Valve Noise Questions!

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Oscar61

Guest
As a reminder to those of you who don't recognize the name, I am going on about 7 1/2 weeks post op right now with my mechanical valve. I have done some searches and reading on here in regards to my valve and the clicking that accompanies.

I hadn't had really any issues with the noise of my valve my first few weeks post-op. I had been able to hear my valve clicking immediately after surgery, but almost in the fashion where I would have to listen for it, or I'd have to be thinking about it, even at night when sleeping. Didn't really notice it or bother me at all.

As I said, going on 8 weeks now, and just about 2 weeks ago or so I began to notice it a little more. Actually I had noticed that when breathing in deep and holding my breath I would actually feel my heart/valve what I would describe as "knocking" against my chest. Just breathing regular and placing my hand on my chest I dont/didnt feel anything, but upon taking that deep breathe I would feel a knocking or heavy thumping....obviously my valve. Had me concerned at first, still does somewhat. Additionally over the last 2 weeks it seems as if my valve has gotten louder, to the point where I will hear what I would describe as a "metal snapping" sound in my head or ear, at certain times louder than others, but in general what I think is more loud.

I know their are wide variations of people out there. Some dont notice it at all, some do a lot, some ppl more time changes things, some ppl it doesn't. I guess I'm wondering if anyone can relate directly to my descriptions of the "knocking" when breathing in deep and also the apparent increased loudness and "metal snapping" sound 8 weeks post op?

Thank You All as always,

Jay
 

kbheart

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2007
Messages
264
Location
Kent, OH
Hi Jay,
I'm glad the surgery went well. I can relate to what you're saying about the clicking. When I take a deep breath, the sound gets deeper and I can feel it thumping more. In fact, sometimes when I get paranoid and I want to make sure it's still working, I'll take a deep breath because I can feel it more then. My valve clicks more loudly at times. Sometimes I don't hear it--usually when there is background noise. But my daughter can hear it at the dinner table, my coworkers have heard it during meetings, and my ex-boyfriend used to hear it all the time. But I'm thin so it's louder than in most people. You get used to it and people are amused by it.:rolleyes:
 

kbheart

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2007
Messages
264
Location
Kent, OH
Oh, I forgot to mention that I have also heard the snapping in my ears or head. I'm not sure why but I must have my head in the perfect postion to create the noise. If I move my head, it usually dissapears. I guess you're more likely to hear it on the left side because my cardiologists told me that I might have trouble sleeping on my left side because of the noise from the valve. But it doesn't seem to bother me.
 

Philip B

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
1,219
Location
Casa Grande, Arizona
Body Acoustics

Body Acoustics

I'm three weeks post-op and I've noticed a wide range of sounds associated with my St Jude's mechanical. Sometimes I barely hear it; at other times people around me can hear it.

One of the nurses in my cardiac rehab program walked over to the treadmill I was working on early this week to take my blood pressure and commented that he could hear it from several feet away.

I've noticed what seems like a change in volume when I shift my head and neck into various positions. I'm not sure it really is making more noise. Rather, it probably more an issue of body acoustics.

I'll be seeing my surgeon next week and I'll probably have some valve noise questions on my list to ask him. If your concerns are really bugging you, I'd recommend that you ask your surgeon some questions.

-Philip
 
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Susan BAV

Guest
I don't have a mechanical valve, but rather a tissue valve. But the first few months after surgery, it was fairly noisy to me, banging away in there. I think some of the noise was because of the necessary recovery from that obvious assault to the heart but I also think some of it was because the old valve didn't hardly beat before the replacement; it just kind of sloshed and gurgled, and that was what I was used to for a long time.

From what I've read here, I think mitral valve replacements might tend to be noisier than aortic replacements.

And my sleeping position made a difference. My heart beats were louder and more agitated when I slept on my left side for the first several months following OHS. It still sounds loud to me if I'm in an echoing-type room by myself.
 

temp69

Well-known member
Joined
May 23, 2006
Messages
419
Location
calabasas, ca
Hi there: I have a mechanical and I can hear it ticking, like a watch. But only if it's stone cold quiet. And it's quiet where I am. It takes some getting used to, but if you think about it, the things are tested to last 100 years or something, so it should be reassuring.

i think what happens with both tissue and mech. is that they cut through the pericardium and then don't sew it back up so in general we're noisier.

