Pin It
Home > Adam's Blog > “Nerve Damage...

“Nerve Damage After Heart Surgery?” Asks Sean

Posted by Adam Pick on October 19th, 2008

I just received a concerned email from Sean about nerve damage after heart surgery. I provided some thoughts for Sean below, but I’m curious to know if you experienced this heart surgery complication. Here is Sean’s story:

Hi, Adam!

I’m recovering from aortic valve and aortic root replacement surgery. It turned out my problems were congenital – a bicuspid aortic valve and a related aneurysm of the aortic root. My faulty valve and aneurysm waited patiently until I was 60-years old to need replacement! Nice of ‘em, huh?!

I am hoping you and your readers can provide some useful information, either scientific or anecdotal. I woke up in the ICU to notice that the left side of my left hand was “asleep” – you know, how your foot might “go to sleep” if you positioned your leg improperly for too long.

The condition has not changed in the 6 weeks since my surgery. My hand is still “asleep”, and it is thus both numb and hyper-sensitive to touch. My surgeon says it is damage to the ulnar nerve caused by compression of the nerves in my chest during surgery. The surgeon says that my hand should return to normal as the nerve regenerates over a few, perhaps six, months. I’d love to believe that, but I’m worried.

I plan to see a neurologist in a few weeks if I continue to see no improvement. Have any of your readers experienced this? Did it ever return to normal? How long did it take? Thanks! — Sean, Greensboro, North Carolina


Hi Sean,

You raise a really good question about nerve damage and heart surgery. I can relate to some of it but not all of it.

When I was going through my early recovery from an aortic valve replacement operation, I too had some numbness in my hands and feet – especially at night. I later learned the numbness was an effect of the Ibuprofen I had been taking. Here’s a prior blog about that topic:

However, your condition sounds very specific. My gut is telling me that you should listen to your doctor and follow his instructions going forward. You have to remember that your body is still “figuring itself out” after the severe trauma of heart surgery. Give it some more time and then see a neurologist if you continue to have issues.

To help you, I will post a blog about this topic to see if any of the other patients have ideas or thoughts for you. — Adam

To all former patients reading this… Did you experience any form of nerve damage after heart surgery. If so, would you please leave a comment for Sean detailing your situation and how/if you fixed it? Simply click here. In advance, thanks!

Scroll down to see over 200 patient comments!

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick A dad, a husband and a patient, Adam Pick founded this website in 2006 to educate you about heart valve surgery from diagnosis to recovery.
You can get the latest updates about heart valve surgery from Adam at his Facebook, and Twitter pages. Click here to email him.


Charlene Melcher says on October 19th, 2008 at 2:43 pm


I am 5 1/2 weeks post surgery and my nerve damage or numbness is in my right breast. It feels like I have novicaine there. Dr. Gleason says that’s the feeling will return as the nerves heal. Right now it is just an odd feeling. But it feels better than the upper part of my chest that hurts every time I move my arm. My biggest issue has been the mental confusion, headaches and auras that I have been getting. They put me on plavix and that has seemed to help. I wonder if anyone else has experienced these symptoms?



Elaine says on October 19th, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I, too, had numbness in my left hand post-surgery. I also had numbness in my right foot, leg, all the way up to my right buttock. The numbness in my left hand gradually dissapated and was gone within a couple of months. However, 6 months post-surgery I still have the foot etc. numbness. Because I suffer from edema my legs were wrapped during surgery and attached to a machine that compressed/decompressed to keep the circulation going in my legs. I believe my right leg was wrapped too tightly along with a part of the compression machinery digging into the back of my ankle and this is what caused the leg nerve damage. Recently I’ve had some shooting pains in my foot and notice afterward that the numbness is oh-so-gradually lessening.
When I spoke to my surgeon about the hand numbness, she told me that this sometimes happens and if it was still like this at 3 months out she would send me to a neurologist. Fortunately it was gone by then.


Don Newey says on October 19th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

I’m going in for valve surgery this week. If I suffer from this or a stroke I will get Hyperberic Oxegen Therapy. This treament has helped many people after stroke or injury in recovery


Leslie Lafayette says on October 19th, 2008 at 7:23 pm

Hi Adam
YES I had nerve involvement after my open heart ROBOTIC surgery for mitral valve repair. My left hand was much larger than the right hand, and ice cold both from the inside and to the touch. I finally asked one of the doctors on my team to look at it. He said it was from the position I was in for robotic surgery – which is up on your side. Sure enough as time went by in the hospital the hand seemed to “warm up” and return to its normal size and appearance. So you can see my nerve involvement did not last long but was quite obvious. I agree with you that Sean will probably notice his nerves come back to normal as time goes by.


paul says on October 19th, 2008 at 9:05 pm

I am seven weeks post minimally invasive aortic valve replacement. I had numbness in my right pinkie and ring finger until about two weeks ago when it finally disapeared. I was told the same thing about the nerve bundles in the chest, in addition I was told that sometimes during surgery the elbow rests to long in one position impinging the nerve. I tried to sleep with a pillow under my elbows during the time I could only sleep on my back and I seemed to notice a slow and steady increase in feeling unitl it totally went away. Good luck, my gut tells me you’ll be fine!


JB says on October 20th, 2008 at 11:02 am


I’m about two months post-op for aortic valve, aortic root and aortic arch replacement which were also necessitated due to a congenital bicuspid aortic valve and its after-effects. I did have some of the same left hand/ arm numbness mentioned when I woke up after surgery but within a few days it did go away. However, I still do get occaisons when my left hand ‘goes back asleep’ and my surgeons assure me this is nothing to be concerned about unless it persists six months after the operation . (I hope this helps.)


Cathy says on October 22nd, 2008 at 11:27 am

Hi Sean,
I also had numbness in the 3 left fingers of my left hand after my aortic valve replacement.But my numbness revealed itself about a month after my surgery.I thought it was a pinched nerve in my neck because I had not been exercising. My surgery was last November and the numbness has pretty much disappeared ,but comes back once in a while. It seems like it comes back when I am tense, so I roll my shoulders around and stretch my arms. It goes away then.
Your Drs. explanation is interesting. I never thought to ask my Dr. I don’t know if any of this has helped you, but I can tell you everything does get better with time. I’m feeling really good now (11 months later) and finally have the energy to take care of my 2 year old and her 3 siblings!! You’ll feel better, too. Don’t forget to walk a lot!!! Good luck!


Holley says on October 22nd, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Hey guys!
Four years ago I had aortic valve repair..and when I woke up in the ICU my right eye wouldn’t open. They figured out they damaged a nerve leading to my brain which controlled my eye. Luckily I did not suffer any brain damage…but I got what you call Horner’s Syndrome. This syndrome makes my right eye unable to dilate. There are some risks with any surgeries..but I figured it was a minimal cost to pay for fixing my heart. I’m glad to hear most of you guys got the feelings back in your hands and feet, that would scare me…! I think I should ask my surgeon to damage my other nerve so at least my eyes would have the same sized pupils..haha what do you guys think?


Sean says on October 23rd, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Here’s an update: I went to the neurologist’s office today for a nerve conduction study. The preliminary conclusion from the technician (I didn’t get to see the doctor today) was that the damage to my ulnar nerve is from compression about 3 inches above my elbow. So the surgeon, who thought he caused the nerve damage in my chest, was wrong; it was actually due to improper positioning of my arm by the anesthesiologist during the surgery. I say “improper”, but who knows – it might have been unavoidable. Now I have to wait on the neurologist to read the nerve conduction study and give a report to my PCP. More later.


Dr. Paul Safran says on October 26th, 2008 at 12:14 am

I had miniminally invasive mitral valve replacement surgery one month ago. My left leg, near my groin area, was used to place tubes from the heart-lung machine into my body. So far, my left thigh is numb. It was very painful after surgery and I could not sit in a chair for long periods. Pain medication is a staple for me. although the pain has subsided to an ache.

The incision in my chest area is also sore. The enrty point into my chest was between two ribs. My chest incision remains painful and is numb. I’m hoping that I regain feeling in those affected areas once again.


Troy says on October 28th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Sean, let me try this again. they say three times a charm. Not to sure why the above did not print. I have had three open heart surgeries in the last five years. My first was the ross procedure in 2002. I had a leaking valve and was told the valve was 2 chambered. After this surgery my chest and insicion were numb and very sensative. I spent alot of time walking holding my shirt away from my chest, It seemed to help. I think it was a good year before this tingling, numbness went away. Three years later I was having problems again. They said that the pulmonic valve that was placed on the aortic side could not handle the pressure and was leaking. Heart surgery two was a repair of that valve. six weeks later Iwas told the repair did not work. Surgery three was a mechanical valve. Having had three open heart surgeries, I can tell you that each one was very challenging and different. They all had some kind of after nerve effect. My last surgery Ihad the hickups for three days in the ICU. It felt like my chest was going to explode. My left arm was numb, and I couldnt move it. It took a couple days before I could move it. Long story short my arm is perfect, probaly positioned a little awkward during the surgery. My left leg also had some issues. numbness and tingling. I went to a neoroligst too. They did many nerve tests with shocking needles in my thigh. Nothing seemed to tell us what was wrong, other than probably a surgery related issue. Well I must say it took a little time but it slowly went away. It has been a few years and only once in a while my upper thigh feels numb. It just takes time , at 46 years old I have a lot of time left still surf and enjoy life every day. I know its frustrating but time heals. Good luck, your friend troy.


Chris Gionet says on November 9th, 2008 at 10:11 pm

I had an aortic root repair in 2002 at the age of 33. The “plan” was to insert an artificial valve but, the surgen was able to keep my original one resulting an a VERY long surgery. I woke up with INTENSE pain in my right hand on the half my “little” finger is on. It hurt SO bad I kicked the tray over at the end of my bed in upon waking up in ICU. It was like a nightmare, very intense…the staff was telling me to go back to sleep while I was trying not to gag with all the lines in my throat. I did fall back asleep for about two hours until the same situation repeated itself, INTENSE pain in my right hand. The feeling was like a “charlie-horse” feeling mixed with alittle “funny-bone” feeling toped off with some good ol’ fasioned “pain”. The first neurologist was suggesting a brachial plexus injury?? Six years later, the feeling is still there at about 25%-50% of what it was. I think some of the reason for feeling better may be that I am getting used to it. I also had a blind spot in the center of my right eye that lasted about 45 seconds. After a few incidents of this, my cardiologist put me on PLAVIX/ASPIRIN and it was at bay for the the last 4 years. It is now worked its way back up to once every week and half or so. So I am now seeing lots of specialist and awaiting answers! Life is Good!


Sean says on November 11th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Here’s another update… I’m now 12 weeks post-op and my hand is improving! It’s still numb like it has been since surgery (left side, due to ulnar nerve damage above elbow during surgery), but the hypersensitivity, or “pins and needles”, has lessened so that only my 2 fingertips are sensitive. This makes it much easier to live with. Numbness is OK; pain was not. My doctors don’t have any intervention to recommend; they just say that the recent improvement is a good sign, and that my chances for it to fully recover are now over 50%. So, I am simply to wait (for up to a year) and see. So, if you’re about to have surgery, have a talk with the anesthesiologist and make sure he does everything possible to avoid nerve damage! My doctors still don’t know whether it was inadequate padding of my arm or the constant use of the blood pressure cuff during the 5-hour surgery that caused the nerve compression. Doesn’t matter now – but better for you if you can avoid the problem!


Cathy says on November 11th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

I had triple bypass surgery a month ago and have had numbness in my left hand pinkie, ring finger and above my left elbow. I too have been told that this is common and will go away in time, both by my surgeon and by the physical therapists at cardiac rehab…I’m patiently waiting.


Max Gartman says on November 15th, 2008 at 11:42 pm

I have had intense back, arm, and hand pain and numbness for 7 weeks (the most miserable weeks I have ever had). I have not been able to sleep until an orthopedic surgeon prescribed LYRICA. It does stop the pains, but it does help me sleep. I have gotten very little help from my physicians.


steve davey says on November 16th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

hi sean 6 weeks post arotic valve surgery bad pins and needles when i woke + numbness was told it would just go away!! numbness not so bad feels like stinging neetle rash little finger feels swollen like i,ve broken it cant get a straight ans from any one most i can find is poss last 4@6 months hope not i,am 50 by the way and from the uk


Mary Ferraro says on November 17th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I am so sorry to hear of all this pain but the positive attitude that you all maintain is an inspiration to me. I am 3 weeks post-op today, having been through over 7 hours surgery to fix my mitral valve. I keep getting numbness from a pinched nerve at my spine. Both ring-fingers and both pinkies. Just when I think it is gone for good, it recurs. Now that I can almost curl-up on my right side at night (& don’t have to sleep on my back) its reccurance has lessened. Maybe a pain specialist could help some of you? I think I will be seeing a chiropractor in about 2 months just to be sure my back is healthy then.


Theresa Brander says on November 21st, 2008 at 10:04 am

I had severe aortic stenosis and had the Ross Procedure done last year. For many months I had numbness in my front thighs. Have not been to a neurologist, it comes and goes. I have noticed that when I am super stressed out it comes. It really isn’t like a regular numbness like your foot falling asleep, its more like a strange new numbness accompanied by a burning sensation. My biggest problem is the pain in the center of my chest and the clicking that comes with it when I move in certain ways. I attribute it to be a large breasted women, unfortunately. I was wondering if there are any women out there that have had open heart surgery and are having the same feelings. Besides the Ross Procedure, I also had double by-pass surgery.


monty says on November 24th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

i too had heart surgery 09/29/08. numbness in right hand of liitle finger and outer half of ring finger. its been eight painful weeks so far with little or no improvement. doctors i’ve told said be patient it could take as long as six months. if it lasts longer than that it may be permanent, not exactly what i wanted to hear. my patience has grown thin because i don’t know if i’m healing or not. if anyone has an answer please reply. thank you.


Mike says on November 26th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Hi, I had a bovine aortic valve & ascending aorta replacement on 9/9/08.
This was due to a congenital birth defect. I am 60 and was in very good shape. After this surgery I was sent home and after a week I had to go back for a chest tube and efusion window because of leakage between the heart and the pericardium. They pulled out a liter of blood/fluids. After another week I had to go back in for 2 units of blood. SInce the 1st surgery I have had nothing but pain, numbness, muscle loss in my rt. peck, rt. arm & hand, and left big toe. I’ve had a sensation equivalent to a toe tag wrapped real tight around the big toe. I have gone back to the surgeon, cardiologist, chiropractor, and neurologist and physical therapy. The pain is starting to subside but the right fingers and weakness is ongoing. This whole experience has been terrible. The pain, constipation, eye flickers, loss of feeling and just plain daily problems have finally got to me. I get conflicting reports about my pains but all agree that it was caused during the surgery and stretching the nerve near the rt. clavicle. My neurologist claims that he never seen such a bad case and that it could only have been caused if they straightened the rt. arm out during surgery. ANd he says that this is not common. ANyway, I hope your pain subsides and you get back to normal.


ted says on December 4th, 2008 at 10:19 pm

The artery running under my chest was used as a bypass. I had 4 way bypass heart surgery. It has been six weeks now and my left chest muscle is still numb (or asleep feeling). Also the skin on my chest is extemely sensitive to any kind of touch. It feels like my skin is on fire. ANY touch, cotton, linen,..anything touches it feels like needles. I can’t wear a shirt at all. I asked my surgeon about this and his answer was it could last for months…or maybe even never go away. Also, I don’t know how it could be related but my right ear has gone numb. Anyone else experience this? Any answers? :)


Dave McDonald says on December 8th, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Hello,- I am six weeks out of aortic valve replacement surgery. My left hand small finger and ring finger are both numb. No pain but loosing the grasping function is of great concern.
I haven’t followed up with my GP yet but will do so soon.


monty says on December 9th, 2008 at 8:17 am

update. r/h little finger and outer side of ring finger still asleep and now i
realize i have numbness coming and going in my chest area which is annoying, i had thought it was just the healing feeling of the sternum. will continue to update if things get better or worsen. hope everyone heals up and are able to enjoy their life as they should.


Dave McDonald says on December 13th, 2008 at 6:11 pm

After aortic valve replacement and double bypass I awoke with a left hand numb. Not the whole hand,- just the palm area below the pinkie, the pinkie, the finger next to the pinkie and to a semi-numb index and thumb. Picking a glass of water up was not possible.
My primary care MD did various tests and suggested a pinched nerve in my neck and predicted 100% recovery after I saw my chiropractor. Will see the chiro. tomorrow. Will keep you posted.


Dave McDonald says on December 13th, 2008 at 6:16 pm

My primary care MD says I have a pinched nerve in my neck. Too long on
the OR table? dunno. Am seeing the chiropractor tomorror. Keep you posted.


Cliff Stone says on December 17th, 2008 at 11:21 pm

I am writing for my dad. He had triple bypass heart surgery in early September 2008. He is experiencing severe burning sensations on the skin over the heart. He describes it as a severe sunburn you cannot stand to have a shirt touch. Doctors say hypersensitivity but there should be some kind of solution to this problem. He is going to a pain clinic tomorrow will let you know the outcome.


yvonne says on December 18th, 2008 at 1:56 pm

My husband had open heart surgery on Nov. 7. He could not move his left hand immediately after surgery. It has been 6 weeks and he still cannot move his ring finger or pinky.
He has been told it may be Brachial plexus nerve damage.

Very scary since he is left handed, an engineer and needs to draw and have function of his hand for the computer.

He is having another MRI soon. The numbness is less than before.

Apparently, this is a common problem with heart surgery. There are many article on-line concerning the problem.


