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“Did Your Heart Pound Like Crazy After Valve Surgery?” Asks Josh

Posted by Adam Pick on May 21st, 2009

Josh just asked me an important, post-operative question about elevated heartbeat sensations after heart valve surgery and aneurysm repair. I responded below but, if you are a former patient, maybe you can help Josh by leaving a comment as well? Here is what he writes:

Animation Of Pumping & Contracting Heart

“Adam: I do have one question about something that is bothering me.  I’ve tried to do some research on the web about this, but haven’t really found anything.  After surgery, all the medical personnel involved had said that I’d be more ‘aware’ of my heart beating after aortic valve replacement and aneurysm repair.  That is, due to the fact that since my pericardium would be cut for surgery, I’d lack the ‘insulation’ it provides. Boy were they right!  Sometimes I feel like my heart is pounding out of my chest. When I’m laying down on my sides or stomach in bed, I hear my heart beating through the pillow louder than ever.  And here’s the kicker – when I’m in a sitting position (driving, watching TV, at the computer, etc.) and I inhale deeply, it seems like I feel my heart literally banging against my upper chest/throat area. When I exhale, it seems to go back to normal; or the “new” normal anyway.  I was curious as to whether you or anyone else on the blog has felt a similar sensation. Thanks Josh!”

So you know, I had the exact same experience that Josh describes above. How about you? Did you experience a loud and pounding heartbeat after heart valve surgery? To leave a comment, please click here.

If you scroll down, you will find over 130 responses to this post.

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.


Kevin V says on May 21st, 2009 at 10:40 am

32 years after my heart valve surgery (when I was 7), I still have an acute awareness of my heart rhythm. I sense each misfiring contraction and each normal beat (when I’m still). I don’t often sleep on my left side because the beating seems more pronounced for me, so I’m a right-side sleeper.

When I was younger I did feel the sensation you mentioned – that of my heart beating high in my chest. Now that I’m older and heavier, I don’t encounter that feeling as much (perhaps I just became accustomed to it!). To help “hide” the feeling I am usually moving some body part to create a sensory distraction. It isn’t anything that most people would notice – sometimes I wiggle my toes or very gently shake my legs while sitting.

I’m not aware of my heartbeat most of the time, but when I want to I can focus on it and know what’s going on.

Here are benefits to feeling your heart beating:
1. You are alive!
2. You can take your own “pulse” without holding your wrist
3. You can sense when you need to slow down while exercising


Adam Pick says on May 21st, 2009 at 10:49 am

Great points Kevin!

Thanks for sharing!

Have you had the same valve for the past 32 years?

Keep on tickin!



Shelby Hudgens says on May 21st, 2009 at 11:13 am

For the first six or so weeks after my Ross surgery, I had to sleep in a near sitting position. If I lay down, the pounding would literally keep me awake. During this time I also noticed that my resting heart rate was noticeably higher than before. All these issues are now gone. Another weird sensation was how my heart beat before and after surgery. All my life I never had the sensation of two contractions per beat, just one pounding beat. This is difficult to describe, but after my surgery I now notice two distinct pulses per beat. Don’t really know why. What I do know is that I feel great and my echo’s look good. Wish you the best.



Geoff says on May 21st, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Yes! I had the same sensation! I was sitting around “recovering” and commented to everyone how I was “moving” while just sitting there. I might as well have been in a rocking chair! :-)……another thing that didnt happen till month 2 was about 2 weeks of fluttering heart rythm that would sometimes last the night…apparently this was normal too.


Shelby Hudgens says on May 21st, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Oh, yes — the dreaded preventricular contractions and atrial fibrillations. I started with the former and ended with the latter over a period of two weeks or so. Miserable. Mine were constant for two weeks, and then ended as quickly as they began. I should have mentioned these in my previous post.



Doug says on May 21st, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I did have the same sensations after my Ross. I was certainly more aware of my heartbeat…especially while resting or sleeping. I still have it somewhat today, but as Kevin says, it means that I’m still alive! :-)


Ross says on May 21st, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I had aortic repair last July and have experienced the same sensations that you describe. At first it kept me awake to the point that I went several weeks using my MP3 player ‘in-the-ear’ buds with music to drown out the sound/sensation for sleeping.

Thankfully, it seems to have gotten much better or perhaps I’m growing less sensitive to the experience, but it’s unquestionably not the same as pre-surgery. I talked to my surgeon about it and he was unfamiliar with the complaint but theorized that the Dacron tube graft, being less flexible than my native aorta, may transmit the heart beats more readily.

