Heartbeat shakes body when lying down on your back

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SerkanC

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
5
Location
London
Hi everyone,

I had emergency mechanical aortic root replacement (ON-X 27/29) + ascending aorta replacement + Zone 1 arch replacement in May 2022. I have the following problem that I could not find a satisfactory answer although doing lots of research.

When I discharged from the hospital, doctors suggested me to lay down on my back (not on sides) for at least 1 month. During that period, I did not feel a lot my body shakes as my heart beats (very rarely I felt that). However, right now (3 months after the surgery), whenever I lay down on my back, as every heartbeat, my body shakes. Even my head shakes. Not only myself but also my wife feels the shaking when touching my body. When I lay down on my side, I only feel some vein palpitations on my arm which is not disturbing.

A few observations:

- No A-fib or arrhythmia I suffer currently.
- BP seems under control (usually between 12-7 and 13-8)

What do you think is the reason for this problem? Is it mechanical valve itself? or possible effusion around the sternum or aorta or lungs? Is it something common (I mean you experience it as well) or abnormal?

Thanks for the replies in advance.
 

pellicle

Professional Dingbat
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Nov 4, 2012
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Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
when I first woke in hospital after my mechanical valve was put in I was definitely rocking fwd and backward as it beat.

When I discharged from the hospital, doctors suggested me to lay down on my back (not on sides) for at least 1 month.
because the sternum is still healing ... its a bone that's akin to the keystone of an arch (in your rib cage). Check some anatomy pictures of the chest.
What do you think is the reason for this problem?
basically its a combination of everything being just in recovery and most things out of whack, as well the new valve being better than the old one.

What was your reason for surgery?

Best Wishes
 

SerkanC

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
5
Location
London
I had acute type A aortic dissection. That was the reason for the emergency operation. I still cant get why my body shakes when I lay down at every heartbeat. As I said, It seems it is getting worse (after I discharged from the hospital it was very rare, but now (after 3 months of the operation), whenever I lay down on my back). I don't know if it is a complication of the surgery or if it is normal. When I ask that question to doctors, they only suggest "change your position". No proper reason for the problem proposed. Only one doctor said "during the operation, your heart is moved out. As time goes, your heart should get its proper position back." However, somehow this explanation did not convince me :/
 

framriba

New member
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
1
I had my new aorta valve fitted almost 7 weeks ago. Sometimes my heartbeat feels like its on a fast heavy pendulum. Also get lots of flashing lights, disturbed vision & dizzy spells
 

Timmay

Grandfather Clock
Supporting Member
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Apr 22, 2022
Messages
100
Location
Frederick, MD
Totally have that "rocking head syndrome". Wife can feel the body move too.

Everyone with a mechanical valve seems to notice this directly after surgery ... if not forever :). It just is. I'm 3 months out from surgery and everything is the same with nothing diminished except for my perception ... because I have gotten a lot more used to it. In some ways the rocking is actually comforting now. Truly.

One of the explanations presented to me was that my previous Aortic Valve - the one I was born with - was faulty and therefore my heart wasn't operating normally. The original valve couldn't seal appropriately and had some regurgitation. Thus, there was never an opportunity for my pumper (heart) to seal as that valve closed. That means the faulty valve truly softened the beat. That actually can make a big difference in how your heart feels. Additionally, a mechanical valve snaps closed. I mean c'mon - you can actually hear it (ROFL). So, that's also part of this strong strong beat.
 

Sim

Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2022
Messages
5
Location
Des Moines, WA
I had acute type A aortic dissection. That was the reason for the emergency operation. I still cant get why my body shakes when I lay down at every heartbeat. As I said, It seems it is getting worse (after I discharged from the hospital it was very rare, but now (after 3 months of the operation), whenever I lay down on my back). I don't know if it is a complication of the surgery or if it is normal. When I ask that question to doctors, they only suggest "change your position". No proper reason for the problem proposed. Only one doctor said "during the operation, your heart is moved out. As time goes, your heart should get its proper position back." However, somehow this explanation did not convince me :/
I had the same surgery as you back in 2015. I had similar issues. It took me more than 1 year to try to get accustom with the new me. It will get better.
 

thomas999

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
48
Location
sterling heights, michigan, usa
Hi everyone,

I had emergency mechanical aortic root replacement (ON-X 27/29) + ascending aorta replacement + Zone 1 arch replacement in May 2022. I have the following problem that I could not find a satisfactory answer although doing lots of research.

When I discharged from the hospital, doctors suggested me to lay down on my back (not on sides) for at least 1 month. During that period, I did not feel a lot my body shakes as my heart beats (very rarely I felt that). However, right now (3 months after the surgery), whenever I lay down on my back, as every heartbeat, my body shakes. Even my head shakes. Not only myself but also my wife feels the shaking when touching my body. When I lay down on my side, I only feel some vein palpitations on my arm which is not disturbing.

A few observations:

- No A-fib or arrhythmia I suffer currently.
- BP seems under control (usually between 12-7 and 13-8)

What do you think is the reason for this problem? Is it mechanical valve itself? or possible effusion around the sternum or aorta or lungs? Is it something common (I mean you experience it as well) or abnormal?

Thanks for the replies in advance.
Personally, I think things are going well for you except you're not used to the new sound of the mechanical valve and also the abruptness in which it closes. It's all new to you and it's something you haven't experienced in your life before until the surgery, so it makes you extra aware of that bodily function. I have a St Jude aortic valve and I feel the same thing as you although I never noticed it before my surgery. Your sternum just needs to heal and weld together solid and I'm sure everything is working out as it should even though it feels different.
 

pellicle

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I still cant get why my body shakes when I lay down at every heartbeat.
Because your body is recovering from a massive trauma.

another way to look at this is that: someone has just hacked open your chest, ripped it wide apart and cut off major arteries from your heart. In any other age you'd be dead

1660941817453.png

so its no wonder the body is a bit disturbed by what's gone down. At the very least there'll be a lot of inflammation there. Ever had any injury before?

