4 weeks post AVR, aorta graft and CABG - my experience

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gpr100rs

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2016
Messages
25
Location
Michigan
I'm 4 weeks post AVR, aorta graft and CABG x 1 done at Clevelanc Clinic and thought I would share my experience.
1. Surgery went off without a hitch. Lead surgeon Dr. Aaron Weiss assisted by Dr. Eric Roselli - definitely the "A" Team. I'm 63 and chose the Edwards Inpiris Resilia. They were able to put in a 25mm which should accomodate a TAVI in, I hope, the very distant future. Don't want to debate valve choice or which is "better," I felt this was the right choice for me and I'm happy. I had severe stenosis and didn't realize the "whooshing" inside my head when I laid down at night was caused by the blood rushing thru the narrow valve opening. All quite now except for a very faint "lub dub."
2. Biggest issues post-surgery: a. "A flutter" which is a consistent a-fib with a rapid resting heart rate. I was at 130 bpm resting for several days. Two failed cardioversions. Put on Amiodarone for several days and day before discharge went into normal rate and rhythm which has held since - fingers crossed. b. Somehow the ulnar nerve in my right arm was compressed during the surgery and I now have significant pain, tingling, etc. in my right hand, pinkey and ring fingers/palm since. Very frustrating that this is my worst pain issue. Concerning pain, had almost zero with the sternum and chest tube removal. c. Don't think I ate while in the hospital, so I lost about 15 lbs, most of which i think was muscle - where did my thighs go?! Seems home-made chocolate chip cookies are the best remedy.
3. Returned to work, limited schedule, this week, 10 am-3 pm. Feel great and mentally it's good to be back in the office. I'm an attorney, my job is relatively sedentary but it is a fast-paced litigation practice that comes with its fair share of stress. I was more stressed being at home! I work with a lot of great people, so the welcome back balloons, cookies, cards were definitely a morale booster!
4. The first couple weeks post surgery are tough but doable. Extreme fatigue, weird dreams, interrupted sleep, bad moods, etc., but all are subsiding thank God. Feeling like I'm 60-65% back. Can drive in 2 weeks, which should be a big boost! The days are definitely easier when the weather is nice. We've had a cold, rainy spell her in Michigan and a gloomy day makes things a little tougher. 65 and sunny today, so working from the patio, took the dog for a walk - all is good!
5. For those facing an upcoming AVR surgery - keep a positive attitude! This surgery is a MAJOR trauma to the body - give it time to heal and adjust. Hopefully you've got that spiritual spot you can go to for some solice when things get rough. I am very fortunate to have a supportive wife and 21 yr old daughter who literally did everything for me. If you have half as much help you'll be fine.
All the best to those who have an AVR in their future!
 

Seaton

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Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
414
Location
London, UK
Great to hear @gpr100rs! Thanks for the write-up.
Fantastic you’ve returned to work already and things generally improving. Home-made chocolate chip cookies are definitely the way to go. 😃

Here’s hoping the ulnar nerve issue subsides soon for you.
All the best for a continuing good recovery. ☀
 

Amy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
206
I had a few nerve issues after too; the most troubling ones have gradually subsided over the weeks.

I was worried that the reports of others’ recovery seemed so much better than mine, but it seems (I feel) week 5 is a big one for healing. Hope that’s true for you too.

Just in the last few days, or week maybe, I feel stronger and like I can do more, and then the last bit of stubborn scab on my incision finally came off in the shower today. Oh, and the chest tube hole finally stopped seeping too, end of last week.

Good luck for a quick recovery.
 

Croooser

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
20
Thanks for posting about your experience. It provides insight into what to expect.
 

Chuck C

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Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Messages
612
Very glad that you are on the road to recovery and thanks for sharing so that others can benefit from your experience. I hope that your ulnar nerve issue subsides with time. I had some numbness and tingling in my right arm for about a week after surgery, but it was not painful.
Please keep us posted as you progress.
 

Amy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
206
Has your incision completely healed? Mine (with just a hemisternotomy) is still open a tiny bit; it reopens every day after a shower. So frustrating. It’s been six weeks!
 

Chuck C

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Messages
612
Has your incision completely healed?
yes, mine has been completely healed for some time. But, I would not use that for comparison, as I have been told that I am a fast healer, which was also the case with eye surgery in 2018, following a blow out orbital fracture.
Have you found a local doctor that you are comfortable with? I do believe it is important to have a competent physician address this concern. I would think that as long as it is not infected that all should be fine and that there are probably a lot of variables as to why some take longer to heal, but there is no substitute for having it looked at by a physician with experience in such matters, although not sure I would ever go back to that one local cardiologist that you shared about.
 

esvaja

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
130
Location
ann arbor michigan
I'm 4 weeks post AVR, aorta graft and CABG x 1 done at Clevelanc Clinic and thought I would share my experience.
1. Surgery went off without a hitch. Lead surgeon Dr. Aaron Weiss assisted by Dr. Eric Roselli - definitely the "A" Team. I'm 63 and chose the Edwards Inpiris Resilia. They were able to put in a 25mm which should accomodate a TAVI in, I hope, the very distant future. Don't want to debate valve choice or which is "better," I felt this was the right choice for me and I'm happy. I had severe stenosis and didn't realize the "whooshing" inside my head when I laid down at night was caused by the blood rushing thru the narrow valve opening. All quite now except for a very faint "lub dub."
2. Biggest issues post-surgery: a. "A flutter" which is a consistent a-fib with a rapid resting heart rate. I was at 130 bpm resting for several days. Two failed cardioversions. Put on Amiodarone for several days and day before discharge went into normal rate and rhythm which has held since - fingers crossed. b. Somehow the ulnar nerve in my right arm was compressed during the surgery and I now have significant pain, tingling, etc. in my right hand, pinkey and ring fingers/palm since. Very frustrating that this is my worst pain issue. Concerning pain, had almost zero with the sternum and chest tube removal. c. Don't think I ate while in the hospital, so I lost about 15 lbs, most of which i think was muscle - where did my thighs go?! Seems home-made chocolate chip cookies are the best remedy.
3. Returned to work, limited schedule, this week, 10 am-3 pm. Feel great and mentally it's good to be back in the office. I'm an attorney, my job is relatively sedentary but it is a fast-paced litigation practice that comes with its fair share of stress. I was more stressed being at home! I work with a lot of great people, so the welcome back balloons, cookies, cards were definitely a morale booster!
4. The first couple weeks post surgery are tough but doable. Extreme fatigue, weird dreams, interrupted sleep, bad moods, etc., but all are subsiding thank God. Feeling like I'm 60-65% back. Can drive in 2 weeks, which should be a big boost! The days are definitely easier when the weather is nice. We've had a cold, rainy spell her in Michigan and a gloomy day makes things a little tougher. 65 and sunny today, so working from the patio, took the dog for a walk - all is good!
5. For those facing an upcoming AVR surgery - keep a positive attitude! This surgery is a MAJOR trauma to the body - give it time to heal and adjust. Hopefully you've got that spiritual spot you can go to for some solice when things get rough. I am very fortunate to have a supportive wife and 21 yr old daughter who literally did everything for me. If you have half as much help you'll be fine.
All the best to those who have an AVR in their future!
What type of sternal closure did they do? I had my 2nd replacement on 4/20/21 with a CABG & "bread ties" This was done at CC.
 

Croooser

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
20
@gpr100rs!

Thanks for this summary. It is really good, current info.👍

How is the ulnar nerve?

Any other issues still to be resolved?

Thanks,

Mike
 
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