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  • Question about AVR recovery

    Hello Everyone,
    It has been a long wait for me to get an AVR. My next echo is to be in October. I am not on any meds yet but am having PVC's which were my very first symptoms of Aortic Stenosis three years ago. My question to anyone is, would it be possible to undergo AVR recovery at home and take care of myself after discharge? I would appreciate any feedback from all you terrific people in the know. This site has been a great place to "get prepared" ,as it were.

    Thanks to all

  • #2

    Tough question, I have had the most remarkable recovery that I have read about or talked about. Saw the surgeon 12 days post op and he cut me loose. They do not like people to be alone the first week or two for a number of reasons. You are somewhat dizzy(pain killers do that) Bending, lifting, showering, dressing are pretty tough without help. I would not have wanted to be alone. It is possible to the onset of some side effects like a-fib or water retention.

    My recovery is going very smoothly but it is so much a function of the individual body, mind and many other imponderables.

    I am non smoker, no caffene, quite overweight but in generally good physical condition. I was walking 3 miles a day up till the cath on Aug 15 when the cardio really scared me that I might never get symptoms and just drop dead--he convinced me to lay off mostly. I did help my son and daughter in law move into there new second floor apartment the week of the 20th August, but was very careful to not over do it.

    I would think anyone would need some help for the first week or more after coming home from hospital. I have done everything for my self today but no lifting, tugging, streching way above my head. Of course they don't let you drive for 4-6 weeks with good reason so you need help with resupply operations, drug and food certainly.

    Best of luck,

    If I can help in any way email me or pm.



    • #3

      Bill is correct, you should have someone with you the first week or so.

      Could I have done it alone? No way. On top of it I had a baby at home. Other than taking care of my personal needs, simply getting to the bathroom and taking a shower wore me out. There was no way I could cook for myself. Nutrition is an important part of your recovery too. If you can't find someone to stay with you.... may want to see if your insurance covers temporary nursing home care. I was surprised to see this on my policy after the fact. I would actually consider this option if there was a next time around. Would be easier on everyone.
      All the best,
      LuvMyBirman :)
      MVR, 3/99


      • #4
        Hello Rick,

        I strongly recommend you have someone with you around the clock for at least the first week. I had friends come 'visit' some during day in the second week. A lot of how well you are able to care for yourself depends on what level of pain medication you need. If you can get by on Tylenol, you will be more mentally alert.

        Regardless of what pain medication you are on, you WILL TIRE easily. Most surgeons limit you to lifting NO MORE than 10 lbs for the first 6 weeks. If your (back, shoulder, chest) muscles go into contraction, the pain can be 'intense'. Massage can provide rapid relief. If you are alone, you will be forced to wait for the pain pills to act. NOT a fun time !

        What ever you do, be sure you can reach a telephone quickly if needed.

        Read over the Pre Surgery and Post Surgery Forums for more details of personal experiences and recommendations.



        • #5
          Yes you need someone to assist

          I was worse off than most due to a long hospital stay, but I cannot recommend strongly enough that you need to have help during the first week. At the very least, you need to have someone there for safety reasons due to the meds, or run into a postop complication that renders you unable to cope.

          I really think having a backstop there will help you be able to relax and also not be so tentative on pushing yourself to exercise.
          25 mm Aortic & 29 mm Mitral St. Jude Master Series Mechanicals - UWMC 4/16/2002
          Guidant Insignia Pacemaker - Virginia Mason Medical Center 5/19/2005
          Cardioversion Tote Board: 3


          • #6
            We had one member who was going to tough it out at home alone - in the end, tho, one of the nurses took her home with her for a week and all turned out well. Nobody ever knows how they are going to be once they are home from the hospital so it is really best to have somebody around - a neighbor you can call, a family member who checks in a lot during the day. Will be hard for you to fend on your own. Your insurance might cover visiting nurses, if there really is nobody to be with you. God bless
            My philosophy:
            No matter where you are, who you are with, what you are doing, enjoy every moment, every day. Blessins.........


            • #7
              AVR recovery

              Thank you Bill, Gina, Al, Hensylee, and Johnny for responding to my question. As I have been seeing most individuals have someone. It looks like it will somehow workout for me. Just have to wait and see what happens.



              • #8
                Hello again Rick,

                I notice you said that you are not on any medications which is somewhat surprising given your PVC's. I was put on a low dose Beta Blocker (25 mg Toprol XL) which prevents my PVC's very effectively.

                BTW, most surgeons point out that it is more important to have someone with you the first week (or 2) at home than while you are in the hospital (since the nurses are watching you there). Hope you will be able to make such arrangements. If not, look into short term rehab facilities. Talk with your surgeon or his staff about after-care. They may be able to help.



                • #9
                  Solitary recovery

                  is surely 'possible'.

                  Many of my co-patients who were from out of the country or state had motel rooms within a minute or two of the hospital.

                  But if you are isolated you would be taking a chance. A fall, a spike in your temperature, even sneezing too hard can all have serious consequences.

                  Hooking up with a home nursing outfit for daily visits would be far more advisable.