By the way, my resting pulse rate for the first month after surgery was about 20/min higher but now it is only about 5/min higher.


Leslie says on May 21st, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Adam, I am assuming both you and Josh were cleared for atrial fibrillation, which can cause the pounding sensation. Has Josh worn a holter monitor after his surgery to catch these episodes and perhaps shed further light on them? I did have a bit of atrial fib after my mitral valve repair but it converted quickly. I did not experience this pounding, but I did not have the same valve involved. It sounds as if it resolves with time, so I hope that will be the case with Josh.


Fred says on May 21st, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I’m still just 2 weeks out from my Mitral Valve repair surgery. I have experienced the same or similar sensations that Josh is describing. It is especially predominant at night and a couple of times kept me from sleeping. It seems to be subsiding somewhat (or I’m adjusting to it) at this point. But at first it had me worried.


Lloyd says on May 21st, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I to had similar problems. I could not lay flat at night, my heart was just pounding. My doctor adjusted my nighttime med and his nurse suggested I try sleeping on my side or use a body pillow. Tried sleeping on my side clutching the heart pillow I was given in the hospital. Have had no problems since and no more pillow.


Steve Falor says on May 21st, 2009 at 4:10 pm

I could not sleep for the first week after valve replacement… I suddenly had a very strong heart beat! My surgery was Feb 6 and I still have times when my heartbeat seems very loud. I have learned to think of something else and it disappears. Good luck.


Ross Parrott says on May 21st, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I had similar sensations after Mitral valve replacement although milder than you describe. I had Atrial Fibrillation and and it really bothered me.
My new Cardiologist put me on Sotolol for several weeks then performed Cardio-Version (colioquially – jumpstart).
It worked really well, the old ticker has settled down really well, a few minor sensations but reducing – nothing to worry about. The Sotolol reduced my BP to the extent that I no longer need Atacan (Hypertension medication).
Happy happy
Best of luck


Mike B. says on May 21st, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I had my aortic valve replaced with a mechanical valve and my ascending aorta replaced with gortex, my root rebuilt and a graft/bypass as well as a pacemaker implanted 4 moths ago. I have the EXACT sensation that you described. When I told my heart surgeon about it he said the EXACT same thing your Dr,’s and nurses told you “You will be more aware of your heart beating.”


Bill Harwell says on May 21st, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Absolutely. I had an aortic valve replacement and aortic graft in October, 2008. I couldn’t believe how strong my heartbeat felt. In fact, it still does to a degree, but not like in the weeks immediately following surgery. If I laid on my side the sound of the beating heart really reverberated if my ear was pressed against a pillow. I thought that surely my wife could hear it, but she said that she couldn’t.
I’m presuming that this is the result of a stronger, tighter, properly functioning heart and I’d gotten used to it not working at 100%.


Dale says on May 21st, 2009 at 7:24 pm

I have had my aortic valve replaced when I was 20, 38 years ago now. I do recall being more aware of the sounds after the surgery a definate click, but I was a lot thinner in those days. I may have weigher about 160 in those days. I am 6’1″ and now weigh about 210. I work out every day, rowing. As I have gotten larger the noise is less noticable and now I can barely hear it at all.

I will be getting it replaced (same valve for 38 years) in June along with my aortic root. I will be very interested to see if the St Jude valve is more quite than the antique I have now.


Annette Sophocles says on May 21st, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Dear Josh,

I am seven weeks post op from aortic valve replacement and aortic root repair which was very successful. the only lasting symptom that I have is an impressive pulse sensation in my throat. It often disturbs me so much that I have to stop what I’m doing for a moment.
I was so glad to hear about your symptoms because I thought that I was the only one that had this. I have talked to many people who have had aortic valve replacement and no one else has described this. My cardiologist and surgeon seemed unconcerned after making certain that I did not an arrythmia. I cannot get any official explanation for this condition and my hope is that it will subside or diminish with time. I have done a lot of research about this and cannot find much information. I hope that someone can explain it.
Thank you asking about it.
Annette S


Richard Holoubek says on May 22nd, 2009 at 8:03 am

Josh… I had a similar experience after my aortic valve replacement. With every heart beat I thought my head was literally twitching to the side… to the point I was self conscious of it despite it wasn”t really twitching! I’m going on 12 weeks post op and I can say that I no longer really feel that anymore. I always thought of it as getting back to “normal”. It “sounds” like you’re doing fine!


