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how long does the surgery take?

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  • how long does the surgery take?

    I was wondering, does anybody know how long the surgery takes? When do they wake you up? I am having my mitral valve replaced next monday, and was just wondering.

    Some other questions I have are: What do they do on your preop appointments? I How long does it take for the patient to wake up? Just some things I was wondering.

    Well, take it easy!
    Joy E. Paulson
    rhuematic heart disease
    mitral valvuplasty 01/09/01- Dr. Doug Stewart UWMC
    MVR 08/27/01-Dr. Edward Verrier UWMC

    "Remember the good times, don't worry about the bad times, and take each day with stride...

  • #2
    Good questions, Joy.

    I do not know how long MVR takes. I know there are some pretty big time differences between different procedures. Part of it will certainly depend if your replacement is mechanical or tissue.

    My AVR stentless took 6 hours. My previous homograft took a lot longer because Donald Ross came in and was using me as a guinea pig to teach the doc's hear how to do the procedure.

    I do not know if the pre-admission clinic (pre-op appointments) procedures are universal by hospital. Mine entailed:

    -Watch a video that tells what to expect post-op.
    -Take a standard ECG. Or is it EKG? (Anyway, it's the one with all the electrodes hooked up to you for a minute or so - not the echocardiogram).
    -Blood Gases: They stick a needle in the artery in your wrist and take some arterial blood. It sounds worse than it is. When they did mine, they hit the vein and had to do it again and it still was no big deal.
    -Take blood: They screen and type it.
    -Talk to the aneasthesiologist (spelling?) so they can explain what they do.
    -Blow into a little machine that measures your lung capacity, O2 and I don't know what else.
    -Chest X-Rays.
    -Talk to a senior nurse. She does an examination; listens to breathing and your heart, takes BP, answers any questions about the operation and post-op.
    -A nurse takes your history.
    -Physio talks to you about the importance of exercise post-op and breathing.

    The time it takes to wake up varies by patient and procedure. When I had mine recently, they kept me asleep a lot longer than usual because my internal temp was low. They wanted the core to heat up before they woke me up. I went in at noon and was awake at 2am. It sucked because the longer you are under the more of that gunk is in your system and it takes a while to work its way out of your body.

    I understand that this isn't typical.

    I woke up from AVR differently with each of my two procedures. Waking from my first operation seemed to take forever. I heard voices talking to me and I thought I was moving my hands to tell them I was ok and awake. Obviously, I was not awake because my wife later told me that instead of moving my hand, I would shudder as a response.

    My second operation felt like it took little time at all. It could be because I was kept "just under" while I warmed up, so perhaps it wasn't as far to come back to consciousness.

    Despite the obvious messed up mental state, I distinctly remember thinking a big, "YES, I MADE IT!" upon waking after both surgeries.

    These are good questions. If you have any more, feel free to private message or email me. I wrote my experience out in great detail after my surgeries so I would not forget.

    Sometimes it's hard to discuss these things before surgery. I hope I wasn't too graphic for you. You've got enough to worry about right now, but I know that with your brave attitude, you are going to do GREAT!



    • #3

      My entire surgery from the time they knocked me out until the time I woke up was a little under 5 hours
      Hank in Arizona
      Founder of


      • #4
        Surgery time

        My surgery for AVR / homograft was just over 5 hours. I don't remember what time it was when I first woke up. I would wake and then they'd talk to me...I think three times and then I woke up and the breathing tube was out and then I stayed awake better for at least 15-20 minutes. The next time I woke up it was time for a little food and I notice the clock said 9 a.m. I had gone to surgery at 9 p.m.


        • #5
          Hi Joy - My surgery was eleven hours. Thay put me out early Friday morning and I woke up briefly at 9 PM. Next thing I knew it was Saturday morning.


          • #6
            Hi Joy-

            Joe's recent surgeries have taken between 5 and 6 hours. He didn't wake up for quite some time. He was still asleep in the ICU for maybe 24 hours.


            • #7
              Time for MVR

              Joy, I had mitral valve replacement with a St.Jude mechanical. Total surgery time just under four hours- one hour and twenty three minutes on the pump. A friend who had a repair in Cleveland did better than this -fifty eight minutes on the pump. Ask your doctor what he/she expects for pump time if all is routine. It is critical, the rest of the time is not very significant in my view.
              Mitral valve replacement
              September 17, 1998
              Mechanical St. Jude
              Inova Fairfax, Falls Church VA
              Dr. Ed Lefrak


              • #8
                Hi Joy!

                Hi Joy -

                I've been thinking about you as you prepare for surgery.
                The time it takes can vary. Mine took a little longer than some because my surgeon spent some time trying to do a repair, unsuccessfully. I think it was around 7 hours. I had the surgery in the early AM and woke up that night. I told them ahead of time to keep me out of it until the tube was removed because I am clausterphobic (sp?) and thought I might panic with the tube. I woke up for a few minutes with the tube still in and they knocked me back out (thank you), next time I awoke the tube was gone.
                All will be sure to express any and all concerns with your Surgeon. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.



                • #9
                  How Are You?

                  Hi Joy,
                  How are you doing? Have you gone in for all the pre-op stuff yet or is that Friday. At this time next week you will be well on your way to recovery.

                  I did not receive the private message you sent as my mail box was full. If you still have it send it again.