Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery - any tips?

Help Support ValveReplacement.org:

DachsieMom

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2015
Messages
268
Location
CT
I had the same surgery at 41. St Jude 21 mm valve and valve conduit. My surgeon told me younger patients feel it a little more (particularly if you are lean), but just like childbirth you will not remember that later! I found the first few weeks to be difficult, but then you really turn a corner. Cardiac rehab is key. Hopefully you will have nurses that let you challenge yourself! I feel like I was I better shape 12 weeks out than I am now lol! This board is a fantastic resource. And start home testing your INR as soon as they let you. Usually after 3 months.
 

spanda

New member
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
3
Location
India
Hi...I thought I could share my story. My name is David. I’m 37 and I recently found out I have a heart murmur and need to have my aortic valve and aorta replaced. My surgery is scheduled on July 10th. They’re going to give me a St Jude mechanical valve and do a graft to replace my aorta. Is there anything you wish you’d known going into the surgery beforehand?

Thanks!
Hi David - It's 10th July (in India). Wishing you good luck and a fast recovery post OHS. My 18 yr old son had to go through the same procedure (Bentall) two years back (2017). He completely recovered in 6 - 8 weeks time and doing fine. You should not worry much - you will be fine too.
 

carolinemc

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
632
Location
kansas city, mo
Dont be surprised if you spontaneously burst into tears for no apparant reason in the first few weeks afterward

Its all the meds they poke into you and I think you just get so emotionally overwelmed without realising and it catches up on you in a flood of tears
I was like that for two years post op. Due to a mean supervisor who did not know what she was doing. I was working in data entry, one year post op and still recovering. She demanded our department to work a whole day on a Saturday, after working a 40 hour week, to caught up on overload of work. I was in tears by lunch and cried the afternoon away. And then two weeks later was called to work two Saturdays, half a day. Both days, when I left for the day, was in tears. from being so tired. Was glad when they finally fired her. Life got better after that.
 

tom in MO

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
999
Location
MO USA
Hi...I thought I could share my story. My name is David. I’m 37 and I recently found out I have a heart murmur and need to have my aortic valve and aorta replaced. My surgery is scheduled on July 10th. They’re going to give me a St Jude mechanical valve and do a graft to replace my aorta. Is there anything you wish you’d known going into the surgery beforehand?

Thanks!
Different question than most people, my take on it:
  • I wish I'd known the trauma that my body would react to w/o my conscious control. For example, my mind wouldn't let me sleep for 36 hours after surgery. Usually after surgeries I sleep a lot. I think my subconcious knew I'd "died" the last time I slept, and wanted to keep me up so it wouldn't happen again. I was certainly on enough pain meds to put me to sleep but didn't. Another sign of the overall trauma was my nails stopped growing and then restarted. A few weeks later every nail had this ridge that marked the few days of growth stop. Then there is the transitory hair loss. It grows back :)
  • I had a few auditory and visual hallucinations that I don't believe were due to the medications, since I had taken them before w/o problem. They were ephemeral, but happened enough to be believable. I'd of liked to known that before hand.
  • Some of the drugs (metropol) can be real calming, but can also suck away your sex drive. Luckily you don't need these for long and the effects vary between people.
  • I lost some cognitive ability. I couldn't do math (e.g. tips) in my head for about a year. I got worse at remembering names. Most of it came back, but not the name bit. At parties, I have my wingman (wife) introduce herself first so I can catch the name :) However, during recovery, I binged watched all the Law and Order episodes and couldn't remember the episodes I'd already seen so that was kind of fun.
 

Keithl

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 20, 2019
Messages
177
Tom,

I had read about the pump time can have impact on a patient's memory after surgery and some of that can be permanent. So far I do not think I have any lasting side effects, but do recall some foggy days during the first few weeks.
 

carolinemc

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
632
Location
kansas city, mo
Tom,

I had read about the pump time can have impact on a patient's memory after surgery and some of that can be permanent. So far I do not think I have any lasting side effects, but do recall some foggy days during the first few weeks.
I pump side affects for years, still have some of it today. Was worse when I went back to work and could not remember how to do the simple jobs. Had to be retrained till I got it back. Took lots of notes, was in data entry back then. So everyone it is called Pump Head. Was glad when the worst of it was over.
 

tom in MO

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
999
Location
MO USA
Tom,

I had read about the pump time can have impact on a patient's memory after surgery and some of that can be permanent. So far I do not think I have any lasting side effects, but do recall some foggy days during the first few weeks.
My time on the pump was minimal since it was a simple aortic valve replacement with a mechanical.

I don't think the doctors really know what happens when your mind believes it's dead because the heart and lungs stop. A lot of people postulate that it's oxygen, but it could be your own mind protecting the body, like it does by stopping your nails from growing to conserve energy. It could be the drugs, they give you a powerful concoction of multiple mind altering drugs (e.g. fentanyl compounds) at different doses and at different times to put you down and bring you up. People react differently to those kinds of chemicals.

However, it's all better than the "syndrome known as sudden death," right?

As an aside, in the last two months I saw a new personal physician (young) who had never heard of OHS being the source of cognitive problems and a neurologist (also young) who knew about the difficulties.
 

thomas999

Active member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
27
Location
sterling heights, michigan, usa
Hi...I thought I could share my story. My name is David. I’m 37 and I recently found out I have a heart murmur and need to have my aortic valve and aorta replaced. My surgery is scheduled on July 10th. They’re going to give me a St Jude mechanical valve and do a graft to replace my aorta. Is there anything you wish you’d known going into the surgery beforehand?

Thanks!
I had this same surgery 32 years ago. If I have read your post correctly, I had my ascending aorta replaced along with a St Jude mechanical valve. I was 32 years old at the time, and it took me pretty much by surprise. I was in the doctor's office for back pain and the Osteopathic doctor was using a stethoscope and found the issue. It is strange how things work out, if it hadn't been for her findings I most likely would not be here today. I write my post to inform you that there is longevity in this surgery and you should have that confidence.
 

Latest posts

Top