Jim says on December 31st, 2008 at 11:15 am

I had five-way bypass surgery on the 5th of December of 08. Both my left and right hands are numb and tingling, but only the ring finger and pinky finger side of both hands. Both sides of my chest are extremely sensitive to the touch and I too have problems wearing shirts. I have to hold my shirt away from my skin too. I don’t understand the pain and nerve issues I am having but this is for sure the worst of it. I’m hoping to notice some improvement soon. Thanks to everyone for the comments and positive attitudes.


monty says on January 5th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

its been 95days and i still have a numb r/h pinky and ring fingers. chest on l/h side is still numb at times also. this is just an update as i have posted before. will be back if things improve or not. somehow someone should enlighten us to how this occurs and why. good luck everyone and its somewhat comforting to know you’re not the only one.


steve davey says on January 9th, 2009 at 10:18 am

hi to all just a re-post return to see my consultant next fri which will be 14 weeks since surgery still have numbness rh pinky and 1 side of ringer finger my hand is not as strong as it was and feels clumsy when doing anything major worry being an engine builder ( rh handed ) heavy flu over xmas now have a pinching feeling with deep breaths nothing was explained before op after care has been zero! this will be the first time i would have seen someone since op other than my GP who again said feeling will come back?????? all the best to people here


Josephine Goldman says on January 10th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I had a life altering experience with open heart surgery. That I lived, is a miracle! My surgery was August 2, 2002. The operation lasted for about 12 hours. I remained in the hospital for most of the month. Things went terrible wrong during the surgery. My family and I have never been told why or what happened to me. The effects of it continue to devastate me.

I had to have my mitral valve replaced or I would not survive a year. I chose a bovine valve so not to be on coumadin for too long. Other then suffering from chronic back pain, I was considered an excellent surgical risk. At 48 years of age, I am a nonsmoker, a nondrinker, and at a healthy weight because of a healthy lifestyle. I heard that the bovine valve will last maybe 15 years. I am hoping that in that time more advanced technology will be available for when I have to go for my 2nd replacement.

From the time I was put under anesthesia, I was in another world. They say it was the affects of the drugs, but to me, it was a real world, and I was condemned to hell. There were no bright lights. I saw myself in a coffin, and people signing the book at the funeral home. I asked God what I had done so wrong in my life that He would put me in such a torturous place. The scenarios kept changing, but I remained in a “loony-tune,” hellish place, with ghoulish characters.

I had many complications: my chest cavity was kept open for about four days after surgery. That was because my heart had somehow become so enlarged, that my chest cavity could not be closed. I was kept in a paralytic coma during that time, followed by a week kept in the coma.

My right ventricle was lacerated by one of my rib bones and I had a “bleeding event,” most probably due to the heart enlargement. My heart was stopped, and the laceration was repaired.

Once in ICU, my lung collapsed.

I have numerous “ulcerations” on my head, and areas of no hair that cannot be explained. I have a depressed area on my skull bone. One thought is that something may have struck my head since the medical staff was moving as quickly as possible to save me.

The first time doctors tried to let me wake up out of the paralytic coma, I was very agitated. I had to put me back into a coma again. I saw Bob, my boyfriend, for that second, and yelled at God that enough was enough.

About five days later, they let me wake up again. Bob, and, my oldest sister, Maria, were there. Maria said she just knew today was the day that they’d bring me out of the coma. I was so very confused. I was unsure of what reality was. Was this a cruel joke, or was I really alive? I was intubated, on a respirator, had a “balloon pump,” inserted, had venal and arterial lines in, and was on total life support. Looking around at all the machines I was hooked up to, I knew that I had a slim chance of surviving. Mostly, it was all the technology that was keeping me alive.


Over the next days, beginning Wednesday August 7th, tubes, lines, and staples would slowly be removed. I had 24 hour/7day/week Nurse Practitioners caring for me. They allowed a family member or friend to stay all day, and then overnight in ICU because I was so terrified, and because my chances of survival were questionable. Friends, and family members also visited regularly, and that gave me inspiration, and comfort.

One overwhelmingly, great fear that I had was that I’d close my eyes, and be back in “that place,” once again. That fear has never left me, and I struggle with it every day.

I signed a DNR because I was so sick, and was kept in a paralyzed state, on the respirator, and on life support.

I never lost wanting to live, but my quality of life was not a livable one. Friends and family took shifts staying with me. Tommy, my 21 year old son, even stayed at night. My family chose not to say anything to my 14 year old daughter, Alexandra, regarding how grim things were. She saw me for the first time when I was extubated. My food tray came, and she fed me because I was still partly paralyzed. That was a very low point for me. I saw how full of anguish and sorrow she was.

The staff thought my family came together so beautifully. There was never any arguing when critical decisions were made for me by them. My family made sure the staff had delicious cakes and cookies to munch on (that’s Italian) for being so kind and attentive to me.

Visitors and hospital staff began to tell me how good I looked, comparing it to when I was in a coma, and on extensive life support. But, I could not see it. I wanted to know no details of what happened, or of how the kids were coping. It was too painful to think that they had suffered so much because of me. I have always felt that my physical limitations, with chronic back pain, are disappointing enough to those I love.

The surgeon was not good at telling my family what went wrong. He was rude to them, and never gave them a straight answer. He never kept still long enough for them to speak with him. They had to literally run after him to try to have him speak with them. He made a deliberate effort to always avoid them, and if he saw them, to ignore them. My family never got a straight answer, nor an understandable answer from my surgeon. The few times that my family was able to corner him, he spoke unintelligible to them. Bob, Maria, Janice, my youngest sister, and friends complained that my surgeon would enter the ICU room where I was, and look at me. He avoided eye contact with others in the room, said nothing, and left. Everyone in the room was angry and in disbelief at this type of behavior from a professional whose patient was so critically ill.

The recovery has been long. My cardiologist feels that with all I went through, it will be at least a good year. The nightmares continue, and my doctor says that may go on for five months. I have flashbacks that sicken me, and I am weepy. I just made an appointment to go talk to a psychiatrist in December, 2002. I dread those nightmares, and see bugs, and black spots in front of my eyes. My mental state and my thoughts make me feel that I am forever changed in a very negative way.

I continue to see a vascular doctor to have my groin drained where the balloon pump was. The doctor said that usually when a balloon pump is put in, it is a 2″ incision. Mine is about a
6″ incision. The doctor said they rushed because I again, was most probably near death.

I feel like “I was hit by a train.” Like a part of my soul died on the operating table. Like I have a post traumatic syndrome and a post pump disorder. I fear that the valve will fail. I continue with chronic back pain.

In addition, I have the incision pain, chest pain, clavicle and shoulder blade pain, puncture wound pain, (I have five stab wounds where tubes were inserted), and scalp pain, all of which can all be unbearable. When my surgeon discharged me form his care in September, he told me that there was no scientific reason for why I should still be experiencing any pain. His disbelief in what I was telling him devastated me. I still have shortness of breath, and panic attacks. I am up most of the night because of all this. I fear the dark night.

I need to return to Dr. Bagshaw DDC, to continue my needed back treatments, and the therapeutic modalities he gives me. This will happen once my incisions and wounds improve with healing and once my groin area no longer has to be drained.

I am waiting for the coumadin to be stopped in order to return to Stony Brook Pain Clinic. Then, I can resume epidural injections, and lidocaine infusions so vital in managing my chronic back pain, and allowing me to function daily. I am still going to the Pain Clinic for percoset, and ambien medications.

amidodarone 200 mg OD
metprolol 50 mg OD
coumadin 3 mg OD
prozac 60mg OD
percoset 7.5mg PRN
ambien 10mg PRN

I pray like I have never prayed before.

I thank God for allowing me to remain on this earth, and hopefully to see the kids grow up. I look forward to future family and friend gatherings, even if it is just for coffee, I don’t care.
I feel I have a renewed sensitivity. Things that really matter in life are not wealth, or status, but health, and the love of friends, and family, and a lot of laughter.
I feel I “won lotto” just being alive, and hope, and pray that my setbacks are behind me.

I am waiting for my cardiologist to say I can tolerate a “stress test,” and then I can go to cardiac rehab. I realize I am not even at the point yet where I could tolerate a stress test.

I truly feel that we are all so blessed! When I thought I was not going to live, the only thing that mattered to me was the possibility of never seeing all of my friends again, or my family again, or those who continue to help me medically. With my life almost ending, and with the reality of not sharing my life with all of you, I will continue to thank God, and love you all in a way I never thought possible!



Ken R says on January 10th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

I had an angiogram, double bypass and a pacemaker/defibrilator installed between 12/24/08 and 1/2/09. I have constant numbness and burning sensation in both thighs. I had a similar (but lesser) numbness/burning sensation after a 1999 angioplasty with 2 stents which lessened over time but never seemed to completely go away. Exercise and massage of the affected aresa seems to help a little temporarily.


Melissa Brandon says on January 16th, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Hello Adam,
My mother Bernadette Brandon is 61 years old, a diabetic with uncontrollable sugar levels, has 13 stents and now had 2 triple bypass surgeries within 1 year. She just had her 2nd bypass last Friday, and just got transferred from the ICU Unit over to the Cardiac floor. She is really scared because this time after heart surgery she is experiencing for the first time the same thing that you did. Her arms and hands are completely numb, yet kind of feels like a burning/tingling sensation. She made the same comment that it feels like her arms have fallen asleep. Further, the hospital that she is in is trying to say that she probably had it, and did not notice it before the surgery, even though they keep doing x-rays and other testing for some strange reason. I know for a fact that she did not have this problem prior to surgery, and now she is starting to panick and worry that her condition is not going to improve. I am so frustrated and have decided to do research on the computer to try and come up with a solution to this problem.

Good luck to you and if you find out or figure a way to fix this, please let me know, and on my end if I find anything else out, I will also let you know.

Good Luck,
Melissa Brandon (


RUTH says on January 16th, 2009 at 3:23 pm



steve davey says on February 7th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

hi all 17 weeks post op with the weather here in the uk unable to attend
appointment rh pinky still numb swollen type feeling put my back out sneeezing feel bloody low and down cast,although some of you have had a nightmare i bet like some we think what was the point of having it done just seem unable to move myself forward all the best


Louis Schwertner says on February 10th, 2009 at 10:15 am

Ihad heart surgery june 08 after right foot went num, 4wks later had stents put in right leg now have pain and stinging along with numness, have not found answer yet taking pain pills dayily. Hope you can help ? Louis


Debbie Larson says on February 15th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I had heart surgery 5 weeks ago to repair and replace valves and repair an anurism in the aortic root. Since that time, I have experienced pain in my left toe and the top (just under the skin of my right foot almost constantly. Also there have been some muscle soreness in that same calf, although that comes and goes (not too often). Does this sound like nerve damage from the surgery? Will it go away? Thanks


Randy says on February 22nd, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Hi all, I just had open heart surgery last week and am having total numbness in both thighs, this is followed by a severe burning sensation on the top of both thighs. Nothing relieves this pain. It comes and goes about every two hours. Any hope this will pass?


Edileen says on February 25th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

My father had aortic valve replacement surgery 4 years ago. He is 80 now and his feet have been numb for at least 2 years.. It’s probably longer maybe even since the surgery but they never tell you stuff like that. His doctor last year told him it was a nerve problem in his back which we didn’t believe to be true and there was talk of lyrica but only after he pressed the doctor again and again to try and do something about the numbness. Well he went to the emergency last week as his feet were very swollen and after every test they could think of they said it was his water pills, so they upped his water pill. The swelling has gone down because of the water pill adjustment but his feet are still numb. He has feeling in them ( can feel a pin prick etc ) and they have checked circulation and all that is fine. I am just wondering if this is normal. I have read the testimonials on this site and everyone is talking about hands, fingers, thighs etc but no one has mentioned numb feet.. Can anyone maybe give me some insight or has anyone else suffered with this as well.?? Any information would be greatly appreciated.


Nick Degidio says on March 12th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

I’ve been watching this blog, reading as much as I could find about nerve damage post surgery. I had my surgery October 2008 and had ulnar nerve damage immediately afterwards, and both feet numb. In talking with my surgeon and doctor, they all assured me that in time this will get better. I was very depressed about my hand as I play guitar. I’ve been using the hand since being home from the hospital, and it has gotten better. The past two weeks I’ve gotten some of the feeling back in my hand. My feet however have not seemed to improve. Reading through this blog gave me hope, thanks for sharing.


Jacquie Balodis says on March 13th, 2009 at 11:45 pm

I am a retired neuropsychologist and pain mangement doctor. Many different surgeries can cause nubness due to cutting a nerve during the incesion or surgery. Some nerves take longer than others to heal. I have experienced the same with my aortic valve replacement and with abdominal surgery. From my professional and personal experience, we who are “senior citizens” take longer for the nerve(s) to heal. DO NOT GIVE UP, YOU ARE PROBABLY 1/2 WA THROUGH THE TUNNEL WITH JUST A LITTLE MORE TO GO.


Anne Lilley says on March 18th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I am post surgery 11 months. I had bypass surgery(CABG X4). I had many of the nerve related problems described here post op. Numbness in the hand, tingling, pain. Chest numbness and skin hyper-sensativity.
The one thing that helped all this was patience and time.
I still have some slight numbness on the side of my right thumb. But the skin sensativity on the chest is gone as well as the numbness.
Open heart surgery is so common these days I think both patients and health care providers forget what a major assualt it is to the body. The human body is amazing and can repair itself but it does take time. My advice to anyone experiencing what they consider to be odd symptoms is to listen to your physicians,go to cardiac rehab, rest, eat well, be with your family and friends, concentrate on enjoying the life you’ve been given, and try to be a patient patient.


Clara says on March 19th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I was just searching the web to see if anyone else had that problem. My husband had minimally invasive mitral value repair on March 6th and he came out of surgery with complete numbness in his far left fingers on his left hand. It concerns him, but from what you have on this site, it appears to be common. I do hope that it improves because he has trouble holding anything in that hand. I hope that someone else who has gotten through this can shed some light on how long it took and if they need any physiclal therapy.


Nicole says on March 25th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

First, I wanted to say that all of your stories profoundly touched me and I sincerely hope and pray for your recovery. My mother is 9 months postop from an aortic valve replacement and she is still in constant pain. We can’t even really go to the doctor because aside from no insurance her symptoms are so nonspecific and inconsistent that it is hard to explain. From what I have compiled she still has: localized hypersensitivity at the incision site that comes and goes, upper back pain, stabbing sensations that occur around the back and chest area, a dull aching in her arm, a radiating pain from her upper back that extends to her left arm and occasionally down to the thigh, headaches, her stomach is often upset, and her right boob is tender, sore and has stabbing pains. I am not sure anyone can do anything to help but if you have suggestions or ideas as to remedies or tricks you have learned to deal with these things, it would be appreciated. Just to share, she did have issues with her bowels for a long while after as well but BENEFIBER has helped that be one less issue. She also coats her incision with Vaseline or Baby oil since it has had enough time to close completely, it helps with sensitivity and itching. She globs it on but it helps. The only other consolation she has is being in constant prayer for healing and understanding on how to deal with and feel about her pain. I hope this helps and I really hope that all of you heal quickly. God Bless:)


Jim says on March 27th, 2009 at 2:55 am

Hi everyone,
After an extensive search and asking alot of questions I stumbled upon some answers about why after coming out of bypass surgery I have the problem with the numbness in both fing fingers and little fingers. I was led to believe that it was due to the way my arms were positioned during my anastia and surgery. This link will show differently and hopefully answer alot of peoples questions about ulnar nerve damage sustained during surgery.

I really hope alot of you read this. The article states that the ulnar nerve is more subject to damage from LACK OF BLOOD SUPPLY than are the radial nerve and the median nerves. Blocking of the blood supply to the brachial artery is directly related to ulnar nerve damage.

I didn’t find out if the damage is reversable with time or not. Anyone considering surgery or other treatments for ulnar nerve damage should read this article. I’m no doctor and the doctors may not want people to get this information but was important to me to find out.

My recovery is going well and I expect to return to work soon. (My 5-way was in December of 08) Good luck to all of you.



Jim says on March 27th, 2009 at 4:38 am

After my recent post here I have to ask if anyone else has experienced “wasting” or atrophy of muscles in the hand. I am a professional truck driver for the last 25 years and I used to have very strong hands. I’m only 49 years old. After surgery (in December of 08′) I’ve lost a good deal of strength in both hands and they look like I’ve been starved. I’m including another link about wasting of muscle in the hand linking it to unlar nerve disorder. This web page sites ulnar damage due to injury or enpingement, but does not mention starvation of blood as a possible cause for “ulnar palsy”.

I believe the starvation of blood to both arms during my heart surgery is the cause of my nueropathy and muscle wasting in both hands. I hope someone gets this information and is able to prevent problems like this for themselves before surgey by directing questions to there surgen/cardioligist.


hannah mudd says on March 30th, 2009 at 10:57 am

My Father has just returned home from having a valve replacement and two bypasses, he is experiencing numbness in his left hand and arm. The majority of the feeling came back whilst in hospital, however he has numbness in the little finger and part of the hand and arm. I will let you know of any positive change and hope that your nerves come back in the mean time.
Hannah Mudd


Max says on March 31st, 2009 at 8:00 pm

At 33, I had aortic valve and ascending aorta replacement December 29, 2008. My aorta had increased in size to 5.5 cm and required replacement. The aneurism was caused by a congenital bicuspid aortic valve. I now have a St. Jude mechanical valve and dacron grafted ascending aorta. I am now 14 weeks post op and am experiencing severe “pinched nerve” pain in both of my shoulders. Immediately after surgery until 13 weeks, the pain only appeared if I took a deep breath, yawned, or stepped down hard on one of my feet. The pain is now constant! My cardiologist and surgeon have done an echo and CT scan to rule out any problems with the heart, valve, or dacron graft. All of those are in fantastic working order and apparently don’t have anything to do with the “nerve pain”. My cardiologist says he will be referring me to a more specialized nerve and muscle doctor. I have not had any numbness as it sounds most of you have. The pain, however, is quite debilitating. Both of my doctors seem to have never heard of something like this. I also become very cold when I am in pain? Again, no explanation. I hate that all of you are experiencing complications, but misery does love company. If I get any answers I will let you know. Please do the same. I am planning to still run a marathon in October and look forward to having this pain go away so that I can continue training. Good luck and God Bless!!