I don't dig the noise, but what choice do you have? I did the research on the site and elsewhere pre-op and both tissue and mech people said their hearts beat harder and louder after the operation.

Buy a fan and run it if the noise bothers you. That's what I do.

good luck! any questions, fire away!
 
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Bridgette

Guest
I have an On-x mitral valve and for the first few months I found the ticking noise to be quite distracting (and On-x is supposed to be one of the "quieter brands" of valve).
But I am getting towards 5 months post op now and it is starting to bother me less - it seems a bit quieter especially now my resting heart rate is dropping a bit (to below 90 as opposed to 95-105), or maybe I am just getting used to it? Probably a combination of the two things.
In the first few weeks, I had a radio playing (not overly loudly) beside my bed at night (which seems to be when the noise is worst) and also had a fan going because that really does drown out the noise, lol :)
The fan and the radio helped me get to sleep believe it or not. I think when you are not constantly hearing that loud ticking, you can relax a bit better and gradually drift off to sleep.

Jay, I think you'll get used to the noise in time and then not notice it any more.
Good luck.
 

Old clicker

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2004
Messages
125
Location
Atwood, Ontario Canada
I noticed pretty much the things you mentioned post op. I thought it was because my heart had to work harder pre op, and it was still working harder. I don't notice it doing that anymore, it seems normal. Does that make any sense?
 
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geebee

Guest
I would think that even people without VR could feel their heart beating after taking a deep breath and holding it - worth an experiment.

I do know that I can feel my heartbeat while doing the same and it has helped me tremendously when I have bad a-fib or a-flutter. I use "hearing/feeling" the heartbeat as a guage to when the irregular heartbeat gets under control. Just the act of holding my breath (sometimes coupled with "bearing down" or carotid artery pressure - under doctor's guidance mind you) will get me out of a-fib/flutter so I am happy about being able to feel/hear my heartbeat.

I do not think it ever goes away; we just become used to it. My above example is simply meant to show that it can be helpful at times.
 

Bina

Premium Level User
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
12,692
Location
East Ontario, Canada
I don't hear mine ticking, but I feel it beating/thumping.

My friend had an AVR 16 years ago, and I can hear his St.Jude ticking.
 
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RossGurlie

Guest
Me too... except only kinda...

Me too... except only kinda...

Hey, I've had those things happen to me too! And I don't even have a mechanical valve! I had the Ross Procedure done. It's normal, I think. I had a holter once when I started clicking, and nothing was wrong with the readout, so I don't worry about it now. You'll get used to it!
 
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OrlandoTommy

Guest
Same Exact Thing...

Same Exact Thing...

Jay,

I just had my surgery, and the past couple weeks if I take a deep breath i can feel my heart thump very loud in my chest, I have asked my surgeons, doctors and they all say its normal and just takes some getting used to.

Its strange for me because my heart has never beated like this when I take a deep breath, so I was glad to see your post and that someone else feels what I have been feeling.

Take care,
Tommy
 
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Gemma

Guest
geebee said:
I would think that even people without VR could feel their heart beating after taking a deep breath and holding it - worth an experiment.
I don't mind being a guinea pig for this experiment - holding my breath now - yep, you're right!

Jay, I think Jim's valve also got louder a week or 2 after his surgery, or maybe we just noticed it more without the background noise of the hospital, but it's been a fairly consistent volume since then. He's said in the past that he hears it more when he's wearing his motorbike helmet, and when I lie with my head on his chest it does seem very loud, but otherwise I think it's something you just get used to with time. And every click is a reminder that your heart has been fixed :D .

Gemma.
 

dick0236

Eat the elephant one bite at a time
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,872
Location
louisville, KY USA
Jay, your post brought back some old, old memories. I can dimly remember listening to my valve click. It was both scary and reassuring. I could hear it, my wife could hear it and anyone standing close to me could hear it. As my body healed and the valve "settled in".....and my brain accepted the change, the clicking became fainter and fainter. It has been YEARS since I stopped hearing it. If I take a deep, deep breath I can faintly hear and feel my heart beat.
 
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