from metal or from animal tissue.
“It’s a very short procedure — it takes an hour or two at the most,” she told American Heart Association News. The patient stays in the hospital overnight or maybe a couple of days, followed by a week or two of recovery at home, Otto added. That compares with six weeks to three months of recovery for surgery.
In Jagger’s case, the recovery time after the procedure is much shorter than after surgery, but he has been instructed to rest for four to five days to permit the artery to heal, Billboard reported.
And while Jagger could be up and moving in a few days, he’ll need additional recovery time before returning to the stress of live performances.
The Stones had planned to start a North American tour in April, but postponed it so Jagger could have the procedure. The tour is now scheduled to begin in July, Billboard reported.
As the recipient of a new heart valve, Jagger has plenty of company. More than 5 million Americans live with heart-valve disease. In 2013, the most recent year for which numbers are available, more than 100,000 people underwent heart-valve surgery, according to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.
The two valves on the heart’s right side, which pump blood into the lungs, are rarely a problem, said Otto, who is also co-chair of the committee that wrote the latest American Heart Association guidelines on heart-valve disease. It’s the valves on the left side, which pump blood into the body, that are most often the problem when something goes wrong, she said.
If one of these valves gets smaller, blood can’t continue to flow without the heart working extremely hard, Otto told AHA News. And if a valve leaks, the heart has to pump extra blood to make up for it.
Dr. Robert Bonow is professor of cardiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and co-author of those AHA guidelines. He said, “It’s a very delicate structure that with time can become a little bit thicker and get a little bit of scar tissue.”
Risk factors are similar to those that lead to heart attacks, including high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes, Bonow told AHA News.
“But even people who have no risk factors, including athletes, can develop problems,” he said.
Otto noted that symptoms can include chest pain or palpitations; shortness of breath; fatigue; lightheadedness or swelling in the ankles, feet or abdomen. But the warning signs can be “very subtle,” she added. (Jagger, in fact, was spotted enjoying Miami Beach with his girlfriend and toddler son just after the band canceled upcoming tour dates because of his health.)
The good news is that barring complications, heart valve problems are usually “pretty much alleviated completely” by treatment, Otto said. “There is some risk up front, but the outcomes are excellent.”
There’s more on heart health at the American College of Cardiology.