Rob says on April 6th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I am 46 and had aortic root replacement 6 weeks ago. It was my second op after having had my aortic valve replaced 20 years ago. On coming round after the op, which became an unexpectedly long one due to complications, I soon noticed a numbness in the top of my right thigh. If I put any pressure on the thigh it was painful too. After a couple of weeks the pain subsided and now there is only the numbness remaining which seems to fit with the sensations others describe here.
Some days I think it is subsiding but if it is, it’s doing so very slowly. Am keeping positive though.
Wishing you all continued improvement.


hannah mudd says on April 8th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Hi Yes, My father was wrried abut this after his suregery. A neighbur visited telling him she’d damaged her nerves n her hen night and was in plaster fr 6 mnths. The whle thing tk 18 months to heal she had damaged the nreves at the top of her arm and wasn’t able to use her hand at all. My Father’s doctor said it’s like carpal tunnel, whereby the nerves are damaged, he could have surgery to correct it it it doesn’t get better in a few months. It seems it’s a matter of being patient. Dad is a lot better and more active than his frst week and isn’t mentioning his arm numbness so either his mind has been put at rest or the feeling has come back. I’ll ask him tomorrow.
Regards and best wishes for a good recovery


Jenny Chapman says on April 16th, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Yes I had pins and needles feelings down both arms and on the bottom of my hands. I am also experiencing extreme sensitivity across my chest and breast and the top of my chest and breast are extremely painful. I am trying all kinds od bras and sports bras to help with support. I am also sleeping in a recliner and have been for 4 weeks as I cant handle the drag and drawing and pain on my chest and breast muscles eventually I will move back to a bed.


chris l says on April 17th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Greetings all, I am 3 weeks post op for mitral valve repair. All in all I am moving right along…except..extreme discomfort and pain in my right leg. This is the point where the Heart Lung Machine was connected. Dr. says this is common , but offers no other advice or answers. Anyone else suffer from this nerve damage after surgery, care to share your experiences or how you relieved discomfort. How long did this last, etc? If not for this pain, I would be walking for an hour without any problems, pain in my leg prevents me.


John F. says on April 20th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Yes, I too am experiencing numbness and tingling in my left pinky and ring finger and it extends a bit past the wrist. It is similar to a problem I had with a herniated disc a few years ago, but that time it was on the other side. I just had assumed moving around trying to not injure my chest I did something to my back. Mine does seem to get worse at night and seems to be worse in the evenings after doing some hand exercises. I was going to go to an orthopedic, but now think a vascular guy may be better.


Karen Mclaughlin says on May 5th, 2009 at 10:16 pm


I underwent triple bypass surgery 5 weeks ago. I too experienced a numbness of the left hand upon waking from the surgery. After testing, there was damage done to the nerve coating – not the nerve by a needle in the arm/hand…???. It is expected to repair on its own and the feeling is expected back. There has been an almost a full return of the feeling…it is still a little weak but that is expected to build in time. This seems to be a more common thing…..Hope the experts look into this and do something to eliminate this.


Kerrigan says on May 8th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

When I woke in the ICU from aortic valve and ascending root replacment Jan 19th, I found my right arm paralized. Couldn’t do anything with it.
No feeling, no control.
Physical therapy was ordered and is continuing to show results now at 3-1/2 months. Most of the numbness is gone and control is slowly returning.
I’m hearing this is a common problem following open heart surgery and with rehab work, returns to normal in 6 months to 1 year.
Keeping the goal of recovery in sight, understanding it take a long time for the body and mind to heal from this extreme experience, and continuing to work work WORK on recovery are the important keys for me.
It does get better with work and help.


Sheryl White says on May 8th, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Hi – I had triple bypass surgery on 02/20/09 and woke up with a nasty pain in my back and the “asleep/numb” feeling in my right arm and last two fingers of my right hand. The doctor told me it was from a compressed nerve and would go way within a few weeks. After a few weeks, he told me it could take several months. It is going on ten weeks now and the back pain is gone, but the arm problem persists. It is sometimes very painful with shooting pains in the forearm, and I can’t stand to have my two fingers touched. This is really difficult for me as I am a medical transcriptionist and need to be able to type. My typing has really suffered with two numb fingers! I am hoping it will go away soon or else I won’t be able to type much longer. Is it a “for sure” thing that this will improve, or is it possible this is a permanent condition? Any ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks!!


monty says on May 11th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

sheryl, same triple by pass. pinky and outside half of ring finger still numb after 7 months. left side of chest and inner left thigh also numb.
i hope you get better. takes a long time. a nurse told me that if it lasts more than six months its permanent. hope not because its annoying and everyone now has to use a keyboard good luck and i will check back here every so often to hear how you are doing.


s.may says on May 14th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

my husband had valve replacement surgury five weeks ago and is experiencing servere nerve pain in his right arm and tingling in his fingers we have been to a neurologist who says it will get better in time. it is from compression of nerves during surgury. any advice?


Betty Cox says on June 2nd, 2009 at 12:19 am

hHi my name is Betty i had by pass sergery in may of 05 i still surffer from tingling and numbess in my Left hand and arm i also had numbness in my left leg have ever the leg has returned to normal but the hand arm and chest are not i to have a burning and tingling in my chest . i have been to neurologist to no avail . i thank god every day thou that i live i feel the tingling and numbess is a small price to pay for the chance to live out my life and see my grandchildren grow up i also just try to adjust to the fact that things are the way they are , and it maybe something i have to live with . i also simpathize with you all ,i know what that fear is because i have to have another sergery to repair a leak in my left ventrical , so be praying for me all of you and ill pray for you all to . iv had a long road to recovery myself but nothing is more preious than life and i just try to live life to the fullest, and get a much enjoyment out of every day as i can because after my heart sergery i fell iv been given another chance and im going to go on no matter what . when my hand and arm hurt i think that its a little reminder to live better stronger and always be ready because none of us knows the time we are to leave this world and i always thank god over again that im still here.


Virginia McLean says on June 4th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

After my heart surgery on Mar. 3′ 09 Iawoke to find that my pinkie and ring finger on both hand were numb. I have a great deal of pain and discomfort because of the numbness.

My doctor does not attribute the pain to the surgery, however, I differ strongly with his assesment


Pam says on June 17th, 2009 at 6:52 am

I am currently 4 weeks out from open heart surgery and am having similar experiences.
My feet and hands are tingling, numb and feel like they are asleep. BUT…the kicker is…it is not only happening when I am still, it happens when I am using the hands and feet. When I am walking, my feet are “asleep”, numb and tingling.
Any advice?


Joy Mauuldin says on July 6th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

My husband is suffering with foot, ankle, and leg pain since he coded in one hospital after complications from stint procedures. a sheath with a balloon pump was inserted twice in one leg over a short period of time. The last time, he was transported to a bigger hospital with the balloon pump and sheath in place where they remained for another week or so. After the removal of the pump, his foot, ankle, and leg were not only swollen from fluid (due to acute heart failure) but numb and extremely sensitive to touch. Eventually he became well enough to have the L-VAD (Left ventricular assist device) surjery. It has been three weeks since that surjery and we have been hospitalized for almost 3 months now and is still numb and hurting. The only releif he gets is pain medications, of which most do not help much and for not long. Physical therapy is working with him and with the assistance of them and a brace, he is able to walk for a short distance. He is unable to walk without assistance. If he walks with assistance without the brace, his foot not only is numb and hurts, but tries to turn inward (the whole foot ankle and leg). Can anyone offer and ideas as to the course of action we need to take or have any idea what to expect from this condition? I would greatly appreciate your help.


michelle says on July 16th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

my husband had a five bypass in august of 08 then a stint feb 09 and a stint in left upper thigh in may of 09 since all of this he has had shooting pains in his left ankle were they took the veins out to repair his heart. he went today to the heart sur doctors they told him he had nerve damage.will it get better or does he need to see another doctor to find out what to do.

thanks michelle


joanna says on July 21st, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I just had a mitral valve replacement three weeks ago. As I was waking up in the Cardiac ICU I remember trying frantically to get someone’s attention because something was wrong with the back of my head. Now I know that it had been almost 11:00PM (My surgery was scheduled for 7:00AM). I’d had some bleeding problems and was taken back to the OR and reopened to find the problem….Anyway now the back of my head (scalp) from crown to neck and ear to ear is numb to hypersensitive, and feels huge! No explanation- just “that’s interesting”, from three of the surgeons in the group – they’re great , my heart now works fine.

thanks for listening,joanna


Ian Le Clerc says on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Wow… I thought I woud never find someone who has had similar problems to mine. After my thoracic Aortic Anneurysm, I found out that the surgeon had to cut through a nerve that paralyzed my vocal cords. I needed later surgery to bring over the paralyzed cord so that it would work with the other one.

Then about three years later… I had my bicuspid arotic valve replaced (bovine replacement) at the age of 35. Since that time, my left hand (the two fingers (pinky and ring finger) are completely numb). I haven’t been to a doctor to discuss this as one of the nurses told me it isn’t anything to worry about and it’s a result albeit a bad reult of the surgery. She also said it may or may not resolve itself and to be happy I was living.

It’s so numb now that the feeling is more permanent and has now lost about 1/4 feeling and I see that my two fingers are in a bent shape (as if making a fist) (though the colour remains good).

I guess I’ll be speaking to my doctor in the very near future.



charles dieter says on August 15th, 2009 at 8:22 pm

hello, my name is charles. i am commenting about the burning, numbness and sensativites, after open heart quad bypass surgery. my surgery was done 7/21/2008. i was experiencing these symptons also. my heart surgeon and cardiologist told me on my 12 week check that this was normal and could take up to a year before feeling normal. well it has been over a year, today is 8/15/09. i have since relocated from md. to nv. due to loosing my job and home. i have seen drs. in nv. and they have no answer yet and my discomfort is to were i can’t sleep, the burning ect. is so severe. my dr. is studying me now for diabetes. been thinking about legal action but don’t have anything definite to go on at the moment. this is terrible situation and i thought it was unique to me, but sounds a little more wide spread. i am concerned and would appreaciate ANY input. thankx


B. Legler says on August 22nd, 2009 at 11:43 am

After tissue valve replacement of my aortic valve in 2004, I had pains in my left rear shoulder and right thigh. After several years I had a bad attack of shingles in my left shoulder. My right thigh hurt when I stood still while participating with a singing group. Now in 2009 I have a sense of loss of feeling in my right foot, especially at night. My left shoulder seldom gives me pain.


neil, aberdeen says on August 25th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I had aortic valve replaced at 45yo after finding it bicuspid. 26 hours under anaesthetic due to bleeding problems and doctors had to go back in. When I came round I had the most excruciating pain in my left foot. After pain and swelling went down about 4 weeks, I’m left with pins and needles sensation across most toes, especially the big toe. Had numbness il left side and little toe but that has now been replaced with sensation as others. No explanation, in fact doctors said first experience for them. Now 6 months and I have to see a specialist next week but don’t hold out much hope. Is there anyone there experienced this and are now recovered? If it takes time it would be nice to know roughly how long?


Bobby says on August 25th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I had heart bypass surgery in 02/07. Attempted 4 grafts but was only able to do 2 successfully. Since having the surgery I have had numbness and burning in my right hand and partial numbness in my right arm since right after surgery. Doctors told me my arm and hand would be back to normal in a couple of months, no longer than 6 months. Still the same and has gotten worse, not better. One ORTHO Surgeon told me it was severe CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME in my right hand. Had the surgery done with no improvement,


Alan says on September 16th, 2009 at 8:31 am

I am recovering from Maze surgery in early March. I too awoke from the operation with my right little finger and ring finger “asleep” up to above my wrist. Although the doctors assured me that this feeling will come back I was aprehensive. Well six months later it is about 95% back to normal, however because of lack of movement and use I am just starting to get trigger finger in my little finger. I suppose this is now something else to see the doctor about.


greg says on September 24th, 2009 at 7:59 am

I am in my fourth week after triple bypass and my right foot is still numb, just the big toe and pad underneath and a couple smaller toes. my cardiologist says feeling will return in time. I remain hopeful. I am allways checking my color to make sure it is not a circulation issue.



Danny says on September 26th, 2009 at 8:31 pm

I had heart bypass surgery 2 months ago, and I have terrible pain unless I take codien or some other strong pain med. This only masks it and does not take the numbness and tingling away. This is contast. Doctor said it is common. Can you help.


JOHN O. says on November 9th, 2009 at 10:34 am

I had aortic valve replacement and aortic root replacement in July 2009. It is now
November and two fingers in my left hand are still numb. I was told by my surgeon that it is a result of having my arms literally tied over my head for six
hours during surgery. They have told me it is quite common and that it can take
up to year for the numbness to disappear. Bummer , as I am a guitar player and
have been unable to play since July.


monty says on November 17th, 2009 at 7:33 am

still numb after 13 months; after heart surgery are my right pinky and ring fingers, i gave up on it becoming better.


JT says on November 17th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

I am 2 weeks post-op on a mitral valve repair (less invasive- port access procedure). The procedure took longer than expected and I was in the OR for 10 hours. I am still experiencing numbness in my left hand and right foot. Some feeling and movement has come back back in the past 10 days but numbness is still there. Anyone else have a similar experience?


Lee says on November 27th, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Hi, I had my heart surgery on May 13, 2009. I had my aortic valve replaced, a by-pass, and an aortic anuresim. It was a 6 hour surgery. I woke up with pain and numbness in my left hand (ring finger and pinky). Prior to the operation I had a history of slight pain/numbness in my left hand (but it was thumb, index, and middle finger) due to a herniated disc in my neck. After the surgery, that pain/numbness went a way, but the ring finger and pinky is very intense at times, especially in my wrist and sometimes elbow and shoulder. My surgeon sent me to a neurologist who had me take an MRI which showed my old disc problem in my neck. He and a neuro-surgeon recommended having the disc replacement surgery which I had on Sept 29. They both said it may not correct my hand problem, but highly recommended it so there won’t be any further serious problems. Unfortunately, it did not correct the problem and I am still having problems, now 6 months after my heart surgery. To ease the pain, I have been on neuronton/gabapentin (300mg X 9 daily). It masks the pain somewhat, but the problem hasn’t gone away and the pain is strongest in the evening. I see my neurologist and neuro-surgeon next week, but I am not expecting any good news. Hopefully, time will heal it… I sure hope so! I will let you know. Thanks to all for sharing as this site has help me get through it.


robin kessinger says on December 9th, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Hello there,

I’m experiencing the same thing…only it’s my right hand. After a heart bypass two weeks ago, my thumb and first two fingers are asleep. I still have plenty of strength but since I make my living as a guitar player, I am just a little worried. I may as well have gauze wrapped around my first four fingers.I did some research and found that vitamin b6 helps damaged nerves to regenerate. Any thoughts on this? Thank you.


Richard says on December 13th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

How comforting to know others have had similar experiences. Mine was on August 19. 2009. Aortic Valve replacement with pacemaker installed. (Had quintuple bi-pass 4 years prior). Tingling in all fingers and thumb of my left hand continues unchanged. Soon after the surgery, the surgeon said to expect this to clear up OR to “become tolerable” in about six months. I hope I’m wrong, but I think it means that if it doesn’t improve within that time, you need to learn to live with it. Frankly if the operation has extended my life by 20 years (as I believe it has-I’m 65)then this discomfort is well worth it. But I will try to remember to check in with you all if any changes occur. Richard


carole says on January 12th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

My husband had triple by-pass in Oct. 2007 and over several months noticed a numbness in his left pinky and the next two fingers. As of now. it has become progressively worse. He’s unable to button his shirt or pants. He is losing muscle and his ability to grasp items. He has had nerve testing done and was told the nerve is dead.He also has some carpel tunnel which they want to do surgery for in the same hand. We asked if this was related to his hearty surgery and it seem everyone wants to avoid the answer which is obvious from what I’ve read in everyone’s comments. It would have been nice to have had this info before surgery so you could watch out for signs before it becomes to late. As of now, They tell him there is nothing they can do to repair the nerve


Michael Nelson says on January 15th, 2010 at 2:39 am

I have this exact same problem. I had a mitro-valve implant 2 years ago at 16 years old. Since then my left hand is numb and weak. Eventually I got more feeling in my pointer finger and thumb but I still have low control, feeling, and strength in the other three. My doctor says that it should heal over time but after such a long period I’m not very optomistic that it will get better without surgery (which I will not do.)


Lisa says on January 19th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

My father had surgery last week – aortic valve replacement with an aortic root graft (bentall procedure). He’s recovering well BUT his teeth are a source of severe pain. He’s finding it difficult to eat or drink anything due to the hypersensitivity. I was looking into whether this could be related to nerve damage when I came across these posts. I haven’t seen anyone mention tooth pain…has anyone else experienced this? He did not have sensitive teeth prior to surgery. Its so painful that he’s reluctant to eat or drink.


Bruce says on January 20th, 2010 at 1:20 am

I had robotic mitral repair five weeks ago today and also have experienced pain and numbness…in my left thigh. The doctors and nurses have assured me it is not an uncommon result of nerve irritation during the surgery process…catherization?….and have told me it could take up to three months to “heal.” I’m trying to be patient and optimistic and since I have a ways to go in my overall healing I’m going to at least wait the three months before seeking a neurological opinion. However, I have noticed an improvement – less pain and less numbness to a degree…so I am encouraged that it will eventually disappear. Now if my chest would hurry up and heal faster I would be much happier!


alex says on January 20th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Hi Bruce
I am scheduled for MV repair surgery in Cleveland Clinic on 10th March and would love to know your experiences. Can you please contact me on my email Thanks.


