“Anemia After Heart Surgery?” Asks Everitt
I just received an email from Everitt, 65, about anemia. He writes, “Adam: I had mitral valve replacement two weeks ago. That was some experience. I’m glad to be home but I’m also concerned. I’m very pale and lethargic. By pale, I mean I’m white as Casper the Ghost. Do other patients become anemic after heart surgery?”
According to the Mayo Clinic, anemia occurs when you have less than the normal number of red blood cells in your blood or when the red blood cells in your blood don’t have enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein. It gives the red color to your blood. Key symptoms of anemia are… tiredness and looking pale.
Everitt’s question brought back memories of my early recovery from aortic valve replacement. I was 12 days post-op and I, like Everitt, was incredibly pale. During my first check-up with Dr. Rosin (my cardiologist), he quickly diagnosed me as being anemic. Dr. Rosin immediately put me on an iron-rich diet of bananas, brocolli, red meat and chopped liver.
That was good advice. My anemia after heart surgery went away in 72 hours as my natural skin color returned.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.