Best Piece Of Advice… Watch Out For That First Sneeze!!!

One of the most common questions I receive is, “What is the best piece of advice for heart valve surgery patients preparing for their recovery from heart valve replacement or heart valve repair?”

It’s a great question. Unfortunately, there is no one distinct answer. I think that is the reason I wrote my book. There are lots and lots of pieces of advice that patients and their caregivers should know. In fact, I even have a new chapter in the revised edition of the book titled, “The Best Piece Of Advice”, to help answer that question.

Sneeze After Heart Valve Surgery

I was so curious to know how other patients would answer that question, I included it in the recent Heart Valve Surgery Patient Survey. Needless to say there are some very interesting “pieces of advice” that other patients provided in the study.

That said, here is one piece of advice to consider… WATCH OUT FOR THAT FIRST SNEEZE AFTER HEART SURGERY!!! πŸ™‚

Yep. A sneeze… Here’s why!!!

If you want me to, I could share lots of advice about cardiac depression, pain medication issues, mismanaged expectations, poor doctor / surgeon communication, etc. However, that stuff is all too heavy. To learn more, click here.

Regis Philbin Comments On Heart Surgery

Instead, I’ll echo with what Regis Philbin had to say about the early recovery from heart surgery, “That first sneeze can be a bitch!”

I’ll never forget my first sneeze. I was sitting at my desk two weeks post-operation. My nose started to have that twinkling, itchy sensation. The next thing I knew my lungs pulsed, expanded and then released an explosion through my nose as my face contracted. My broken sternum, along with its sternal wires were agitated, and the pain that followed was… Not fun.

Now, I’m twenty-two months after surgery…

Guess what?

No more broken sternum! No more pain from sneezing!


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.

  • Kevin

    Would love to see feedback from valve patients who are or have recovered from the “keyhole” surgical method to repairing the mitral valve.

  • John Micsak

    I have had some pain from laughing, coughing, etc. but the first SNEEZE is incredibly scary and painful. I am in my 4th week now from aortic valve replacement (yes with the cracked sternum) and yesterday I thought I would allow another sneeze to happen, yikes still not good still very painful. It also gets your mind ruminating that’s something is wrong. I finally see my cardiologist tomorrow a month after my surgery to get checked out. I am assuming that all is well, but I also experience a lot of dizziness, I am thinking from the 7 meds I am still on. Hopefully this will get cleared up tomorrow.
    Thanks John cow valve Micsak.

  • Bill

    Is there any medicine that is safe to take after heart surgery for sneezing due to allergies?

  • ginny s.

    I had my surgury a week and a half ago and i just sneezed for the first time.I hadn’t read anything about sneezing until now after I is worse then coughing.I didn’t get my staples out yet until this week comming .holy cow I should have been warned.
    Anything else I should know?I am 82 and did great so far,sure hope I continue. Thanks for any help you can share.

  • Pkf

    I am now 6 weeks out and little to no pain but… The sneezing still floors me! Would love to know how much longer that part will go on… I used to love the release of a great sneeze… :).

  • Gloria

    Gloria, I had my surgery 8 weeks ago the SNEEZE is still horrible! The pain is unreal! Is this sneezing a side effect of the valve surgery??

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