Also you don't now what state of worn out your other valve was in, and now you've not only got a new part, but one that won't wear out but seals a bit abruptly.

Give it time, be patient :)
 
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pellicle

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Everyone with a mechanical valve seems to notice this directly after surgery ... if not forever :).
a year or so back I got a flu with a fever ... that raised my HR and were it not for the 110HR all the time I'm sure it would have rocked me around. As it was it felt more like an orbital sander ...
 

thomas999

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Jul 18, 2012
Messages
48
Location
sterling heights, michigan, usa
The heart is an amazing muscle in the body, pumping some +/- 2000 gallons of blood a day. The valves of the heart need to open and close abruptly for the heart to pump efficiently. If a valve does not close abruptly the efficiency of the heart goes down causing problems. It is probably a good thing that you feel the abruptness of the valve closing which indicates your heart is working efficiently.
 

erricojj

VR.org Supporter
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2022
Messages
32
Location
CT and FL
Regarding the body shaking heart beats, I am SAVR plus 4 weeks. I received a 29mm Edwards Inspiris Resilia valve (a tissue valve) in replacement of my bicuspid aortic valve. When laying in bed, I too experience a strong heart beat that shakes me a little. That may be some evidence that it is not necessarily associated with a mechanical valve.

Good luck and best wishes for your continued recovery.
 

SerkanC

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
5
Location
London
That is what makes me think as well. Body shaking as heartbeats when lying down on the back is a physical response. Even another person can see my body shaking with naked eye. So it must have a physical trigger.

  1. If it is due to the mechanical valve closing abruptly, it will be a life-long problem. That means I will have to live with that.
  2. If it is due to edema around the lungs, the sternum, and the heart (in other words, as a result of trauma), then it is temporary, I just need to wait for complete recovery. But here I have the question: Why has it gotten worse compared to 1 month after surgery and 3 months after the surgery? My body started accumulating extra fluid after the first month?
  3. if It is due to the position of the heart, then it is temporary, I just need to wait for complete recovery.
  4. If it is due to isolation loss due to pericardium cut, then it is temporary, I just need to wait for complete recovery. But same questions at 2.
  5. If it is due to high BP or arrhythmia or A-fib, then more beta-blockers would be required. However, as far as I know, I don't have these problems.
At Uk, it is hard to see your doctors after being discharged :). I will have my second check in the last week of September. That will be the question that I will definitely ask and will inform you about the response.
 
Last edited:

Protimenow

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Aug 10, 2010
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Location
California
SerkanC - I just read your thoughtful summary of some of the reasons that you can feel your body shake when your heart beats.

I didn't realize it today, but yesterday was the 31st anniversary of my St. Jude valve - there are many more here who've had a mechanical valve much longer than I have.

I can still sometimes feel my body move, if I'm sensitive to it, and lying quietly in bed. Perhaps my issue isn't nearly as severe as yours.

I didn't read through this whole thread, but I saw the issue about flashing lights.

I've been getting these since I was in my teens - 25 years before my OHS. They're migraine auras - they mess with the eyes, creating patterns that aren't always easy to describe, then they go away. For me, it takes about 30 minutes until they finish.

I'll rarely have numbness or tingling n fingertips or the side of the tongue. Again, these go away.

Also - I have these events, numbness in hands and tongue, and sometimes total blindness in one eye (temporarily) after I take Zyrtec. I know two others with this same issue. I suggest that if you get this after taking Zyrtec, that you AVOID IT completely.

I have, and the extremely concerning symptom didn't return. (When I had Covid and didn't know it, I had temporary blindness in one eye that lasted about 30 minutes. The ophthalmologist found nothing structural that would have caused it - he called it Amaurosa (I may have the spelling wrong), and I suspect it was because the Covid messed with my heartbeat..

Post-OHS, we may have some minor secondary stuff to put up with. But it sure beats the alternative.
 

pellicle

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If it is due to the mechanical valve closing abruptly, it will be a life-long problem.
it is and not it won't, it'll settle down as your heart settles and the swelling goes down.

it will always be there a little bit, but not anywhere near as much.

FWIW it has had an effect on my ability to hand hold photographic shots in low light with my camera and I've had to pay attention to it on trigger release when target shooting.

At in the UK, it is hard to see your doctors after being discharged
TBH there isn't really much that they can do for this, and TBH will likely dismiss most of what you say as being "SEP" ... just focus on recovery, take it day at a time and remember that time passes and you are stuck in the now for all of it. But one day you'll notice "hey ten years have got behind me", but don't worry its not time to run yet ;-)
 

Amy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
254
I have the body-shaking heartbeat sometimes too, but I noticed it before surgery too when meditating.

Something new though is the eye-shaking heartbeat, particularly noticeable in the morning and also when I’m suddenly scared and my heart pounds super hard, like when almost attacked by a dog or human. It’s really weird to feel your heartbeat in your eyes. I wonder if anyone else has this?

I hope you heal well and feel great soon. Take good care.
 

SerkanC

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
5
Location
London
yes, it still happens. I went to a private doctor yesterday, he said it is either from the valve or possible fluid accumulation around the heart. I am going to take an echo and ECG tomorrow to see the root cause.
 
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