Les Abernathy says on January 23rd, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Had aortic valve surgery Nov.12. Had nerve damaqe to last 2 fingers and thumb of left hand.Neurologist said fingers would recover but would need therapy for the thumb.Been in therapy for two weeks(3 times a week),but have seen very little results Therapist said it might take months for full recovery.This is a real inconvenience as I love golf and right now I can,t hold on to the club.Otherwise my recovery from the surgery is going well.
Les Abernathy,Jonesboro,AR


monty says on February 17th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

its been 17months after triple bypass that left my right pinky and outer half of my ring finger numb, as asleep. best advice forget it and go on. uncomfortable but go on with life. if it gets better great. it won’t get worst. save your time and money.


Mary says on February 24th, 2010 at 9:38 am

My husband had mitral and aortic valve replacement surgery almost 2 years ago.
He sustained nerve damage during surgery which still affects his hands , arms and fingers with pain and numbness.
Has this happened to anyone else? Thanks.


Mary says on February 24th, 2010 at 9:39 am

My husband had mitral and aortic valve replacement surgery almost 2 years ago.
He sustained nerve damage during surgery which still affects his hands, arms, and fingers with pain and numbness.
Has this happened to anyone else? Thanks


James says on March 1st, 2010 at 1:29 pm

When i woke up from heart surgery (1/5/10) my feet felt like they had experienced severe frost bite. I was unable to lift up my left foot. The tops of the feet sting severely 24 hours a day. I also have numbness going from the tops of the feet to the second joints on my feet. The only relief I get is hot water soaks. All of my Drs. are puzzled. I have been working with my personal trainer to try and regain mobility. I can lift up my left foot some now, but it still does not have much strength yet. The pain is slowly decreasing in both feet. Fortunately, peripheral nerves can regenerate. Since this is my 2nd heart surgery, I know it will get better. When I had my first surgery(26 years ago), the tops of my arms and my thighs were numb. It took almost a year to recover. So I figure, this damage will get better too.


Frank says on March 29th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Three weeks ago I had Cardio thoracic surgery to repair a collapsed lung. I only had pain for about a week but have terrible numbess with hypersensativity from under my right elbow, armpit, right upper chest and right side of rib cage. It feels like a horrrible sunburn that is constantly tingling. I have been told by my Pulmanologist that the numbness will last upto six months, but that thae tongling should not last that long. Three weeks seems to be a long time already, I hope this goes away much sooner than six months.


Larry Sanks says on March 30th, 2010 at 8:50 am

I sustained nerve damage after Aortic valve replacement to my right hand and bottom of my left foot. Having been through similar surgery before it took a full year for the numbness and supers sensitivity to go away. Having read some of these comments I’m surprised that more doctors aren’t aware of this. When I mention it to my surgeon he seamed unaware of this issue.


ron laramie says on April 2nd, 2010 at 10:52 pm

My left arm and hand were peralized after my 5 bypass surgery. it’s been over 3 months and my hand is better except for the last 2 fingers, which are numb and hurt like hell. Also my thighs on my legs are tender to the touch, and Neurontin isn’t working. I feel it is nerve damage due to the way they bent my body during surgery. Any ideas….Ron


Sheila says on April 5th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I had aortic valve replacement three months ago and thought I was recovering well. However, for about the last six weeks or so I have painful muscle aches in my neck shoulders and both hips. My GP and Rhumatoid doctor suspect it is PMR (Polymyalgia Rheumatica). My ESL is slightly elevated. It is painful to move or walk. If it is PMR then the only cure seems to be, steroids so my doctors have contacted my cardiologist and surgeon to see if I can take these so soon after my open heart surgery.

Although my symptoms appear to be like those of PMR, surely it is not a coincidence that this started up soon after surgery, and now after reading the other blogs, feel it could be related to ulnar nerve damage.

Has anyone else encountered this?


PAT BROWN says on April 21st, 2010 at 2:12 pm



Kenneth Lowe says on May 24th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I had my second bypass surgery in March of 1998 and I have been bothered with a tingling sensation in my stomach ever since then. The only relief I can get is a hot shower which last for several hours. Sometimes it simply drives me crazy. If you find an answer I would be interested in hearing what it is.


LuckyAng02 says on June 24th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I had nerve damage in my chest after valve repair surgery in 2002. I asked my surgeon as to why my chest felt like pins and needles when I touched it. He said that it might be okay in about six weeks after the surgery. I still have it, and now, every so often I experience a burning sharp pain on the right side of my chest that only last a few seconds. I am now wondering if this is due to my nerve damage. I did not have numbness in my hands and feet.


CHAD says on June 30th, 2010 at 9:56 pm

i had open heart surgery march 2010 ,arotic valve , they placed a mechanical valve , surgery went ok ,. felt really good after , u know when i was release from the hospital 5 days later ,. well once the perocet wore off , thier is this burning ,numbness ,pins and needles very sensitive to the touch . it is now 3 and a half months later and i still feel it daily ,never really got any better ,dr. said it was nerve damage , when will this feeling go away ,,????


phillip says on July 22nd, 2010 at 9:08 am

I am exactly at my 6th week post aortic root replacement, valve repair and a single bi-pass as well (full tune up). I am 48 years old and was shocked I needed all this repair work. When I woke from surgery, I also had numbness of my left pinky and ring finger. Well, it’s still there after six weeks. It is ice cold in that area and warm the rest of my hand. I just visited my surgeon who says it’s very common during surgery to damage the ulnar nerve which goes directly to the pinky area. His advise was to wait at least six months before going to a neurologist. we will see. I glad to hear others have experienced the same thing too so I am not crazy dealing with it alone!!!


Steve Clynch says on July 28th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Hi, I had bypass 22 months ago. I now have nerve damage on left chest wall which I have been told is largely due to mammary graft! Although my pain is not always present – it is bearable and definitely nothing compared to angina pains… I just keep smiling that I am still here breathing. One day my number will be up – but until then I sure am going to carry on and enjoy life.


Steve Clynch (King’s Lynn, England).


Fletcher says on July 28th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I had open-heart surgery May 21, 2010 and my fingers on my right hand feel numb, cold, very sore and sensitive. I was told to give it about 6 months to return to normal.


Martin says on July 30th, 2010 at 6:06 am

Hi, My daughter who is 20 had Open Heart Surgery June 25th 2010 to repair a large Atrial Septal Defect. Op went OK, but suffered collapsed lungs and had to stay on ventilator in I.T.U for 4 days after surgery. They don’t know why but said it was unusual for someone her age to suffer from this (she is a non smoker, and otherwise very healthy person). Having got through that, she now has terrible burning and pins and needles sensations in her left foot with pain especially aroung her big toe joint. This is causing terrible discomfort and she is unable to get proper sleep as it keeps her awake for hours. She has seen the GP’s who first thought it could have been a trapped nerve, and then they thought possibly gout, after all the medications she has taken, and is still taking 2 aspirins every day. however, she has today been told by GP that it looks like some nerve damage, and is referring her to see a neurologist. Having viewed the many comments above it would appear that this may be a normal reaction to heart surgery, but we just hope it gets better as it is quite obviously causing distress as she even says she wants her foot amputated, I know she doesn’t mean that but it does give an insight as to how uncomfortable it must be. Atleast the 32mm hole in her heart is repaired though!


kc8adu says on August 30th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

just had a 5 way bypass at good samaritan a few weeks ago.
have a somewhat numb right arm and to a lesser extent right leg. when i mentioned this i was kept an extra day and tests were ordered. conclusion is that this will self resolve. it gets better and worse on some days.i never have been a neat writer but it made it worse. no loss of strength though.
i will follow up as things progress.


Elaine says on September 10th, 2010 at 1:31 am

About a year after my open heart surgery, I woke up one morning to find that my left hand had started to tingle. It began in the pinky finger and quickly “spread” to the one next to it within a few hours. By mid-morning, my whole hand had gone numb and it eventually spread into my arm, at which point I went to the ER thinking I was having a stroke. They did all the tests and found nothing, said it was probably stress and sent me home.

It’s been two and a half years now, and my hand has felt kind of like a block of wood ever since. It is numb and tingly all the time, sometimes more than others. I can feel pain, hot and cold, but when I reach inside my purse to grab something small, my left hand has no idea what it is touching. I cannot clasp a necklace, type well, or hold onto anything small with that hand without making a serious effort.

At one point I had an MRI so they could look at my cervical spine. The results showed a small area of “demyelination” meaning a hole in the coating that protects the spine. They said this can indicate MS but mine was not large enough to make that assumption. A spinal tap would be necessary to confirm or rule out MS, but I refused, at which point the doctor told me to come back if it got any worse. It never has. It’s always been the same as the day it started.

Over the course of the two years that followed, I noticed my shoulders hurting on a regular basis. Massage has helped, as this pain is very obviously caused by knots I can feel in the back of both shoulders. The left one has always been worse, though, and it usually hurts in one particular spot in the rotator cuff.

I’m no doctor so I’m not going to try to self-diagnose.. however I do feel the surgery had something to do with the numbness and shoulder pain. Whether it’s a nerve, muscle knots, a tear in the rotator cuff or something else, I may never know. I use a hand-held massager that reaches those spots in my muscle and that has helped some with the shoulder pain but not the numbness. I will just continue to live around that until I get up enough courage to have more tests done. At this point though, I’m staying out of the hospital.


max says on October 5th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

hi .i had the -pleasureof quad a pigs valve plus the artery in my neck all at the same time about 6 weeks ago if i new that all 3 woulfd leave me a trembling wreck of agony and pain i wouldent of had it no trust surgeons doctore he plenty of second in constant agony except when i knock myself out on morphine and take zopiclone sleeping pills i have more pain than i could of been led to believe …what im worried about is i now have pains in hips back and joints .apart from getting various infections in hospital and needing the crash of the best heart hospitals in lonson …….oh yes id not recomend it i think i swas not well enough to go under a 12 hour op they couldent even finish the second artery to the neck i think i will pas on the pleasure.anyone with ideas on all my other pains would be helpfull i am most worried about artheritis as i have little movement without pain is that normal and pains in hips and major joints it seems this is no a 6-10 week recovery anyone had similar please tell me thanks


Deborah Blackmon says on October 6th, 2010 at 11:42 am

It’s been 4 months since my triple bypass surgery; my chest (left) continues to be numb, and my right leg where the veins were removed is still numb along the left side. This numbness is along the entire leg and ankle. Supposedly, this will change once the nerves reconnect. Has anyone else experienced the numbness in these areas
for this period of time?



Mary Ann Marko says on October 16th, 2010 at 11:38 am

I underwent robotic repair of my mitral valve five months ago. Since thin my right breast has been numb.The doctor told me nerves were severed and they repair themselves in their own good time. I doubt I will ever regain feeling as there has been no improvement what so ever. My heart is now healthy so I count my blessings and live with a numb breast.


Bill says on October 17th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I had open heart surgery with 5 bypasses and 1 aortic valve during August of 2010. I have numbness in both my little and ring fingers on my right arm. I have periodic pain in my little finger. For the first 3 weeks I couldn’t fall asleep because of the pain. Exercise seems to help with pain. I’m taking gabapentin to help with the pain.
How long will last? It has affected my ability to write with my right hand.


Dennis says on October 23rd, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I have had heart surgery to repair my mitro valve. Ever since the surgery, I have symptoms of raynods syndrome and numb hands . It has been 3 years since the surgery and it gets worse every year. I was just wondering if there is anyone else that has had the same problem.
Thank You
Dennis Mowery


Anne says on October 25th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

My husband had a double bypass 9 months ago. Ever since, he has experienced what feels like a ‘trapped nerve’ pain between his neck and left shoulder. He can no longer sleep on his left side (his favorite side of course), he constantly has a dull ache, and occasionaly suffers excrutiating sharp pain if he accidentally jolts his neck/shoulder or awkwardly raises his arm. After a ‘jolt’ the pain will remain intense for several weeks. He lives in fear of this extreme pain. As I said, the pain is always there, just a question of degree. His top surgeon, cardiologist and neurologist all seem surprised, then say some nerve issues can occur due to the extreme positioning of the rib cage which is cut open; but all agree that ‘the good news is that the pain will go’, but they don’t say when. That was 3 months ago. He still has the pain, is depressed and bad tempered. Although this blog is mostly about hands and feet, it has alterted me to the fact that nerve damage does not appear to be an unusual postop problem, despite the ‘surprised’ look on the doctors faces when you tell them you have such a problem.
The only frustration about this blog is that although it dates back several years I have not yet read any ‘hallelujah the pain has gone’ messages. I have to hope that that is because once the pain has gone, one no longer needs the support of fellow sufferers.
My husband takes Gabapentin. I does not help with the pain, but he gets a good night’s sleep with it, which in itself is helpful.


william young says on October 29th, 2010 at 8:47 pm



Frank says on October 30th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I had a Ross procedure done in January of 2007. I am 55 and was born with a bicuspid valve. My problem seems to be a bit unique on this board. When I wake up in the middle of the night, my heart rate is much more rapid than normal. Its does not take long to slow down and I can usually get back to sleep right away. At first I thought it was stress but noticed that even in very relaxing periods, it still happens. My primary physician’s theory is that my autonomic nerve system was damaged in the surgery and that normal function would keep my heart rate low. In my case, my brain is providing a kick to my heart rate when I wake up and the autonomic system would normally counteract this but no longer functions. It has been over 3 years, so I am assuming I am stuck with this. Would love to know if anyone else has a similar symptom.


Cory Ezelle says on November 3rd, 2010 at 7:04 am

I had aortic and mitral valve replacement, double bypass around pre-existing stints, and partial excision of my pericardium. Heart problems were result of mantle radiation for lymphoma over 30 years ago. Since my surgery almost four weeks ago, I’ve had numbness in my left hand and pain in my left little finger and slight pain in the right little finger. At times, the pain can be very bothersome. My doctors have indicated this is very common and will subside over time.


Wendy says on November 19th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I had mitral valve repair just about a year ago through a mini-thoracotomy. My right breast remains numb as does the inside half (!) of my right thigh, because right groin was used for the bypass machine. It is all very strange, but in a way, quite a souvenir from a very big adventure.


Troy says on November 20th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

I had the ross procedure in 2002. In 2005 I was told that the pulmonic valve that was placed on the aortic valve was leaking and needed to be replaced. In Dec. 2005 my surgeon decided to repair the valve, 6 weeks later the repaired valve had a surgery leak and I was back in surgery for my third time. This time I was told the only option was a mechanical valve, with a lifetime of coumadin. In reading the operation report for surgery #3, there was a leak when they restarted my heart. The report didnt give details, but did say I was on the bypass machine about 1 hour 22 minutes longer.As far as after surgery symptoms, the right inner thigh is still numb but I have accepted it. My wife tells me thats one pain I wont have to worry about later. The other post surgery symptom is what they call pumphead. My short term memory loss and slurring of words is a little frustrating. I must say at 48 years old I feel great and am blessed to live at the beach surfing at least 3 times a week.


Frank says on November 22nd, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Troy, I had a ross in 2007 and we are about the same age. Would love to talk to you more about your experience if you would. My email is


stu says on December 5th, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Hi all, found this when looking for answers. I had an operation when I was 7, I’m now 25 and I had nerve damage. It effected my walking, running, leg strength, muscle building ability, had over corrected arches which now cause me pain. Although in grateful to be alive I hate all the stuff its caused me and the confidence issues after.


Lori Pike says on December 13th, 2010 at 12:12 am

I had aortic valve replacement in 2006. I was 27 when it was done. I was in surgery from 11 am until 9 pm. It took 3 valves to finally work. I didn’t wake up until a week and a half later. When I woke up the first thing I said was my feet felt like someone was sticking dry ice on them. After another week, they were so swollen that the tips of my toes were black. They gave me a water pill and I lost 27 pounds in 24 hours. I never once complained about my chest. It was always my feet. I was there for 3 and a half weeks before I went home. I had many complications with everything about me. After all I have permanently nerve pain in my feet that has spread up throughout my body now. I hate it. This will never go away and nothing will come close to taking my pain to just relief for the day. Much more to this story but all this in a quick nutshell.


StephenM says on January 12th, 2011 at 6:32 am

4 weeks ago, aged 48, I had a triple bypass with a new mechanical aortic valve thrown in for good measure. I had complications needing an emergency ambulance ride back to hospital after 6 days of being initially discharged – I was in for a further 6 days whilst my heart was stabilised.

Anyway, one effect I am still experiencing is numbness in my left hand. Thumb and forfinger are fine, but the other three fingers are very weak, can’t grip anything. I’ve been told that it should resolve itself over the next few months and I’m encouraged by many of the posts here confirming this. It’s just nice to know that this is a common problem with this kind of surgery, and I’m not suffering alone….


DABEER MALLIK says on January 30th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I just went through a cabbage and aortic valve replacement, Nov 10, 2010. I too have a problem with my left hand – little finger and lower part of the hand is numb and sensitive to touch. I have very little strength in my thumb and middle fingers, but it is becoming better. My left breast is numb too, but improving slowly. I too want to hear the story of full recovery.


SUE says on February 4th, 2011 at 9:53 am



Joe Blankenbaker says on February 8th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Prior to Dec. 16 I was an extremely active 67 year old male that jogged daily, lifted weights every other day, and played and taught tennis on a daily basis. I had a valve replacement (tissue) on Dec. 16. On Jan.3 I was back in the hospital to have fluid removed from around the heart. My stay in the hospital the first time was 5 days and the second time was 4 days. This was followed by by a 2 day hospital stay due to dehydration and anemia. After 5 pretty rough weeks I began to improve and started a walking routine and doing some light resistance exercises. However, I am having strange sensations in both arms but especially in the right arm. The hands are very cold and go to sleep easily especially at night. The bicep area has a tingling sensation. I remember that during each hospital stay I was hooked to a blood pressure monitor that checked my BP periodically. After a while I dreaded the sound of the sleeve starting to fill with air as my arms were getting a little sensitive. I read in an earlier response on this page that a patient had similar sensations and offered the constant blood pressure monitoring as a possible cause. I am wondering if the automatic blood pressure machine over the 11 days in the hospital could have caused some nerve damage in the upper arm. The doctors aren’t much help in this situation.


