What Musculoskeletal Issues Might Heart Surgery Patients Experience?
If there is one thing I know about going through heart valve surgery… you learn a lot about your body. From the moment you are diagnosed with the need to have heart valve replacement or heart valve repair, new words, new terms and new acronyms start flying in one ear and out the other.
At first, I called it medical mumbo-jumbo. Then, I realized I should sharpen up on my heart anatomy and learn what all these unique terms meant – bicuspid, regurgitation, leaflets, stenosis, Ross Procedure, percutaneous, catheter, mediam (broken sternum), etc.
Following surgery, the learning doesn’t stop. During the recovery, a new set of terms and tests will become part of your post-operative life.
One of the terms I came to know very well was referenced by cardiologist time-and-time again. That term was musculoskeletal. Any time I raised a concern about the pain in my incision or the pain in my chest, my cardiologist would say, “Don’t worry about that… It’s musculoskeletal! You’ll be fine.”
Then, when I mentioned my soreness to my surgeon during a post-operative follow-up, Dr. Vaughn Starnes said, “Adam – Your heart is doing great. That pain is musculoskeletal. Just give it some time. The body still needs to heal a bit.”
A guy can only take so much musculoskeletal before he does the obvious, right? That said, I went to Google and typed in musculoskeletal. As you would imagine, I had an answer immediately to what exactly musculoskeletal meant. According to Wikipedia:
The musculoskeletal system (also known as the locomotor system) is an organ system that gives animals the ability to physically move using the muscles and skeletal system. The human musculoskeletal system consists of the human skeleton, made by bones attached to other bones with joints, and skeletal muscle attached to the skeleton by tendons.
Needless to say, both my cardiologist and surgeon were right. The pain did go away after my heart valve replacement operation – although not as soon as they said it would. Regardless, I’m very thankful for my healing and my musculoskeletal system.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.