Mike Ryan says on May 22nd, 2009 at 8:36 am

Josh, You have described my symptoms exactly. It has been 6 months since I recieved a new upper aorta and new aortic valve. I feel my heartbeat out in my arms , in my neck and chest. Particularly while lying down. I can stand 4 or 5 feet in front of someone in a relativly quite, take a deep breath and hold it and they can easily hear my heartbeat. I am very thankful to be able to still have it ticking!


Adam Pick says on May 22nd, 2009 at 9:45 am

Thanks everybody!!!

As you know, there is nothing better than hearing “you’re not alone” from other patients about recovery issues and post-operative, patient life.

I really appreciate all of you taking the time and energy to support Josh!!!

Have a great Friday!!!!

Keep on tickin!



jeff stoveken says on May 22nd, 2009 at 10:04 am

hi annette and everyone else, i have the same sound coming from my new aortic root and valve. i noticed it about 2 days after surgery. ive noticed that most of us have had the root replaced and i wonder if its the sound of the blood hitting the dacron material? it seems everyone is guessing, whoever i talk to anyway offers an opinion. but no one has actually said that they are sure of what causes it.i find that it changes with my neck or abdomen position. like sitting back or bent over it seems to change.someone said that its the sound of blood actually getting thru my valve , and i never really had that all these years with the faulty one that i had.if anyone has a scientific answer or any other ideas or questions, email me at thanks, jeff


Jeff Axelrod says on May 22nd, 2009 at 10:10 am

It is good to know that I am not alone as I too experienced a pounding heartbeat following the repair of both my aortic valve and aortic aneurysm. The symptoms would come and go but seemed to be more pronounced when I was lying down or sitting in a chair. Interestingly enough, they would subside when I stood up. I was unprepared for this and wondered if what I was feeling was normal and perhaps it was something I would experience the rest of my life. My Cardiologist was not too helpful in setting my mind at ease and I certainly was left with the impression he was unaware of this symptom. I am please to report that at 3 months post surgery this pounding sensation has signficantly subsided and I am nearly back to normal.


Mickey Ward says on May 22nd, 2009 at 10:39 am

I had a tissue valve input 8 weeks ago and I had the same loud heartbeat in my ears when I lay down or put my head against anything that basically forced the sound back. I did not really hear it sitting up nor did I ever feel that my heart was actually beating hard. That may partially be due to the fact that I had listened to this beating in my ears and even felt it in my chest for several years prior to reaching the point of having the surgery.
This does make going to sleep a little challanging.
I am now 8 weeks out and do not notice the beating sound in my ears much anymore.


Kerrigan says on May 22nd, 2009 at 11:35 am

I’m now about 4 months out of surgery for aortic valve replacement, and ascending aorta replacement.
I still notice the stength of the heartbeat seeming to be stronger than prior to the operation and that makes sense to me.
The valve was very bad for years and the heart was having a hard time maintaining a “regular” beat and now that it has a new valve it is working as it should and I read that to mean “stronger” so I’m not surprised by the feeling it is firmer, more solid, a beat.
The doc says this is normal for me so I don’t alarm over it any longer.


Stuart Perlmutter says on May 22nd, 2009 at 12:43 pm

When I go to sleep at night and the house is very quiet I hear my heart beating. During the day when I am active and there is noise in my office, I do not hear my heart beating. My surgeon, Dr. Oz, suggested that I leave the TV on at night if the noise from my heart beating prevented me from sleeping. I have not had to do that because the noise from my heart beating has not prevented me from going to sleep. Good luck.


Rosemary Geraci says on May 22nd, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Yes, I did, and it scared me to death (almost). But my wonderful cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Garcia, hospitalized me and got my heart regulated. I have been off all heart medications for six months! Hope you have the same results.


Michelle Ellis says on May 26th, 2009 at 5:29 am

I also had pounding in my chest, particularly when lying on my back or side. However, what I also had (and wasn’t warned about) was 2 bouts of Atrial Fibrillation after surgery. The first one was 3 days afterwards, the other was 3 weeks afterwards and hospitalised me for 2 days. Apparently this is common although not ‘normal’. It was enough to worry me but it would have been useful had someone warned me that it could happen. Hope it helps.


Mimi says on May 26th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I’m a 60 year old woman who had Aortic and Mitral Valve replacement (2 cow valves) and a by-pass 3 months ago yesterday, then a pace maker last month. The pounding of my heart has been the most annoying of symptoms, and I have received no answers about it from anyone. I also experience the even louder and it seems faster pounding when I try to inhale deeply – which is a little on the frightening side. What is this? Even at 3 months out, this is still happening. Will it go away? Wish I could give some answers – but I don’t have them, and this is the first mention of it I’ve found on the internet. Hope someone has the answer.