John says on February 10th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I had open heart surgery with 5 by-passes December 21st 2010. I woke up with pain and numbness in my left hand, forearm, little finger and ring finger. I have constant pain in my fingers and elbow such that sleep is difficult even after 7 weeks. For the first 3 weeks sleep was chemically induced because of the pain. My left hand is considerably weaker than my right and the symptoms are getting worse, not better. My pinky is unnaturally curling under my ring finger and my hand is cramping after exercise. I was told that it would heal within 3 to 5 weeks. No dice. After reading the above comments, I am pretty worried about long term disability. I have been advised (by friends) to try accupuncture to \”awaken\” the nerves. Has anyone had any success with such treatment?


Pierce Williams says on February 16th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I had Quad bypass with one valve repair in Sept 09. Right hand was immediately weak and sensitive. Slowly the sensitivity decreases and dexiterity increases but it took a while. I would guess that I have re-acquires about 90% of both strength and feeling.

Good luck to you ! Keep working on it !


Mary Ann Marko says on February 16th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Nine months ago, I had robotic repair of a mitral valve. My right breast is still numb, and I expect it will always be. I understand that nerves have to be severed and do not always grow back together.Of course I wish it were back to normal, but I am afraid I will just have to consider it my tradeoff for a functioning heart.


Bruce Brown says on March 5th, 2011 at 11:37 am

I had mitral valve repair via a thoracotomy on February 8th. After surgery I had pain and numbness on the left side of my thigh above the knee up to my hip. The type of pain is burning, soreness and sensitivity to touch which goes from the surface of the skin to what feels like an inch to two inches into the muscle.

I also feel a bit of numbness on the left side of my left hand and into my ring finger.

I’m in cardiac rehab now and the leg issue does not seem to interfere with my being able to do the large movements required on the exercise bikes and the walkers.

After surgery I complained of the problem was told that I had a compressed nerve and that time would resolve the issue. So far that has not been the case; but it’s early on now.


Craig says on April 1st, 2011 at 4:56 am

I had 6 hour open heart surgery for mitral valve repair and vein ablation on the 8th December 2010, in London. Immediately afterwards I noticed a numbness and heat sensation in my right leg above the knee and up to the top of the thigh ( just below the hip) It was very uncomfortable whilst I was in hospital for the 11 days. It has improved considerably but the numbness is still there. Asked a nurse in hospital about it and she said it was probably just a reaction to the anaesthetics. Not sure if there is anything to worry about, my GP says there isn’t. Back in the gym this week running and cycling so not all bad news!


Jerry says on April 30th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I had triple bypass 3 months ago ( Jan. 2011). When I awoke from the surgery my left hand was numb and I could only move my thumb and fore finger.
3 months and alot of neurontin (stopped taking it) later, I can move all fingers but my hand is still asleep and hurts, I catch myself wringing my hands over and over during the day. Not to mention my chest is still very sore. I have seen 2 neurologist’s and still no real relief. Everything so far is inconclusive. Help!


StephenM says on May 1st, 2011 at 3:18 am

My last post here was on the 12th Januaryt 2011. I too was experiencing issues with my left hand, being very numb and weak, and also my left leg above the knee to the top of my thigh also being numb. I can report trhat after nearly 4 months, both conditions have improved considerably, though they are no-where near the same as pre-op.

I get some encouragement that the forthcoming months will see continued improvements, as a while back, I just assumed that the nerve damage would be permanent. Keep the faith……


Dave Hudak says on May 2nd, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Hi Jerry,

Exact same problem here. I had an AVR on 2/7/11 just about three months ago. While in the hospital, I had a very sharp pain run up and down my left arm while getting in and out of bed with sternal precautions. I mentioned it to the nurses and nothing was done about it. Then a week after I got home (two weeks after surgery) I woke up in the middle of the night with a number 100+ pain in my left arm. Went to the ER . Nothing would touch it because it was nerve pain. Trying to heal the surgery wtih this plus do the PT and do the neurontin was an impossible task. Then I came down with the flu a few days later. Don’t know how I made it..Dave


Dave Hudak says on May 2nd, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Hi again Jerry,

Just wanted to let you know that I also have some residuals with tingling in the pinky finger. A really cheap home traction device helped a lot when I was homebound and exercise at the gym for the past two weeks has made me almost symptom free. The PT girl says that nerves float over other stuff and I think that any kind of activity involving the arms and body will help.


Jack Forbes says on May 3rd, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Had quad bypass January 2011. Three months later I continue to have severe neuropathy in the left chest. The burning is so severe I can’t stand to wear a shirt. I have read similar stories on this site, but does anyone have an answer? My doctor has prescribed Lyrica which has helped relieve pain maybe 20%. Any help out there?


Don Donovan says on May 7th, 2011 at 12:18 am

I had a CABGX4 in December 2008. I have had ‘dead but sometimes tingling’ nerve pain parallel with the sternum scar and to its left side about 7cm wide ever since. It’s more sensitive to light than heavy touch. Indeed when it is sore I rub it hard which relieves it. The sensation has recently started to extend farther left around my pectoral area, under my arm and to the left scapula. Very irritating and not improving. I’ve suspected shingles but no rash. Doctor cannot offer explanation but prescribed an aspirin/chloroform lotion which does… absolutely nothing!

I also suffer from digressive peripheral neuropathy and so suspect a damaged nervous system.

Can somebody tell me which wand to wave?


Sham says on May 9th, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Hello there!

My husband had aortic valve replacement on 12-27-10. The also removed a portion of his enlarged aorta. He is only 42. It was a birth defect that caused the surgery.He is having the same problem but it’s on his right side. Sometimes the numbing pain is so bad that he can’t lift his arm at all. We have checked his BP, it’s normal. Tonight he had a new thing happen, the right lower side of his face went numb. It all goes away in 5-10 minutes. His doctor tells him to go in to the ER when it happens but he declines. If anyone has input, it would be appreciated.


Steve Vance says on May 11th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I had a heart bypass over 2 years ago and i have been experencing numbness on the left side of my body freqently, is that normal? what should i look out for?


Don Donovan says on May 11th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I had a CABGX4 in December 2008. I have had ‘dead but sometimes tingling’ nerve pain parallel with the sternum scar and to its left side about 7cm wide ever since. It’s more sensitive to light than heavy touch. Indeed when it is sore I rub it hard which relieves it. The sensation has recently started to extend farther left around my pectoral area, under my arm and to the left scapula. Very irritating and not improving. I’ve suspected shingles but no rash. Doctor cannot offer explanation but prescribed an aspirin/chloroform lotion which does… absolutely nothing!

I also suffer from digressive peripheral neuropathy and so suspect a damaged nervous system.

My advice is to put up with it. Visits to neurologists convince me that apart from identifying damage, they can to little about it.


ann says on June 4th, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I had mimimally invasive open heart surgery to repair a mitral valve in January 2011.
I have had a sensitive, numb right breast since my surgery. At first I felt I had to put pressure on it. Now it is ok, but feels weird to touch. It feels as though it is stapled to my chest. I am hoping that time will heal the nerve damage.
I have also had the auras that some people have described. I have told my cardiologist and he has suggested an MRI and another TOE. He is checking that I am not having mini strokes. My MRI was fine and I am having the TOE next week. I am sure that they are caused by stress.
I still get anxious. I hate having my blood pressure taken. Before the op. it was fine, now as soon as I go near a doctor it goes up.


Jack says on June 4th, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I previously shared about my 2011 heart surgery and subsequent left chest neuropathy. I have been taking 75mg of Lyrica 3 times per day and the pain is 50% better. I hope the pain reduction continues and improves. If you are experiencing severe neuropathy as I am it’s worth a try. Good luck and God bless.


Linda says on June 10th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I had mitral valve replacement on May 9. Once I was allowed to walk, I noticed a numbness in my right heel with tingling on the underside of foot towards the toe. It eased up slightly after walking a few days. Two weeks later, I returned to the hospital to drain fluid around my heart and shock it back in a normal heart rhythm. This time, after being allowed to walk, the problem seemed worse. I have been home for almost two weeks with little improvement. Mt feet are cold, the right one feels icy. I hope this eases up.


Bella Hoopes says on July 13th, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I had robotic valve repair 12/2010. I am 59 & a woman. I have numbness/stinging in the upper right thigh and under the upper part of my right arm, right breast, and armpit. In the thigh, it feels like being shocked. Pain pills do not even touch it. I talked my doctor into giving me amytriptoline (against his better judgment). It’s the only way I can sleep at night. It’s been over 7 months. I’m not any better at all. My doctor just shrugs his shoulders and gives me more medication.


Mary Ann Marko says on July 13th, 2011 at 9:50 pm

My right breast is still numb 14 months after surgery. I have no hope that feeling will return.


tim says on July 14th, 2011 at 2:11 am

i just had my aeortic valve and root replaced . i had stenosis since birth and now developed a anyersm. i am 3 weeks removed from surgery and have nerve damage in my right hand after surgery-it’s my pinky finger and the one next to it! they said it will eventually comeback .i am 38 years old and the only other problem i have is a sharp pain under my left breast in the heart area when i usually lay back to go to sleep. i feel great otherwise if this pain would go away i can say i feel pretty good otherwise. my cardiologist says its pericarditis i take ibuprofen to get rid of it. it ruins me at night when i try to sleep iget 4 to 6 hrs sleep daily. any suggestions!


Jon Bender says on July 14th, 2011 at 10:13 am

I awoke from my heart bypass in 2003 with severe numbness in both thighs. It was diagnosed as a trapped nerve resulting from the positioning of the legs during the 5 hours of surgery. In the intervening years I’ve tried acupuncture, acupuncture with electrical stimulation, chemical injections, and physical therapy. The numbness and pain are nowhere near as severe as 7.5 years ago, but I still can’t stand for very long (such as on the tube) or run without pain. My experience leads me to conclude that the trapped nerve either undoes itself or it doesn’t, with no one treatment being effective for everybody.


Jeff says on July 16th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

hi everyone. I am getting my aortic valve replaced by dr Shemin at UCLA in 3 weeks. I am hoping I recover as fast and as well as most of you but these complaints of nerve pain are interesting. What we don’t know is what type of phi,sisal shape all of those with problems are. In other words if there is an underlying problem like arthritis in the spine or a joint the trauma of this operation can move things around and put pressure on a nerve and which is what is causing most of these complaints. It could also be the dr might have nicked a nerve during the process. Nerves take forever to heal and if a nerve was injured it may take a lot of patience for the pro em to subside. Also anti inflamatories can help and lyric works for many with nerve pain

but what I suggest is try and find someone who does Accupuncture as it may be the thing you need to stimulate the body to regenerate the damaged nerve or calm the inflamation that is causing pressure on the nerve. Hope this helps. jeff


ahmy says on July 20th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

when i was 15 years old ,I had operation in my heart.After that one side of my chest appear more than another side ,sometime i feel bad when my friend ask me .can you help my ?


Debra says on July 25th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I had AVR surgery on 11-15-2010. Immediately after surgery I had numbness in my right leg from the groin down to below my knee, I also have spot of numbness on my back.


Neermal Goolabsingh says on July 27th, 2011 at 9:38 am

I am 47 male I did valve surgery in February 08 I went in a coma, suffered a stroke my left arm is bent at the elbow till now 27/07/11 I walk with a limp and I stutter, how can I get my arm to straiten & to speak properly, Thank you.


Rick Dodd says on August 1st, 2011 at 1:23 am

Had CABG in Fall of 2010. Was in surgery for about 5 hours. Afterwords I experienced some neuropath in my left hand apparently due to compression of the ulnar nerve, I felt a lot of tingling and weakness that gradually improved. For the first couple of months there was frequent sharp needle prick sensations, but those have subsided.

It has been ten months since surgery and I have regained much dexterity but considerable tingling and numbness remains in the 4th and 5th fingers without any noticeable improvement in the last few months. For most tasks it is of no consequence, but as a pianist I have lost some dexterity in the left hand.


A.Fray says on August 10th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I had aortic valve and ascending aorta replaced in jan 2011. Woke up with severe pain in my left front thigh. The docs at the time said it may have been a nerve that was damaged and it should lessen over time. It’s been 8 months now and it has eased a little (it doesn’t feel like a bolt of lightening is passing through me anyway!) but it is still quite painful, numb and hypersensitive to touch at the same time. Getting the nerve up to start making the rounds to the doctors again to see if there is some relief to be had. It’s comforting (sort of) to know I am not the only one with this kind of problem, not that I wish it on anyone else that is.


nellie says on August 11th, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I also had bypass surgery for the second time in 10 years. The first time I did not expericence this. It’s been 7 wks now and I have numbness to the center of my chest and my breast. I also have alot of tightness to the chest. My sister did tell me that it was probably nerve damage. She said if took her a year to get over it. Do we just go with the flow are do I have to see a doctor


warren esposito says on August 22nd, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I have had the same open heart surgery which I was 11 hours on the table, and I have nothing but nerve damage in my right hand and in both feet, which continues to get worse and worse. doctors seem to write it off’


Scott says on August 23rd, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I had aortic valve and root replaced. I have numbness in my right hand, 4th and 5th fingers. It has been six week since my surgery. The doctor told me this was a normal thing that happens with this type of surgery. I am hopeful that this condition goes away, but if this is the worst thing that is wrong with me I feel grateful.


Deborah Blackmon says on August 26th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Hi – I’m 15 months out from bypass surgery, and my right leg from groin to ankle is still numb (veins removed from right leg). My chest to the left of my incision remains numb. Doctors aren’t concerned – say the “feeling” may never return!


Debra Ogilby says on August 26th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Its really sad how Dr.’s arent concerned. They don’t have to live with it day in and day out. My right leg is very hyper sensitive. Even someone touching it hurts. My Dr. just says hmmm. I guess its just one of those things your gonna have to live with.


Don Donovan says on August 26th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

In reply to Deborah Blackman. The damage to the inside of your right leg, if it mirrors mine, will gradually improve until you don’t notice it any more. But the surface of my chest, to the left of the sternum, has been uncomfortable since my CABGx4 in December 2008. Sometimes it’s intrusive but can be allayed by rubbing hard, sometimes contact with clothes makes it apparent, most times I just live with it. I suspect it will always be unpleasant; I suspect it cannot be fixed (which is why doctors are so vague about it) I suggest we thank our lucky stars we’re still having fun!


james says on September 18th, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I recently had an LVAD placed and I also am experiencing numbness in my left hand and half of my left foot (last 3 toes and foot).


George Miller says on September 29th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Open heart CABG x 5 and a hole in my heart repaired June 1,2010.I have read all these comments on numbness of the ankle and foot and chest area after this surgery.I am another one having this problem.I never suspected nerve damage but it has been long enough to be some better and it isn’t.It even feels like they tore my rotater cuff during surgery!My left leg and foot are so swollen I had to go up a shoe size.I was also left with a club foot type gate in my walking.At times I feel like I have suffered a light stroke as my memeory has not been the same.


Scott McFall says on October 4th, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I am a 46 year old heart patient. In 2008 I had a freestyle valve and an aortic replacement at the root. after the surgery I coded for a few hours and had cath in groin and neck on both sides. After a few hours, being shocked back several times, a temporary pacemaker, aphib for a while… I recovered. I have pain in both feet in the plantar facia that comes and goes, wild atrophy in the right pec and arm, tingling off and on in certain parts of the body and have not quite got my full cognition speed back. Some of this stuff is kind off dramatic as I was used to being very fit. I am very glad that I am alive, however – the issues with recovery are much more dramatic than I expected. Hormone changes, aging and exhaustion are more dramatic. Great to be alive, tough to deal with the changes. Sometimes it’s a mixed bag.


diane horwin says on October 25th, 2011 at 6:47 am

I too had open heart surgury 2 1/2 years ago, after a valve repair and 5 bypasses, I was left with, what they call a club foot, that was a leg that was numb down to my toes.It was atributed to the position during the long operation. I was also left with severe pain in my back, which after many trips to the hospital they discovered that I had 2 liters of flud in my left lung that was also atributed to positioning during the operation. I’M gratfull to be alive, but as many of you have said after open heart sugury many answers to questions about pain and numbness is answered with Ï don’t know… good luck to all of you and I guess being grateful for another shot at life makes us all lucky. By the way I still have numbness in my ankle and foot but I can walk, and after they extracted the liquid from my lung the pain went away….


Kirk Rose says on October 26th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I am a 64 year old mail and have had my Aortic valve replaced 3 times. Each surgery resulted in some challenges after the procedure. 1st in 1977, suffered a mild stroke resulting in epilepsy, a little scary but have learned to deal with it. The second procedure in 1993. Learning to live with the side effects of Cumadin became quite a challenge. The third in 2008, awoke from the anesthesia with my entire left side paralyzed. A few days after the surgery I did recover but was left with tingling from my left ear to my left ankle, severe pain on the left side of my torso, sharp pain in the left gluteus. The result is constant pain/numbness on my left side, primary in the area from the sternum to the upper femur. Two and 1/2 year later not much has changed, I can function pretty well (still compete in Triathlons and other sport events) however the constant discomfort and pain is, at times, difficult to live/function with. Tried acupuncture, medication, Physical Therapy and massage therapy with no success. I do sympathize with the medical community but do feel abandoned at times.


chris says on October 29th, 2011 at 10:17 am

I have been experiencing visual aura(prodrome)almost everyday since mitral valve repair(minimally invasise) on 10/12/11. Sometimes there’s a headache afterward. I am 63 yr old female and wonder if anyone else had/has this?


janet says on October 31st, 2011 at 9:28 am

my 21 year old son had a myofibroblastic tumor removed on sept 21rst. while still open on the operating table the dr found 2 little tumors surrounding the heart. they scraped them off. 5 weeks out of surgery his left foot is still numb and feels like it will explode. the surgeon told us it was due to scraping the sensory nerve. it will regenerate. the pain is almost unbearable for him. in 6 months we will return to the surgeon and if still numb, he will refer us to someone else. if my son james could hold out till then.


