Post-op Beer

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CatDad82

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Jul 1, 2019
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Hi...I’m about 4 weeks post-op and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m blessed that I haven’t had any complications and my INR has been pretty stable. They installed an On-X valve and a Dacron graft when I had my OHS.

I’m going on vacation at the end of August. I was wondering how long it was after surgery before you had your first drink? I have been dry so far, so my vacation would be about 7 weeks out for a beer. When I asked my cardio, she said no more than 2 in a day, but that honestly...What happens if I have like 4 beers while me and my friends are hanging out? Does anyone know if it’s going to cause me to have a stroke or something?

Thanks and cheers!
 

pellicle

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nothing happens like "falling off a cliff"
however medical people are always going to avoid advising you its ok to drink more.

primay issue ... drinking more means a higher likelihood of a fall ... which is bad
As well it will increase your INR (so like the total opposite of a stroke) but IFF you fall over (being drunk) it will increase the possibility of a IC bleed , so, have a beer and drink in moderation ;-)

Something else to read: https://www.valvereplacement.org/threads/can-i-drink-a-damn-beer.856271/
 

Agian

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I've just had two glasses (more like mugs) of red wine. I had three last night. Nothing bad will happen. No, you won't have a stroke. 4 beers over a few hours with friends... nice. Fine gentlemen like us shouldn't make intoxication a habit. I once saw an ophthalmologist who told me red wine dissolves plaques in our heart vessels. He was a hoot. Told me he shared a bottle of wine with his wife every night. I suspect she had a few sips and he downed the rest.
 

tom in MO

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Hi...I’m about 4 weeks post-op and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m blessed that I haven’t had any complications and my INR has been pretty stable. They installed an On-X valve and a Dacron graft when I had my OHS.

I’m going on vacation at the end of August. I was wondering how long it was after surgery before you had your first drink? I have been dry so far, so my vacation would be about 7 weeks out for a beer. When I asked my cardio, she said no more than 2 in a day, but that honestly...What happens if I have like 4 beers while me and my friends are hanging out? Does anyone know if it’s going to cause me to have a stroke or something?

Thanks and cheers!
I had my first drink a few hours after I got home from the hospital. Got to be careful mixing alcohol with opiods, but as soon as I was off the pain killers, about a week after I got home, I drank at my usual rate. In the 7 years I've been on warfarin, I've been pretty drunk a few times and tipsy more times than I remember, in all cases I had no difficulties in my INR, bleeding or stroke.
 

Protimenow

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A few beers should be fine -- especially if they're spread out for a few hours (allowing your body to metabolize the alcohol).

There's one thing to watch for, though - if you take other medications in addition to the warfarin, it's possible (though maybe not all too likely) that they can enhance the effects of alcohol. The risk of dizziness or falling may be enhanced - so be careful until you know you can handle the combination.
 

DDT77

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Was about a month after the 2nd OHS before consuming alcohol from my side. Warfarin addict here, so I've heard the two beverage limit as well. Seems I'm a little sensitive if I somehow have one or two more than that, well, it appears to show up in INR readings - seems alcohol enhances anticoagulant effects of Warfarin, in a ^(# beverages consumed) manner... Practice may be desired- have a number evening prior to INR reading, see what reaction you may have...
 

Pivotalrex

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You only live once, enjoy it (within reason). Had my AVR with a St. Jude valve 30 yrs ago this upcoming October, and no issues with drinking from time to time. As long as your inr is relatively steady and not fluctuating (some ppl take longer to adjust) you should be fine.
 

MartinF

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My surgeon ordered a glass of wine post op at the hospital, I think it was 3 days after surgery. I have found that 2 drinks is ok for me, but more than that and I don’t feel well the next morning. Depends on the alcohol content too. You need to experiment to see how your body reacts and if it affects INR. Just my experience.
 

LondonAndy

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Hi...I’m about 4 weeks post-op and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m blessed that I haven’t had any complications and my INR has been pretty stable. They installed an On-X valve and a Dacron graft when I had my OHS.

I’m going on vacation at the end of August. I was wondering how long it was after surgery before you had your first drink? I have been dry so far, so my vacation would be about 7 weeks out for a beer. When I asked my cardio, she said no more than 2 in a day, but that honestly...What happens if I have like 4 beers while me and my friends are hanging out? Does anyone know if it’s going to cause me to have a stroke or something?

Thanks and cheers!
CatDad - this is a good example of why having an INR meter, to enable you to do a finger-prick blood test weekly, or indeed more frequently when experimenting, is helpful to see the effects of alcohol and whether you need advice on Warfarin dose or level of alcohol consumption. If you find it has a limited effect you can relax your limit a little, and obviously if INR changes a lot you know to be cautious, though obviously diet or climate changes may be responsible rather than the booze. For more info on this topic, search the forum for Coag-Sense or CoaguChek XS.

Hope its a great holiday!
 

Protimenow

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CatDad - it's a great idea to test weekly.
Just remember that warfarin has a long half-life - the dose you take today may not have full effect for three days; the beer or wine or booze that you drink may have a faster effect - it may take a while to figure what changed your INR. Of course, if you're consistent with your daily dose of warfarin, (and maybe your drinking), you should be able to determine (with some room left for doubt) the impact of what you're drinking on your INR.

