I have had 2 valve replacements within the past 3 years I just want to know if someone is having the same problems as me

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angiedavis

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Jul 31, 2020
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7
Hello, I am Angie and I am 49. I had my first valve replacement 3 years ago with a tissue valve and my body rejected it. I got the mechanical valve in October 2019 and I am looking to see if anyone has had two valve replacements that can tell me if I should still be in this much pain after all this time. They told me it is because of scare tissue. I told them I would rather hear from patients rather than doctors. Someone please help me. It hurts just to lift my arm to look at my watch and to roll over in bed, I feel the wires holding my sternum together poking me all of the time. I also have a lump from the heart cath that is causing me pain. I had it done at the Cleveland Clinic and they just kind of ditch you when they are done with you to go to your "home" hospital. I hope someone can give me a timeline of when I can get back to my normal self.
 

Warrick

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Dec 27, 2015
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New Zealand
Hi Angie, Iv only had AVR once so far but there are muliple members on here that have had 2-3+ surgeries.
I had my sternum wires out after 11 months as they caused alot of pain and stuck up, it was a routine procedure which I would recommend to anyone with wire issues, so hope yours can be resolved.

Once your sternum heals the wires are not doing anything and are unnecessary.
 

angiedavis

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Jul 31, 2020
Messages
7
Thank you! I appreciate that. The first time it was easy and I felt amazing after 3-4 weeks but this time the wires and my left arm and at the site of my heart cath in my groin. I’ve been told it could take a year to feel better. As far as my breathing...well, let’s just say I feel as though I took my car to a mechanic and my car is still doing exactly what it was before and worse.
 

almost_hectic

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Jun 30, 2015
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naples, florida
Have you gone for cardiac rehab? Those folks hear all the complaints and can often help greatly getting you back on track to feeling better.
 

angiedavis

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Jul 31, 2020
Messages
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Have you gone for cardiac rehab? Those folks hear all the complaints and can often help greatly getting you back on track to feeling better.
Yes I finished Cardiac Rehab in June. I just got the notice (ironically) in the mail today that they have been paid by insurance. They were great people and very attentive. They sent me to ER once but once there, ER just said you’re fine and sent me on my way
 

LoveMyBraveHeart

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Aug 6, 2019
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Yes I finished Cardiac Rehab in June. I just got the notice (ironically) in the mail today that they have been paid by insurance. They were great people and very attentive. They sent me to ER once but once there, ER just said you’re fine and sent me on my way
Hi Angie,

I'm sorry to hear you're still struggling with some pain. My husband has had a few OHS over the span of 10 months, so I'm not sure If his scar tissue was as developed as yours at the time of his last surgery, but his recovery did take quite a bit longer the second/third time. The surgeons place you in some less than anatomically sound positions when you are on the operating table..his surgeon actually told Mathias that it's not uncommon to be released from the hospital with hairline fractures on your ribs. He still, very occasionally, gets a spasm on his left side under his shoulder blade that really lights him up and makes him weak at the knees, and not in the romantic way! He was having them once a day for the first few weeks in recovery, then the time between episodes lengthened. He has them maybe once every 6-8 weeks now and he is just shy of one year out from his last surgery. They are much less intense now too, and he has a stretch that seems to help if he catches them in time.

As far as the line they put in your inguinal area, they knicked a nerve on Mathias, so it was extremely painful for him to even walk for 2 weeks or so after his surgery. It didnt really flare up until about 10 days after when we were home and the nerve endings started their healing process. Gabapentin worked well for him to stop the nerve pain, I'm not sure if that's the type of pain your are experiencing or not. He also has a high tolerance to narcotic pain medication because of previous surgeries hes had, so pain meds didnt help much, if at all, during his recovery. We relied on muscle relaxers instead, which worked great in conjunction with tylenol for relaxing the spot in his back.

Other things that helped were lidocaine (free from menthol!) Patches and/or cream, ice packs, heating pads, yoga, and a good old massage.

I hope it starts to get better for you or that you can find some answers. I also second Warricks talk of removing sternal wires. Mathias hasnt had it done because they arent cause much of an issue, but it had been brought up as kind of the first thing to approach when dealing with sternal or insicional pain.

All the best to you!
Jill
 

mecretired

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Apr 28, 2010
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223
Location
Southeast Missouri, USA
I had ohs 10 yrs ago and have a mechanical aortic valve. Three years ago I had to have the upper lobe of my right lung removed. I got a copy of the surgical report that showed my lung was stuck to my chest wall by scar tissue. The lung surgery was extremely painful for weeks after and I think a lot of that was due to scar tissue. So hoping you find some answers and some relief.
 

Bryan B

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Jan 16, 2004
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1,895
Location
NC
I've had 2 valve surgeries (2004 & 2011), and ironically I had the same issues but in reverse. I had chronic issues with my sternum after my first surgery and my 2nd surgery was a breeze (relatively speaking). Like Warrick I finally had my wires removed about 8 months after my first surgery and the relief was immediate. They can't remove them much earlier than that because they have to make sure your sternum has fully healed first. I think 6 months is the minimum before they will consider removing them. I had the procedure done on an outpatient basis, and besides a few days of being sore from the procedure I got immediate relief from the constant pain I was having before the procedure. After my 2nd surgery (valve & aortic aneurysm repair) I have had no sternum complications and still have my wires.
 
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