John says on November 3rd, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Janet, sorry to hear about your son. I hope he feels better soon. My right face is numb since December 1995. The doctors have no reason why this happened. I have learned to live with it.


Cal says on November 7th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I am 43 and had a mitral valve repair at the beginning of August. I have been experiencing the numbness and tingling in my ring and pinky finger of my right hand since that date. My tongue and lower jaw has gone numb once and my back has gone numb a number of times. I am relieved to hear that it is not just me. Sometimes my pinky and ring finger go dead when typing on the keyboard. Good Luck and hang in there.


Ann says on November 11th, 2011 at 8:24 am

My husband had an aortic valve replacment on 30th Sept 2011 he had what he says is a lot of electric shocks to the right side of his chest accross from his right nipple, less then 5 weeks later 2 Nov he had to have a middle part of his lung removered, its 9 days since surgery the electric shocks as he calls them has got a lot worse, he was cut around the back to get at the lung, at this moment in time he feels as if he will never get better, can you tell him anything about the elecrtic shocks he is suffering from? they also had to do a repair to somewhere else on the aortic surgeon did say he was lucky to be alive, he should know in a couple of weeks if he needs any more treatment for the cancer in his lung, hope you can help Ann


Virginia Cote says on November 12th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

my dad just had a triple by pass surgery a week ago and i believe that they took some veins out from his left leg. they also performed angiogram from his right leg…now he is transferred to the recovery room but he cannot feel his right leg nor move it…is it possible that his right leg will be paralized forever? or is it just normal to experience that after surgery? please reply to me or send me e-mail, im very worried for my dad…thank you and i will wait for your reply very soon.


Debra Ogilby says on November 12th, 2011 at 11:21 pm

I had AVR 1 year ago, and the numbness in my right leg still hasnt returned, its patchy from the groin area to below the knee, and very painful at times. Causes me to limp. If im off my feet it feels ok, but if Im on my feet alot during the day, Im in alot of pain by evening.


StephenM says on November 13th, 2011 at 4:48 am

Hi Virginia, I would say your concern for your dad is admirable, though maybe a bit premature. Nothing heals better than time. I also had a tripple bypass, new aerotic valve, and an angiogram in my right leg. The vein harvest for my heart was taken from my left leg. It took a few weeks for my right leg to return back to normal, and after 12 months, it has returned to full strength. My left leg, the donor vein one, has a little residual injury in that I have a numbness in my ankle, just around where the incision was made to remove the vein, this is likely to be permanent – but still beats death! I would suggest you speak to your dad’s medical consultant to express your concerns. I wish him a speedy recovery…


Greg says on November 26th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I have numbness in my left arm two years after my open heart bypass surgery. It comes and goes. I get it a lot while at the computer and while sleeping on my stomach with my left arm up under the pillow. My surgery was in March 2009. I was on the operating table for 7.5 hours and in the critical care unit for 11 days. I spent a total of 37 days in the hospital including a week before my operation and after my heart attack.

I noticed right after I woke up in ICU that my left hand was weak and numb. I had extreme numbness and weakness in my left pinky finger and the finger next to it. I have tingling feeling in my left upper outer thigh and in the lower inner part of my left leg right aboev the medial maleosis bone. SP?

The numbness in my left hand eventually went away but the numbness returns from time to time in my left arm. It feels like it’s gone to sleep or that I hit the funny bone in my elbow.

I read a lot of the post above trying to figure out what caused my numbness and there are many things that could be causing it. It’s definately some type of nerve damage. Be it from a lack of oxygen to the brain during the surgery or a compression of the nerves in the chest or left arm during the surgery. I was not awake so I don’t have a clue how they position my body during the surgery.

I complained a lot about the numbnes in my left hand because it made it hard to eat. I could not hold a fork and or knife with any grip to cut up my food using my left hand so that was annoying. I could not hold onto a wash cloth to wash myself as I had to do my own sponge baths in the hospital. I could not walk without help as I was so swollen up after the operation. I went in weighing about 220 lbs and weighted about 280 lbs after the operation. It took me 30 days to get all the fluid off my body with loop diuretics.

I still have a funny sensation on my chest where they cut me open. They used one of my chest arteries for a bypass. I had 4 bypasses, a MAZE Procedure and a Mitral Valve Repair Job in the same operation.

I’m doing better these days and will be 3 years post op in March of 2012.

I find it interesting that all these patients have the same type of numbness as I had and still have from time to time. I just hope it’s not pre stroke symptoms. Sometimes I will take some baby asprins just in case it’s a stroke or blockage in my brain. I took 12 baby aspins the night of my heart attack before I called for the ambulance and I think that helped to save my life that night.


Pat says on January 5th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I have aortic valve replacement 3 weeks ago. Right after the surgery and up to about 2 & 1/2 weeks post op, my arms throbbed. From my elbow down to my hand mostly on the left side it felt like it was going to explode from achy pressure. The pain got worse while sleeping. The intense pain and pressure in my arms has gotten better, although my thumb and pointer finger are numb and sometimes ache now. In most posts, people seem to have the numbness in their pinky’s but mine is in the thumbs? Hopefully this will go away in time.


ted hodgson says on February 3rd, 2012 at 12:45 am

Mine is in my left arm and it is gotten worse after six months, after a quad bipass and was also told to see a nurologist.


donna says on February 8th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

my son had aortic aneurysm repair and has been left with weakness, pain and numbness in his legs and feet, he has been tested and told he has nerve damage in his thighs, his surgery was two years ago and it has not gotten any better


kandy says on February 20th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

hi my husband had 5 bypasses done on jan 25, 2012. he complains of numbness in is arms and hands. he also has a stiff neck that will pop if he moves wrong or will give him an instant headache. his chest is still numb also. he also has a tender spot on the top right side of is stomache. he also is having some memory loss at times. please let me know of anything i can do to help him with his pain??????


Gary Quirke says on March 3rd, 2012 at 1:51 am

Hi Adam,

My doctor discovered the dilated Aortic Root after my Mom passed away from an Ascending Aortic Aneurysm and i was told to get a chest CT to see if I had a similar condition and my Aortic Root was 51mm. Ten weeks ago I had aortic root replacement surgery using the David procedure. I am getting little pains in my chest to the right of my heart. My Echo And ECG were good and my cardiologist says everything is great but these pains worry me. I suspect that the pains are bone related and not a heart pain does anyone have any thoughts on the matter or have experienced similar pains. My surgery was done at Toronto General hospital by Dr. Feindel who has been working with Dr. Tirone David since 1983.
I am easily doing 60 minutes of cardio on an eliptical machine with no problems I am 49 years old.

Anyone with thoughts on the matter I would be pleased to hear from you.


Gary Quirke

P.S. Adam’s book was very helpful well worth getting it.


Frederick W Stumpf says on March 5th, 2012 at 6:05 am

I also had problems with hands feet and right arm . I have done everything doctors have said now my right arm is about worthless.It has pain shooting thru it all day long and I get no answers from doctors.Except try this pill and some of them make your head hurt so bad u wonder why our u doing this. O I had 5 bypasses and its been 2 and a half years. Id really dont think more time will make it get better. Good Luck to you and God BLESS YOU. P S any body has answer to what happen to my right side please call me 1 618 779 4971. Ireally dont know how to use computor to good other than smash with hammer.


Tabby says on March 6th, 2012 at 11:33 am

I had aortic valve replacement Jab 5 2012, so far I have had a good but slow recovery, But for the past 1 1/2 I have been having weird sensations in my chest, not really a hurt, but more like an electrical shock, and it runs down into my right hand. It does not do it all the time, it seems the more I do, the worst it gets and the longer it last. Can anyone explain this?


Debra Ogilby says on March 6th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Tabby, I get the same sensations in my right leg. Nerve damage causes the electric shock type sensations. They can be very painful. My Dr. has to me to learn to live with it.


Patricia De Leon says on March 15th, 2012 at 11:04 am

I just ran into this while searching the net for answers to a similar problem, ever since my heart surgery last year, the right side of my face, jaw, eye, arm and leg feel a little funny, it does not hurt it’s more like an almost numb feeling so I’ve attribute it to my surgery but it’s been almost a year and it’s still there, I am making an appointment with my neuorologist to find out more. Hopefully it’s just the trauma of having had heart surgery and it will go away but you never know, sorry if this didn’t help, it helped me to read that someone else had a similar issue do. :) cheers!


Jay says on March 16th, 2012 at 11:17 am

I had a quad bypass and have had leg issues since the surgery (About a year now) I was told that they had difficulty finding proper veins and had to dig around more then usual. Numbness in both legs below and above the knee on one side. What worked for me is using thigh high medium compression stockings (hose)

I had some intermittent issues with the left shoulder and hand. I thought this was (at first) from me trying to pull out my airway when I was coming out of sedation. *The restraints muscle strain or? Quite a few months after surgery I have regular bouts of numbness in my left hand (Thumb, middle and pointer finger) My GP has me working my neck around pushing my forehead with a hand and holding a shrug for as long as I can. It seems to turn the problem off when it happens.

I was told the leg issues would resolve (or not) in the first 6 months to year. And that after that I was probably stuck with whatever I’ve got. Its a year and its not as bad but I can’t do a day on my feet (work) without wearing compression.

The compression was suggested by a nurse who lives in our neighborhood (and prescribed by my GP) The heart surgery folks used to do this regularly and don’t do this now. The nurse I spoke to said she was puzzeled why this wasn’t being done anymore. So I hope more hospitals send patients home with compression to help nerve damaged legs. Or as in my case the follow up with the GP asks about this and resolves it in a similar manner.

In specific the stuff that works best for me are Jobst 20-30mmHg and for whatever this is worth the light weight ultra sheer don’t slide down or (worse) bunch up behind the knees as I experienced with the two other brands of tights I tried.


brian massocco says on March 16th, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Feb 9 2012 had aneurysm in my aorta removed and grafted and a aortic valve replacement. Had some issues during surgery so my 3 – 5 hour surgery turned into a 13 hour surgery with 2 extra surgeons. Anyway, from the time I woke my pinky and ring finger on my left hand was numb and hurting. Doc said Ulnar nerve sometimes gets pinched from the chest being opened. I don’t think it is in my back. My left elbow was black and blue and swollen even a week after surgery. Now, 6 weeks later, my left hand is driving me nuts. Constant pain. Sometimes tolerable and other times not. I was told it could take 3 or more months to go away. I really hope not because I am ready to cut the arm off. Family doc put me on Lyrica one week ago but so far no luck. If it wasn’t for my hand hurting, everything else would be fine… go figure!!


alwyn almeida says on April 2nd, 2012 at 5:08 am

cramps in my fingers after cabg cannot play the guitaras before doc says it will be normal but i doubt there has bee no progres whatsoever i also fel a lot tired after a short walk avd ny calves pain a lot i have to rest for about 10 minutes before i start off again i am not happy at all after surgery i feel cheated after that huge expense please help


Michelle says on April 4th, 2012 at 3:13 am

Hi Guys,

my mom had a triple bypass a few weeks back. Before the op they put her on the balloon, thus cutting blood circulation in her right leg. Maybe you guys can help me, her nerves are obviously now coming alive as her leg jumps and wiggles on its own, how long does it take for the nerves in her leg (this is the leg cut for veins) to heal… how long till the pain goes away? Her foot is ice cold and has no feeling. It has been numb since the op… how long till she gets feeling back in that foot? the doctor says she wont lose the foot as there is a pulse in it, but it is very week… What do we do to increase the circulation in her foot and help the recovery process?
I await ANYONES soonest response.


Bob says on April 8th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

My bicuspid aortic valve was replaced mid December (2011). The surgery was botched and had to be re-done 4 weeks later, but I remember having fairly severe pain in my left arm at times. The pain would slowly subside and disappear within about 10 minutes. I had very little pain from the sternum after both surgeries. After the second surgery I was still experiencing intermittent pain in my left arm, but found it usually occurred when I first started exercising, especially when walking. This pain still occurs 12 weeks later but is much less, sometimes barely noticeable. I also started having a ‘pins & needles’ sensation in my right arm when sitting or lying down. This symptom is directly related to positioning: if I lay flat or lean toward the left, the sensation can be fairly acute, If I shift my weight to the right, the sensation disappears completely. This symptom has not changed significantly since immediately after the second surgery. I have not taken any ibuprofen or any other pain meds on any regular basis.


Sandu says on April 18th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I had aortic root & valve replacement surgery on 1/4/2010, after being born with this condition! The surgery didn’t go well & the DR placed me in a drug induced comma for another 2 days in the CVICU to determine where I was still bleeding! Once they found the bleed & brought me back I was at the hospital for 2 more days before they released me! Since then I have had increasing nerve pain in my feet, which has deminished my quality of life! Please reply as to what may have caused this & what I can do! Some days I can barely walk & I am only 51 years old, raising my little sisters children after her sudden death in 2004!
Thx so much for your blog & time!


Debbie says on April 23rd, 2012 at 5:56 pm

My name is Debbie & I too had open heart surgery 5 weeks ago and have nerve damage in my right hand. I have no feeling in my right thumb, index finger, and middle finger. It feels like its getting worse. I too have been thinking about going to a neurologist. I am getting very nervous about my recovery. I am a CMA and I work at a doctors office, and I will be unable to work without my right hand. Please help me… Will my hand ever recover? It’s already been 5 weeksand I’ve had therapist coming to my house twice a week, and I still don’t see any improvement. What should I do?
Thank you….


Shawn says on May 1st, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I also had aortal replacement in 2009, I had a aneurysm associated with it and it was sleeved rather than having a bypass. I woke up with my entire right arm numb, I was kept in a medically induced coma for three days. The surgery was extensive and time consuming and I spent over 8 hours in surgery which is at the very limit of what they can do with a heart lung machine.

2012 and I still occasionally get numbness in my fingertips, they put the main IV lines in through a incision in my right side below my right shoulder. I have nerve damage in my right shoulder and it causes some of the issues with my right hand. A year of rehab helped but it will still spring up occasionally.

Basically I am glad I am alive, if they had not found the issue with my heart when I came in for my annual check up I would not be here typing today. During these types of surgeries especially since they had a little surprise when they opened me up, they expected some issue with the aorta from the heart Cath, however it was greater than expected and required some quick work by the surgery crew who did very well by me. Baylor College of Medicine and I recommend that group, they saved my life.


Jack says on May 14th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I posted a year ago regarding chest neuropathy after quad-bypass surgery. I still suffer sixteen months after surgery. I have seen hundreds of posts since of folks with similar issues in arms, feet, chest, etc. Where are the doctors with answers for us? Why don’t they post on this site? I have tried therapy, patches, Lyrica, etc and guess what folks…there isn’t an answer! I’m sorry to disappoint you all, but medicine has no answer but to wait and see. Jesus helps me to endure, but medicine has failed us. Sorry all!


Debra Ogilby says on May 14th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I had a friend tell me to try a drug called Neurontin (gabapentin) I have a Dr appt on May 18th and Im going to ask my Dr. My friend said it has helped her nerve pain tremendously. Ill let you guys know.


Patricia De Leon says on May 14th, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I can say that after 14 months post op, the numbness on my inner thigh on the side were they put the groing iv, it’s gone, it’s finnaly back to normal!

I pray for healing for those of you that are still going through it, in Jesus name,



James says on May 19th, 2012 at 3:24 am

This might be a double post so if this is (Forgive me) I’m replying to a couple of threads on the same topic. Yes, I had nerve damage (legs) from the vein grafting. Numbness in both legs (the calf on one side and the shin on the other. I also have a lot of trouble with leg pain *I stand up all day at work. I was told that the vein harvesting for my 4x bypass was difficult and my wife was told (Before I even woke up) about leg issues. I was told to see how it went but… It didn’t go well and a Nurse suggested I talk to the doctor about compression stockings. I went to a place that fits patients (Gets you into the right size) They also let you try them on and showed you the tricks to doing that. Its been over a year and while the problem is not exactly the same its still a problem. I’m still wearing compression (hose) cooler and go up above the knee which I need (On one side) Talk to your doctor about a prescription and then go to see a fitter. I’ve tried 3 different brands and I like the Jobst the best.


Melissa F. says on July 31st, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I have been reading many of these postings, I had my bypass surgery about 6 weeks ago and now have many of the symptoms that others discribe here. I have many of the same pains and am going to see a nero specalist soon. I am 41 years young and am hoping for some of my normal life back. I have days when I wonder if that is ever going to happen. I am alread tired of beign sick and tired, and only see more of the same for now. How long will it take for things to get better. My whloe right side just feels dead, and I get stabbing and cutting pains from my right foot up to my face on the right side.
I can not walk normal. I was told I had a stroke during my surgery, but now the doc says it could be nerve damamge. I cry almost everyday about something and I feel my family is about feed up with me. I wish I could have a better outlook about just being alive like most of you on here. I feel alone and lost most of the time. I at least know there are others out there going thru some of the same pain that I am. I hope and pray


James says on August 3rd, 2012 at 10:55 pm

During my surgery I was told (later of course) that the surgeons had a difficult time finding veins that were suitable for my bypass. I was on the table for 5 hours+ I woke up with more leg pain then anything else. I also felt numbness in both legs in different areas. They told me that it would either clear up in 6 months or not. In my case it was not (I’m a year and 1/2 out) I used meds at first. It was suggested I talk to my GP about Compression stockings. I got measured for some medical weight stuff and have been wearing it 7 days a week since then. What a huge relief that has been. It makes a huge difference. Like no pain with them on to chronic throbbing (Plus the numb areas feel – weird)

If you a guy? Try it anyway. It might be the answer. It was for me.


Bob says on August 6th, 2012 at 1:50 pm


I had open heart valve replacement surgery last December that was botched, then the surgery was repeated in January. The first surgery was supposed to be minimally invasive and as part of that the bypass tubes were attached through my right groin rather than through my chest. I noted immediately after the surgery that my right leg had a numb area from the groin to just above my knee. Luckily this does not affect any part of my ability to walk or do just about anything. This area is still numb today but I only notice it if the area is touched. Recently I have been getting a slight pain from the area occasionally which I believe is the nerves starting to work again. Only time will tell.

