How Sore Are Your Chest Muscles After Heart Surgery?

Every so often I receive an email that really makes me remember my heart valve surgery experience, especially the recovery.

Some of those memories are joyful. And, some of those are…. well… not so joyful. 🙂

This blog is in response to an email that reads, “How sore are your chest muscles after heart surgery?”

Does Your Chest Hurt After Heart Surgery?

Hmmmmm. To answer that question, I have to let you know that there are many different types of heart surgery – some procedures require the sternum to be split and some heart surgeries are noninvasive that do not require “chest cracking”.

My aortic and pulmonary valve replacements surgery (the Ross Procedure) required my chest bone to be broken to give the surgeon better access to my heart.

That said, I will respond to the question about chest muscles after surgery from my own personal perspective.

Make sense?

Okay. Here goes.


Yep. That about sums it up! I could go on and on but I won’t.

So you know, I have interviewed over 100 patients about their chest muscles after heart surgery and they all basically say the same thing…

“It hurts! But, sore chest muscles after heart surgery is a small pain for a long-term gain!”

I hope this isn’t too honest. I just want to give you the patient’s perspective on the realities of heart valve surgery.

I write a lot about the recovery, chest pain and healing in my book. If you’re interested you may want to read it.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Frances Scattareggia

    still have soreness and it is 3 1/2 months. female 79 yrs old after surgery

  • Ron Miller

    I had my Aorta valve replace 2 months ago, I am pretty much recovered, exercising regularly, eating normally but my Chest muscle is really soar to the touch. mostly soft touch like it is near the skin. I rub my hand across my chest and it hurts. Didn’t get much of a response from my Cardiologist. I have the 3″ incision on my breast bone and a chest tube on the side that hurts.

    Love to hear any comments on people that are maybe farther out than I.

    Ron Miller

  • Wouter

    My chest muscles (Mainly left side) is killing me 6 weeks after CABG. It feels like I am pulling my chest muscle every time I am getting out off bed or a chair or any movement for that matter. Once this happened all chest muscles become locked up

  • Eric Werner

    My cabg x 4 at age 73 went extremely well, and my recovery was textbook perfect. For some months after surgery my left pectoral muscle felt bruised, a dull ache as though I’d been punched there. Not surprising, actually. Went totally away after about six mos. Now, two years out, it has returned and I suspect more intensive and ill-selected weight training to be the reason. Have been doing a lot of ab-wheel roll-ups starting from totally prone with arms fully outstretched. Also returned to some bench pressing. My kettlebell work has never resulted in this discomfort despite using relatively heavy bells (70+ lbs). I have not found any credible testimony or doc’s opinion that the heart itself (including the surrounding arteries) causes this sort of dull one-side-only pectoral discomfort, but I will check with my cardiologist. Meanwhile, although the pain is not severe – as I say, it’s dull rather than sharp – it is a source of anxiety. Expect that re-injury following recovery is at the root of the problem.

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