Also - a lot of red wine may lower your INR - the tannins in the dark wines may have enough Vitamin K to have a minor impact.
 

cewilk

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I feel like I can provide some really good insight to this topic. I didn’t have a sip of alcohol until I began home testing. Once I got my INR meter, I decided to experiment with alcohol. I have consumed alcohol in social settings for quite a while and I was really worried how warfarin therapy would impact my ability to enjoy alcohol with my friends at social gatherings, celebrations, sporting events, or just the occasional weekend bar hopping. (I am 31 now, was 27 at the time I received my mechanical valve and didn’t want to be the forever designated driver 😀). One evening I tested my INR prior to consuming alcohol. I went out with friends and consumed alcohol at a moderate pace, trying to keep to the one drink/hour pace, being sure to stay hydrated with water. I did not keep track of exact alcohol volume measurements since I was at a bar and I’m certain most drinks were more than the “standard alcohol serving”. Needless to say, I had a good time with my friends that night. I came home and immediately retested my INR. To my surprise it was the exact same as before I began consuming alcohol that evening. I went to bed and woke up the next day. Approximately 12-15 hours after I had gone to bed, I decided to retest and see if anything changed. Indeed my INR had increased over my goal range of no higher than 3.0. I consumed some greens to get some natural vitamin K, made a slight adjustment to my warfarin dosage that night, and within 36 hours I was back in range. I have conducted a few other similar experiments to see what types of alcohol have a larger impact of my INR. I have been on warfarin for 4.5 years now and I have been able to safely consume alcohol in social settings and also maintain a stable and in range INR. Some people may disagree with what I did on this forum, but quality of life is important to me and part of that is having drinks with friends. My advice is to go out, have some beers, and enjoy yourself. As long as you’re pacing yourself, staying hydrated with water, have some food, and don’t get so wasted that you risk hurting yourself, then you should be fine.
 
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pellicle

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I feel like I can provide some really good insight to this topic. I didn’t have a sip of alcohol until I began home testing. Once I got my INR meter, I decided to experiment with alcohol. ...
bravo ... this is exactly what I advocate; test and know thyself.

Two things:
  1. if you haven't already seen it this is a good post (and I encourage anyone to repeat this for themselves, probably more than once)
  2. and while 3 is "out of range" for a Aortic Valver its still inside the range for a Mitral valver : meaning its doubtful that its harmful especially for a short time. The following graph I believe clarifies the risk zones:


best wishes
 

Protimenow

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cewilk: It's good that you thought to test the effectsd of whatever 'alcohol' you were drinking, but you seemed to assume that effects would show up shortly after drinking, or the next day.

Changes in INR sometimes take hours - or maybe even days - to show up. Also, different 'alcohol' may have different effects on the INR. Red wine (if you drink enough of it) is supposed to reduce the INR because of tannins in the grape skins that give red wines their color. It's possible that the stuff in alcoholic drinks that give different liquors their distinct flavors may also, possibly, have an effect on INR.

Personally, I may check my INR for a few days if I was concerned about alcohol (or anything) could have made a change in my INR. And, personally, if my INR 'climbed' to 3.0, I wouldn't have made any change in my dosage. Changing dosage, or loading up on greens, can cause spikes (upward or downward) that may be hard to control. I'd realize that a) 3.0 is not risky - I often keep my INR for my aortic valve above 3.0 and don't worry about it and b) in a few days on your regular dose, your INR should be back in range, anyway.
 

cewilk

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Protime & Pellicle, great info and I appreciate the extra insights.

Protime, you’re absolutely right. When I first tried this experiment, I was very uneducated about the time frame it took for certain foods/liquids to have a potential effect on my INR. I was very much experimenting, with really no insight on what the results may be. It truly was trial and error for me. I’ve learned a lot and I think INR management for those of us that have been doing it for a while just absolutely becomes a way of life and we kind of learn along the way. This website is so useful for stuff like this to learn what other peoples’ experiences are. In the end we all have common ground through the unexpected medical issues we’ve faced. It’s a great community and definitely helps with educational aspects and moral support which to me is super important. It’s always comforting to know that there are other people out there that can not only relate, but provide great advice.

So interestingly enough, since this is a post about alcohol and INR management, I was making myself a cocktail at home after returning from a bar in my neighborhood. I was slicing a piece of orange peel and actually gashed my left middle finger fairly badly. It of course bled pretty steadily. I’ve had a moderate amount of drinks tonight. My INR 4 days ago was 2.8, right in range. It took maybe 5 minutes of pressure for bleeding to cease. Warfarin isn’t so scary after all right!? 😂
 

pellicle

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@cewilk

Changes in INR sometimes take hours - or maybe even days - to show up. Also, different 'alcohol' may have different effects on the INR. Red wine (if you drink enough of it) is supposed to reduce the INR because of tannins in the grape skins that give red wines their color. It's possible that the stuff in alcoholic drinks that give different liquors their distinct flavors may also, possibly, have an effect on INR.
this is correct and not all things in INR world are equal. For instance the amount of time that a warfarin dose take to make an influence is different to the amount of time that something which reverses INR takes to effect you (such as an IV hit of Vitamin K that the ER would give you if you came in from a car accident).
 
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