The good news is that your body takes time to heal from major surgery and your fitness level and stamina are low for several months following surgery. I returned to tennis about 9 weeks following the second surgery and could only hit 3 – 4 shots before feeling very drained. I was worried that was all the energy I would ever have. I am now nearly all the way back to the fitness level I had prior to surgery. I highly recommend cardiac physical therapy which I did starting 2 weeks following the second surgery and continued for 8 weeks thereafter. I feel that it provided a fast track to recovery.

Hope you start to feel better soon. Don’t be depressed, return to your former lifestyle as much as possible and as quickly as possible within reason. Work hard on the recovery process, walk every day, twice a day. Exercise within reason. Go out and enjoy life as much as possible. The discomforts won’t seem so important anymore.


Chrissy says on August 6th, 2012 at 10:09 pm

My mitral valve was repaired via an anuloplasty and mini sternotimy on Friday June 8th. Since then I have a large numb area from my inner right knee up to the incision of my inner thigh /groin. The oddest thing is that I experience pain searing at times in the numb area. It seems strange that I can feel anything when it’s so numb. Supposedly it should go away but I think in some ways it’s worse. Any thoughts?


Debra says on August 6th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Chrissy, I have the same problem. I had an AVR on 11-15-10. Mine never got better, in fact its gotten worse. I now walk with a limp, and every step I take is painful, yet most of the inside of my right leg is numb. I saw a nuerologist, and he explained it as hyper sensitive. Its numb, and when the nerves were cut, they try to repair themselves, and usually end up short circuiting themselves. I now have to have a handicap sign in my car, and really no hope of getting better. Ive seen many Dr’s and they all have given me no hope. I an thinking of trying acupunture. Ive heard it can help.


James says on August 7th, 2012 at 10:20 am

Debra, I don\’t know if this will be of value but it helped me a lot. I urge you to ask your doctor about medical weight compression stockings (Or if the pain goes above your knees compression panty hose) If your doctor oks it be sure you get professionally fit (Measured) Your insurance will probably pay for a couple pairs. I\’ve had the nerve numbness / pain more then a year after my heart surgery and I work standing up all day. Without compression its miserable – throbbing/pain. With it? I have no problem making it through an 8 hour day on my feet.

BTW a Nurse friend suggested this (One of her kids has had heart surgery) When I asked my Surgeon the Nurse said that it was perfectly ok (As long as I was fitted) and admitted they always used to send patients home with compression stockings.

Does anyone know why they don\’t do this now? Is it simply cost?


Travis says on August 7th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I had minimally invaisive Mitral repair 14 months ago. I can say that i had nerve issues in my chest for at least a year. Sometimes there would cycles of extreem chest/ shoulder/ back pain. I haven’t had those pains since 9 months after surgery but I’m still not right. I think nerves VERY slowly will heal, but I think there is nothing a doctor or medicine can do.


Elizabeth says on August 8th, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I am 9 weeks out from mitral valve repair and annuloplasty. That seems to be ok. The problem I am having is severe pain that is in my shoulders, neck and across the top of my upper chest. My lungs are clear. This pain is like a knife cutting through me every time I breathe in. (inhalation). I have to sleep sitting straight up in bed. Though I am 59, and did not shed any tears from the pain of surgery, this pain is like nothing I have ever experienced. My PCP doctor says it is nerve pain from the surgery. When I was awakened in the ICU, they removed the respirator and since then, in the middle of the back of my skull I hear a loud “snap.” The “snap” does not hurt, but then I have this severe migrating pain: shoulders, neck, partially down my arms. It moves from left to right, but is mostly in the left. I am to return to work in 4 days…this will be impossible at this point. The doctor thinks with the being inutbated, the trans esophageal echo, etc, that something in my neck is awry. But what is the next step? Anyone else with this problem?


Melissa says on August 19th, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Thank you Bob for your kind words, It has been another month now with no change. I am feeling a little better, I am trying to be happy with all the things I can do and not think so hard about everything that I cant do all the time. Im not crying as much now as I was, but it is still hard. Thank you everyone, and I hope the best for us all.


don says on August 20th, 2012 at 5:15 am

I had a quad bypass in Dec 2009 that caused nerve damage. It hs never healed; I just live with it.


Melissa says on August 29th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I was wondering how many have tried homeopathic treatments, and if they had any help with those?


donna says on September 8th, 2012 at 1:41 am

I had 4 way by pass heart surgery 9 weeks ago. Both thighs are painful with neuropathy. Numb but very painful at the same time. Feels like tight bands around each one from knee to hip. The feeling is changing, and I pray healing. I am In cardiac rehab. Doctors always mention diabetis , which i have, but is very much under control. This happened when I woke from the surgery (which saved my life)
I am taking Gabapentin 3 times a day.
Good luck to you!


Melissa says on September 10th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Hi everyone, I have had no change. I still get pretty discouraged. The bright side is we are alive to complain about it. Donna not sure what Gabapentin does, but i will look in to it. It does help to hear how others are dealing with the same issues. Thanks everyone and happy healing to us all.


Terri says on September 15th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

In July I underwent a heart ablation procedure. Numbness in my left leg began 5 days after the procedure. It was found that a psuedo anuerysm formed in the left groin which required trombin injection to repair. Nine weeks has passed, and I still have little to no feeling in the left leg from the knee down. I now have drop foot, and have to use a walker to get around. I have seen several doctors, and each gives me a different “guess” as to what is going on. Basically, no one knows if this will improve or not. While the strength is coming back some, the numbness and loss of feeling is getting worse. One dr told me that young nerves heal better and quicker, but by my age (60), it is less likely that the nerves will repair themselves. The numbness and pain in that leg has drastically changed my life. I can’t trust that leg (I’ve fallen 4 times since the surgery), I go to Physical Therapy twice a week, we’ve had to install railings in the house, I can no longer sleep in my own bed (I fell out of bed because my leg didn’t feel the edge of the bed), can’t get down the stairs to do laundry… the changes just go on and on.


Carolyn says on September 24th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

May surgery was 4 months ago. The heart-lung machine was connected through my groin area and my right leg is still numb from that area all the way down my thigh to an area below my knee. It also hurts to walk on that leg. My surgeon told me it can take up to a year for the nerves to reconnect and sometimes they don’t.


Scott McFall says on October 16th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I have had various nerve issues since an aortic root replacement about 4 years ago. Non that have been that rough, but I have experienced numb hand parts or feet, issues with weakness in the legs, and pectoral muscle pain on one side. I just feel that I am excited to be alive and feeling relatively well.



don goffe says on October 30th, 2012 at 8:52 am

I had a Mitral valve repair done in June ( now Nov.). It took 3 months for the numbness and pain in the back of my left to go away and now about 5 months later the pain in the back of my right hand has finally started to get much better. It is still a little numb but no real pain.
I do not take aspirin or isobufferen so I’ll say it is nerve damage that is slowly repairing itself. Hope this helps.


Paul Hanson says on October 31st, 2012 at 1:59 pm


I had OHS for congenital defect in aortic valve. 2 leaflets partially fused and then a cordae broke causing a leak. St. Judes 27 mm mechanical installed. Noticed numbness right away, like the day of surgery. Effects both pinky and ring finger both hands and even the lower forearm and hand edge leading up from pinky. Both sides identical. Was told it would go away. My 1 year anniversary was 2 days ago and it’s still there and the problem has only diminished slightly.

The only time it really bugs me is when I have to handle small screws at work (or working on my cars) and maybe one or 2 other tasks. I haven’t quite resigned myself to living with it permanently yet but I’m beginning to think I may have to. I haven’t tried any supplements yet (B12 comes to mind). I’m a firm believer in the saying “you are what you eat” and that if you don’t give your body the correct building blocks to repair itself, it can’t get the job done. I will be picking up some vitamin B12 today. I was told that this nerve runs near or between the collarbone and upper rib and that when the ribs are lifted for access to heart, it pinches that nerve.



Cristina says on October 31st, 2012 at 6:21 pm

My father had heart surgery about a month 1/2 ago and ever since his foot and leg pain has not gone away….He has seen 5 different doctors and they all say its normal. That his pain can go from weeks to a whole year…
Please I need help…..



Kay Blanks says on November 10th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I had a triple bypass and aorta valve replacement, May, 13, 2012 at Baylor/Dallas. My left leg was used for venins needed in my heart. The incisions were made in the inside bend of my leg and the next is about 2 inches above that one on the inside of the same leg and the third is appx 1 1/2 above the second one.

My problem that is bothering me is the feeling behind my knee that seems to be feeling stiff, like cranky feeling when I want to extend my leg especially after sitting for a while at my computer desk or any straight chair where I have to hand my legs down and have found my habit it to sort of tuck my legs back under the chair at times. (that seems to make it tighter and more comfortable on this left leg. I wonder if my nerves are possibly coming back to life, my left calf, (I have a large muscular calf which is still numbish feeling on the inside of the left leg, same feeling is in my left breast more so on the inside fullness of the breast. My right breast does not feel that way. I am a buxom woman and have constantly 24/7 worn a sports bra to support the weight and not pull on the scar, via my surgeons advice. Is this a normal feeling in my stiffness, aching in my damaged leg?

Thanks for you help,
K Bkanks


Melissa says on November 19th, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Hello again, there is still no change for me. I am hopeful my nerves will find themselves again. I see many of us are still dealling with this issue. My prayers and best wishes to all.


Marianne D. says on November 26th, 2012 at 11:41 am

Hi Sean,

Its been 4 weeks for me and I am experiencing inflammation in my wrist & fingers on both sides. When heart surgery is done, your chest really wide; which is why you experience shoulder pain, neck pain, arms & wrist pain, and sometimes pain in your fingers, and also, they have to stop your heart sometimes; which can cause your body to do all sorts of things when recovering. Funny thing is: I did not start getting these pains until I started taking Ibprofen which I wonder if that had anything to do with it. This is my 2nd aortic valve replacement


jazmin bowen says on December 3rd, 2012 at 8:48 pm

hi my name is jazmin aug,8th 2011 i had my daughter and unfortunetly she was born with corac of the arota and cystic hygroma to make a long story short shes had three heart surgeys all before she was a month and a half old and after the second surgery when she came out her face was half red and when i asked why they said it was the medication so ithought nothing of it but now she is a year and 4months old and her heart is looking good now but we recently went back to loma linda on nov,21 2012 to see her neck doctor and she asked why her face was half red and why does she sweat alot and also her eye is a little lazy because of it and i told the dr that they said it was the anisthesia and she told me no that it was nerve damage and ive been told something different for a whole year and im not quite sure what to do becuase now my daughter has to live like this and she still has a bad swaeting problem her face is still half red and her eye is a little lazy any advice?


mary says on December 17th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

My boyfriend had open heart surgery (double bypass) nine yrs ago. Now he has a heart valve/muscle that is very weak and not pumping the blood to his heart from having heart surgery. Is it too late for a lawsuit against the hospital who did the surgery.


Jeff pheffer says on December 19th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Hey Sean. Basically if there is some type of compression only time will tell if it gets better. You can’t treat it with surgery or medicine. But Accupuncture may stimulate your body to regenerate the tissue. Also gentle stretching , massage or youa may break up some of the scar tissue to promote healing. I did all of those. I didn’t have your symptoms but I am 16 months post your surgery and feeling great. Take care


Debbie says on December 19th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I had open heart surgery, valve replacement, and the whole arch replaced in March 2012. I woke up with my right hand numb. My right forearm, index finger, middle finger, and thumb completely numb. It has been almost 10 months and they still are numb. I can’t feel items in my purse, can’t feel if I’m holding things with those fingers, and can’t bend the index finger or thumb. I did physical therapy for 2 months and that didn’t help at all. I just want everything to go back to normal!! I have atrophy in my thumb and forearm. It looks totally skinny and abnormal! I asked my doctors about it and no one wants to answer my questions why this happen. They just keep telling that its not their fault! I am getting so frustrated & no one will help me. I am a nurse and can no longer draw blood or even give injections. My employer laid me off 2 months ago & no one will hire me at all!!!!! Now what?


James says on December 20th, 2012 at 12:55 am

Compression stockings / pantyhose etc helped me. I’ve heard that you should know how its going to be (long term) at 6 months or a year *Depending on the two people that advised me. I work on my feet all day and the problem is still there. They help make the day for me. Without them its throbbing and no fun at all. Good luck everyone!


Beccy F says on January 30th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I had a triple heart bypass July 27 so about 6 months have passed. I have numbness in both arms and hands almost every night–sometimes I wake up in a panic pounding on my arm to get blood circulating. Sometimes I am afraid to go to sleep it is so bad. Other times it is not that bad and tolerable and I can sleep.

I have an appointment March 6–hope I can wait that long to see what is going on. If you have any suggestions or comments, please write me.


Bob says on February 2nd, 2013 at 10:26 am

I had the same surgery (AVR) on 12/16/11 and again on 1/13/12 because the first surgeon using minimally invasive technique incorrectly fitted me with a 19mm valve and the stitching came loose causing leakage around the valve. The second surgeon successfully replaced the valve with a 25 mm Edwards tissue valve. I guess having to go through the same surgery over a 4 week period kind of makes me an expert as a patient.

Anyway, within days following the first surgery I noticed that I had occasional non-specific pain all down my left arm. This seemed to act up as soon as I did any physical movements and last for about ten to fifteen minutes. The pain level at that time was about 7 as I remember. About two weeks following the second surgery I began cardio physical therapy which I highly recommend. It really jump-started my recovery, and 8 weeks later I returned to playing doubles tennis three time a week. Nearly every time I would start an exercise routine including playing tennis, the pain would appear and last for about ten minutes, but over time (it is now a little over one year later) It rarely occurs, and when it does, is barely noticeable if at all.

Shortly after the second surgery I noticed that my right arm, especially closest to my hand would become numb and tingly at times but not necessarilly painful. I found by experimentation that reclining and lying down with any pressure to my left shoulder would cause the numbness in my right arm. Simply by shifting my weight to my right side allieviated the numbness. This symptom over time has also greatly improved on its own to where it may only occur once a month or so and is very mild when it does.

I have read other comments and note that other people are not as lucky as I have been and many have ongoing pain and numbness. It doesn’t seem that doctors are much help. My belief is that by engaging in physical activity, whether it be sport, exercise routine, or physical therapy, is the best way to get your body back to a healthy state after this type of traumatic surgery.


Carolyn says on February 2nd, 2013 at 5:19 pm

My surgery was tricuspid valve replacement in May, 2012. The heart/lung machine was connected through my right groin or, actually, at the top of my right leg where it joins my body. Two days after surgery, when I was moved to the cardiac stepdown unit, I noticed that my right leg was numb. I spoke to the surgeon about it and he said it might the feeling might return in 6 weeks, 6 months, possibly a year, and…sometimes – never. Not real encouraging news. The numbness is still there and it’s been 8 months. My foot and right side of my leg have feeling, but the left side all the way down to my ankle is still numb. I have learned to live with it, but I’m thinking this may be as good as it gets.

I have been having pretty serious pain in my left shoulder and was diagnosed this week with a “frozen shoulder.” The orthopedic doctor I saw for this condition commented that it’s not all that unusual to see that occur in patients who have had heart surgery. I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced this.


Laura West says on February 14th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I had a minimally invasive repair of my mitral valve on August 23,2012. Two days post op my right thigh went completely numb. It did improve with walking however I still had a small area of numbness on the inner aspect of my leg just above my knee. Now 6 months out, I’m experiencing some increase in numbness from walking and if I am on my legs too much. Is it normal for this to get worse? Will it ever go away? I do experience a lot of pin stick feelings,mostly in the evening. This is really annoying.


Anthony Huskey says on February 20th, 2013 at 6:40 pm

my right thumb,index finger, forearm right chest at armpit, and 4 months out i’m just now able to curl 10lbs with right arm- my second time-18yrs after first time – a dissection of ascending aorta….seasoned veteran here


Anthony Huskey says on February 20th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

get well………..heal up


mickey says on March 18th, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Well I’ve read most all coments about the numbness here and still I don’t understand. I had heart surgery Jan. 24 2013 was going to do a quad but did only three, plus a corodit right side neck. After a 11.50 hr surgery I made it out. They used the heart and lung machine on me also. Here is my delima. My complete right side has an unbarable numness to it and feels like at tmes cold water is running on it in places. I didn’t have this before surgery. The three fingers middle to little on right side also numb. The heart Dr. says this is normal and shall return to normal about six months. The corodit surgery Dr. says I knew the risk going in which was also unbearable to hear when I went in I could run walk lift and this has really upset me to know end and I’m scared don’t mine telling you. Now remember they took the vain from my left leg for repairs, from ankle to groen and its doing ok and healing. Oh, I also had my left lung to calaps parcially and they say it sould open up, I’m breathing on a pryometer to help but if its working I can’t tell. The Vetrans Hospital did the surgerys but the Drs. where supposed to be first class. I know it hasn’t been even 3 months yet but my right leg,and back around my right kidney side and down my leg just feels so numb it hard to walk and even lift it. I’m in cardiac rehab and hav taken up water excercise in a pool in which I hope it helps. If any of you have any advise please let me know. Thanks…


Debra says on March 19th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Mickey, good luck with feeling better after 6 months, Im 2 1/2 years out, and the numbness has never gone away, plus the nerve pain has gotten much worse. Dr. has given me a Handicap placard because its hard to walk long distances. If im out and about for one afternoon, I have to spend the next day on my back, so much pain. I hope and pray yours gets better.


mickey says on March 19th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Debra Im sorry that yours hasn’t healed maybe we need to pray for each other. I still have some time in recouperating and I’ll just keep on exercising as much as I can and hope for the best and the same for you. Thanks again for answering so quickly. Goood luck…l


john says on May 14th, 2013 at 11:03 am

after bypass surgery the left side of my chest was numb and hypersensitive at the same time as you described . after one year it was no better, my heart doctor said take Tylenol and finally a pain management dr told me it was a trapped nerve and has offered a treatment.


mickey says on May 15th, 2013 at 12:03 am

Well its going on 4 months after heart surgery and the numness is still in my right side and in my foot at the big toe makeing it hard to walk and with tremendous pain at times. I don’t know what to do, this has terribly got me upset not knowing if it will ever get any better. Been going to therapy almost all the time since surgery and swimming exercise, actually it hurts bad when on the tread mill but I force myself to finish. I have also had shoulder pain unbearable like the ball or something not working right and the other shoulder hurts also but not near as bad. The left side of the chest has that sensitive feel also and you can barely touch it because of the sensitivity. I don’t like taking pain medication but sometimes I can’t handle the pain and take em. I pray each day that the numness and hurting will go away. Wish I had the money to go to a doctor that could actually tell me whats wrong if it’s a cure. Wishing you all good luck, let me know if anyone has new info. God bless all!


Pnutt says on June 25th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I had two by-passes and a valve repair over two months ago. My two outside fingers on my left hand are numb and no feeling. The surgeon told me not to worry but the numbness hasn’t improved at all. Can I expect these fingers to return to normal. If I go to a neurologist later, can he fix the problem.


Don says on June 25th, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Don’t waste money on neurologists. You have residual peripheral neuropathy; it may heal, it may not.

I had a coronary artery by-pass x 4 in 2008 and still have nerve pain to the left of my sternum. I just live with it ; indeed, I forget it most of the time.

All neurologists will do is to confirm neuropathy exists, but they can’t cure it. They’ll just give you analgaesics and a large invoice.


Mickey says on June 29th, 2013 at 1:10 am

Well it’s going on 5 months now (Jan. 24 2013) is the date I had bypass surgery. I still have the numbness in my right leg and back. I’ve only been back a couple of times and would you believe I havn’t seen the Dr. that operated on me since the surgery he did, I just can’t believe that but I guess I can because it’s the VA Hospital, But I can’t say to much I’m above ground. Well my clinic Dr. had me do back x rays and one of the Dr, at the VA says its my siatic nerve thats causeing the right leg numness. He explained that the gell in the spine is gone from the disc and causing the nerve damage and now I have to do and MRI to fine out more (seheduled next week) he also states that a nuero will have to fix it and I should feel a lot better. Just don’t know if I can take another sugery this soon after my heart surgery. The thing that bothers me is that I didn’t have anything wrong with my back before I had my heart surgery. I just don’t understand this. The Dr. did say that the musles in my leg would deterate if I didn’t do something. I actual can tell that my leg seems to be getting weaker and hurts to walk a lot now. If anyone out there has any answers please let me know. Thanks.


Jerry Wennstrom says on July 18th, 2013 at 11:53 am

I had quintuple artery bypass surgery 4 weeks ago. Both hands are numb and tingling, as though asleep, except for the pinkie fingers. I see no improvement yet.


Jo says on August 23rd, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I have had two valves replaced. The mitral in 1999, then my aorta valve in 2009. Believe it or not, I had never been sick a day in my life, even though I knew I had a heart problem! My mitral surgery went well, recouped in a normal amount of time. I then had my aorta valve done, took a little longer to feel better in the beginning, but I than began to lead a pretty normal life. Then out of the blue about 2 yrs. ago, I started to have this unbearable pain first in the breastbone, then seemed to circle around my whole chest area & back! I have gone to many different Drs. to find the cause, but I think I have come to the conclusion that it is nerve damage. It seems I have not been able to live a normal life since this has been going on ! I was before all this a very active and energetic person for my age of (73), which no one can believe! I am now going to try to find a good neurologist, and hope he/she can bring me back to my normal self again!


michelle says on October 7th, 2013 at 9:23 am

I had a triple bypass 7 yrs. ago.I am 56 yrs. old.I was diagnosed by doctors at Cleveland Clinic with permanent nerve damage.After bypass sugery,about 8-10 months after,I was still having pain,and any movement using my arms would cause me pain.My surgeon could not give me any answers why.Well,here I am 7 yrs. later,still unable to do simple, everyday things.No doctors could give me an answer why,because nerve damage didn’t show up on any tests.I would love to hear from people that had a similar experience.It is troublesome for me,because anyone that hasn’t had similar experiences,has no idea what I am feeling.Thank you,Michelle


John Tolman says on October 8th, 2013 at 12:49 am

My first contribution to this blog was on February 10th, 2010; 50 days following by pass surgery. Some feeling has returned to my left hand ring finger and pinky, possibly a 15% improvement at best. Recently, I have noticed increased tingling in the affected area of my hand. The shooting pains and hyper-sensitivity have all but disappeared. Small muscle movements in my left hand have improved significantly e.g., twisting a lamp switch between my thumb and index finger was a real challenge in 2010 but is much easier today; not normal but much better. I have lost muscle mass in my left hand, it is very noticeable in the “web” area between my thumb and index finger. I would describe it as hollowed out in comparison to my right hand. I can still grip well enough to easily pull the clutch on the Harley… I agree that all the Neuro Docs will do is send you a fat bill, and agree that the nerves may or may not improve on their own. None of them can really do anything to stimulate the nerve re-growth. I also have loss of feeling in my left leg (shin) and in my chest (left side), neither is nearly as bothersome as my left hand though and both have seen some improvement. Hope this helps, best wishes to all!


John Tolman says on October 8th, 2013 at 12:52 am

0oops. Feb 10, 2011…. JT


Jeff says on October 12th, 2013 at 1:57 am

I had aortic valve replacement 6/2010. As of this date 10/12/2013, my left foot is still completely numb. The doctor says it will improve. After more than three years, I don’t think so. They try and blame it on type 2 diabeties. Why would my foot be fine before surgery and completely numb after surgery. Diabeties my ass.


raona odubena says on October 19th, 2013 at 2:25 am

three months ago I had open heart surgery due to removal of a tumor in my left chamber. now my right breast is ever so painful to touch.


raona odubena says on October 19th, 2013 at 2:27 am

my right breast is sore to touch after open heart surgery removing a tumor of my left chamber


raona odubena says on October 19th, 2013 at 2:29 am

sorry my name is speled incorectly Ramona


Carolyn Langston says on October 26th, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Sean, I had tricuspid valve replacement in May, 2012. Within 2 days I noticed that my right left felt like it was “asleep.” I was told that possibly there was some nerve damage due to the insertion of the heart/lung machine into my right groin. The surgeon’s comment was, “The feeling may come back in a few weeks or a few months or it may not come back at all.” So, 18 months later, I do have feeling in some parts of my leg and am able to function and walk on it, but when I touch the skin, I don’t feel anything. I’ve pretty much gotten used to it and have accepted the fact that “it is what it is.” Good luck with your situation.


Bob R says on October 30th, 2013 at 4:48 pm


After a botched valve replacement and a subsequent successful replacement 4 weeks later, I had several areas of my body that had either numbness, tingling, or occasional pain. Similar to your description but probably not as severe and not continual. The first surgery was 12/2011 and the second surgery was 1/2012. Most of these issues gradually improved over time, although after nearly two years I still have some minor reminders (very mild symptoms) that only last a few minutes and only occur a few times a week. Hope this helps.


John Robino says on November 10th, 2013 at 8:00 am

I’m at 13 months after my surgery and only recently experienced a hand “going to sleep” symptom. It appears to be related to keyboard work all too often. I can use a mouse equally well either hand so I switch when one hand is too tingly – for want of a better term.

I’m also retaining water – something that I haven’t done in 8 or 9 months. Diuretics help a little but they have to be used sparingly because of potential kidney harm.

Also my bypass was quintuple – making for an 11 1/2 hour operation off the heart-lung pump. I believe that the reason that I swell with retained water is that I’m sitting down all too often and for periods of time that could be considered excessive. Finally, I’m 71
which could be a factor as well.



Michael Melton says on November 21st, 2013 at 2:25 pm

2 years after mitral valve repair(minimum invasive) I still have a tender right breast and am bothered by some pain in right chest area after working out.
Will this always be a problem.
I have also had ringing of ears and blurred vision from time to time.



D.J. Love says on November 29th, 2013 at 4:44 am

In 2000 I underwent quadruple bypass surgery at Emory University in Atlanta. When I awoke the entire left side of my body was semi-numb, which I can only describe as Novocain that is just beginning to wear off after leaving the dentist. Also, my entire left arm felt as if several hundred tight rubber bands had been placed evenly all over it. Additionally, my left bicep felt as if a golf ball had been implanted inside it. It is now 2013 and the left arm still hurts from time to time and has never recovered, while the rest of my body (left side) still exhibits the feelings of semi-numbness, but slightly improved. However this numbness neither affected my motor skills nor strength.
I doubt seriously that I will fully recover, but the pain in my left bicep sometimes brings me to tears.


jmrammy says on January 5th, 2014 at 11:13 pm

My father had cabgx3 on December 12th 2013 through the Caribbean Heartcare. He was hospitalised for 5 days with barely any pain or discomfort. About 2 days after he was discharged he started having severe blunt pain from his left upper back area down to his ring and pinky fingers. The pain continues to raise almost every night at 2am in the morning, and interfers with his sleep. He was given panadol then cataflam, which has not been strong enough to ease the pain. I did some reaseach and thought it might be ulnar nerve damage, based on the type of pain and where it was occurring. No one told us about this as a risk involved. He was promised pain management in which he is still awaiting his initial appointment date for follow up visit.

Can anyone advise me on reliable therapy or drug treatments and the expected healing duration period?


Guy says on January 11th, 2014 at 7:32 am

I am a 51yo male, was infected in August last year with sepsis, that put holes in my mitral valve. After the infection was cured (six weeks on antibiotic drip) I was discharged with a bag of pills, metropole (beta blocker), lasix etc. I got worse, 2nd opinion suggested severe mitral valve regurgitation and heart failure. I had a mitral valve repair which only lasted 3 weeks, so they opened me up again exactly six weeks after the first surgery, lost a lot of blood, bovine valve replacement installed. Now I have a numb left arm and pinky and ring finger numbness. My GP said it might go away, if not an operation to decompress the ulna nerve! The pain from the 2nd operation is in left shoulder post op 3.5 weeks, The first op was neck and in between shoulder blades. From experience, it takes six weeks minimum before you can get good night sleep ad paid goes away.


Melissa says on January 13th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Hi everyone, its been almost 18 months out of surgery now. I am not as sad and feeling no hope as I was, but the nerves on my right side have not healed. I still have numbness and hyper sensitivity from my face to my toes on the right side. I still have not been able to see a nerve doctor yet so I still don’t know what could be wrong. I keep hoping they will come back on there own. Best wishes to everyone, Happy Healing


Sharon Kettler says on January 14th, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Hi I am a 53 old female. I had a open heart surgery in May. They went throw the bottom of the left breast. I had grown a vein just above the blocked one. But I have trouble with a lot of numbness on the left side. I can’t sleep on left side yet,it hurts to touch but is numb .My upper thigh left side is numb to touch and hurts to walk or move to much.I am grateful to be alive, but not to be in so much discomfort. I can’t lift any thing up over 13lbs or it hurts my chest. So I had to quit my job. I vacuum and my left leg will start to really hurt. I am tired a lot ,which maybe from pain pills. I am not one to set around and this waiting around for the nerves to fuse together is getting to me,if they do. I pray that they do and for all out there with the same things going on.


gary harmon says on February 6th, 2014 at 2:57 am

It is 7 months since my surgery and though I was told it would get better, it has gotten worse. In my case, I was told that they couldn’t find the proper size valve for the replacement and I was in a very awkward position 5 hours longer than expected. ( 9 total). I cant even use the bathroom but have no help. Hope youre dr did better. Im at my wits end.


CORDELL REINER says on February 14th, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I too had a calcified Aorta valvue replacement with a Quad Bypass. It has been three months and as long as my legs and arms touch something ,they don’t shake, but as soon as they are free, I have a hard time controlling them. Hench, my writing is terrible and my legs shake when they are not touching something.

will this pass or do I need to see another Doctor??


Sonya Butler says on February 21st, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Hello Everyone
I am going on 3 years of pain in my upper left breast.. I am 65 and diabetic .. Looking for other females who have had this same issue… Been to several different doctors with no relief in regard to the pain … thinking about pain management clinic as my last resort.. Any suggestions or Doctors recommendation in the Dallas / Ft Worth area??


Debbie says on March 6th, 2014 at 6:34 am

I am 17 days post AVR, I was discharged only 4 days following my surgery and was told I had a good post operative recovery. I had been home about 5 days when I got a weird sensation like plans and needles in my left jaw, tounge and radiated up to my ear, I went very hot and must admit I panicked, it only lasted a few seconds then was gone, this has now happened 4 times and I am convinced that I am having TIA’s, I went to see my GP who felt my symptoms could be shock due to the surgery and I must allow my body time to heal, but each time it happens I feel that I am going to have a stroke! Has anyone else experienced anything similar?


Jay Craswell says on March 6th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

After can’t quad bypass I had numbness in parts of both legs and edema. My nurse friend suggested I ask doc any compression stockings. Really helps BTW. The surgeon said they really had to do some digging to harvest suitable veins. Anyway I believe they say if it doesn’t resolve in a year you will probably need to get used to it. My problems didn’t improve and its been three years. Just one additional if for wearing compression. It works great and you don’t have the issue of needing to run around to the bathroom all the time as with lasix.


Cordell Reiner says on March 10th, 2014 at 3:45 am

I was a fulltime caregiver for my wife 7 yrs who had diabetes and alzheimers and she died oct. 30 2013. 4 days later I passed out and found I had severe aortic stenoses . they did a catheriason and then replaced a calcified aorita valve, a 4 bypass surgery and installed a pacemaker.. during surgery the heating pad on the leg they used for bypass blistered my right leg from the ankle to the knee 3rd degree burns. I am 4 months post surgery. I have nerve pain in blistered leg, a little numbness however and I am having trouble with my balance I have a tendency to fall over some times however I am able to recover most times. I have severe pain in the back of both knees when I try to squat .and then fall over on the floor, and have to get on all fours to get up. Is this all nerve pain and will it go away? My doctor says I am lucky to be alive Thank you all for listening.


Rodney Smith says on April 9th, 2014 at 9:16 am

I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenoses in Jan 2012 and was operated on in April the same year for a calcified aortic valve, which was replaced by a tissue valve. Straight away after the operation I could write anything in my diary.My right hand and fingers were number and lacked any sensitivity. Now it April 2014 and the situation is still the same!! Being right handed this causes such frustration, not being able to carry out any tasks that require manual dexterity. I have bounced between cardiologists and neurologists without result. The current thinking is that something in my Braccia Plexis is damaged – perhaps permanently.

I was told in April 2012 that it will sort itself out in 6 months but thats not been my experience.


walt says on April 22nd, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I had an aordic dissection about 10 weeks ago that also included a blind bypass. I have the nerve damage that causes my right hand and fingers to tingle with the prickly sensation that often times makes my hand super sensitive. Both feet are also numb and tingly, thighs feel weak, and the left side of my torso tightens up as if I am wrapped in bubble wrap. I also have this sensation on my left thigh and knee. From reading the various post, I probably have a good year until I am fully recovered. But what matters is that we are alive and need to maintain a positive attitude as much as possible.


robert thurston says on May 3rd, 2014 at 3:49 am

I had aordic valve replacement and I too am experiencing numbness in the pinky and ring finger of my right hand. I was so happy to find this on my computor. I now have hope that it will be ok. Thank you for this information.


David Imler says on May 28th, 2014 at 12:11 am

My heart valve repair was done on 12/5/13. I still have tingling in my two small fingers on my Left hand and in my Left foot. I was also told that this condition goes away in a few months.
I have been trying all the strengthening therapy I can find squeezing things, stretching the ulnar nerve. My hand was so cold after surgery that I would wear a hospital glove on it. I have had some success my hand is not so cold and the strength is coming back. A very slow process. Any one know of any more exercises to speed this up? Thank you.


Walt says on May 29th, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Hi. I to have nerve damage after an aortic dissection repair on 27 Jan. It is now 29 May and I continue to have numbness and tingling in both of my feet/toes and right hand. The left side of my body is tight. The surgeon and doctors tell me it will take some time; though I am finding that I am becoming impatient. I try to take it one day at a time. I have not been back to work since the surgery. I sure hope this goes away soon…


Bob R says on May 29th, 2014 at 5:34 pm

My AVR surgery was in January of 2012. After surgery I often felt a coldness / pain from my shoulder to my fingers in my left arm. This sensation would last about 10 minutes when it occurred, and usually started during the first few minutes of beginning exercising, swimming, or playing tennis. I also had continuous mild numbness on the inside of my right thigh. Both of these conditions eased up over time, but even 2 1/2 years later are still somewhat noticeable. From what I have read on this site and others, nerve damage can take a long time to heal, and sometimes never goes away completely. But the discomfort you are feeling will most likely diminish over time. Try to be patient, and do as much as you can to keep busy. Taking your mind off of the pain is the best solution at this time. Avoid pain medications if at all possible, but if you need them, take only enough to diminish the pain.


kim dawkins says on June 9th, 2014 at 9:25 pm

I just had an adrenal gland mass removal on my left side near kidney… awoke to loss of feelings in my ring and pinkie finger on both sides … I have tingling sensation in hands… it’s horrible … I can;t grip… Hands were fine before surgery..this has been one week today June 9 th 2014 Please tell me this will go away … I want my hands back…


Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the answer to the math equation shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the equation.
Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam equation

Welcome to Adam Pick's
Heart Valve Surgery Blog

Adam Pick
Patient, Author & Website Founder
Watch Adam's story

Get Adam's Free Email Updates
Sent To Your Inbox First

Over 35,000 Patients
And Caregivers Have
Read This Book

Patient Recommended
Heart Valve Clinics

(Click a logo)

Northwestern Memorial
Cleveland Clinic
Florida Hospital
Mount Sinai
University of Michigan
Alta Bates