Roger Graham says on May 28th, 2009 at 4:16 am

I am 62 years old and on the 20 November 2008 I received an ATS mechanical aortic valve. I think the major problem is that you become acutely aware of that wonderful organ called a heart. Initially my heart would continually do the gipsy trip but I am still acutely aware of it pounding at times after 27 weeks. The other annoyances that I experience is the clicking (a clock in my chest) mainly during quite times and the lifelong warfin teatment and associated blood test. I guess little to complain about because I still have my life thanks to those wonderful and dedicated medical professionals.


Evelyn says on May 29th, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Yes it did. It was explained to me by my surgeon at my six week check-up(wished I had known sooner) that the pericardium of the heart is opened. The pericardium acts like a muffler for the heart. When there is a hole in it, the sound transmits more just like having a hole in a car muffler. Ones heart beat is elevated post-op – it takes considerable time to get it reconditioned with prescribed exercises and also for the hole in the pericardium to close over. At 3 months post-op, under doctor supervision, I was in a supervised cardiac rehab program. It helped me so much. Prior to that I diligently did the prescribed exercises/walking. Meditation tapes, music, and Reiki were helpful to allay stress and in so doing lowered my heart rate. I resumed my Tai Chi at 4 months. I am grateful for my recovery. At times, I wondered!


beth says on May 31st, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Very common to feel this, especially if lying on left side, most likely due to inflammation post op, and change in fluid dynamics in chest – this settles down after a few month. As long as heart isn’t racing fast >120 bpm at rest no worries. Almost every open heart surgery patient experiences this.


Mimi says on June 1st, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Thank you for the encouraging comments!
I have been beginning to think I still have something
wrong with another valve. Patience!!


david tranmer says on June 5th, 2009 at 2:30 pm


i had aortic valve replace on march 17th 2009.

wow. the pounding in my chest is amazing. also, have a quite fast heart beat always over 100 bpm. puts my mind at rest now i read some of your blogs.

thank you,

dave tranmer


Nancy says on June 19th, 2009 at 5:33 pm

I have that pounding the feeling and I haven’t had valve repair surgery.
It happens sometimes from being in certain positions. Sometimes just from bending over to get something from the refrigerator. Some episodes are shorter; my longest has gone on for 8.5 hours. I was on Crestor five years ago for about 5.5 months and this brough the problem to my attention dramatically, but until now it could not be documented on an event recorder.

I do have a mitral valve problem and for that matter a lesser problem with the aortic valve. I am scheduled to have my A-fluuter and A-fib corrected on August 10, 2009. Could it be my A-Flutter and A-Fib causing this sensation. The hospital did review my coronary angiography test from 4.5 years ago and my cardiologist’s records and hasn’t recommened repair of my valve(s)

Nope I’m not on coumadin or plavix either. I have stomach problems which are too lengthy too cover here.


Danny Henderson says on June 21st, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Hello, my name is Danny. Havent had surgery but going for my 1st check up since finding out i have an acsending aortic anyurism. Really looking for anyone to chat with. Very nervous and scared. Im 35, have always been healthy and my world came to a hault 5 months ago. Dont know if im in the right place, but could someone tell me about an online support group? Adam im about to get your book. Ive been looking at your site for 5 months now… and its the only place so far ive seen that has any kind of answers. Thanks to anyone who can help. My email is


Anna M. Tamura says on June 24th, 2009 at 7:40 pm

I had an aortic valve replacement and my aortic root aneurysm was fixed about 9 wks ago. It’s been that long and I still do feel that my heart flutters a lot and beats from normal to very fast especially at night. I don’t sleep much, 3 to 4 hours will be good enough for me. I went to my cardiologist for an echocardiogram and test showed that my heart is doing just fine. I am very frustrated and depressed sometimes thinking something is not normal inside. I’m glad I’m not alone. I do say sometimes I’m tired of myself and I know I need some patience.
Thank you.


Joel says on July 11th, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I had both my mitral and aorta replaced with plastic parts back in March, ’09 and tell everyone (including my doctors) that my ticker now beats like a bass drum 24/7. It drives me nuts but it beats the alternative. I just turned 52 and thought I was Superman until they found a 3.00″ x 3.25″ anuerism on my aorta and a .50″ growth of staph in my mitral. I had my work done at the O.S.U. Ross Heart Hospital. Dr. Sirack did the stitching and he is the best.

I guess Heaven wasn’t ready for me yet.


Sheila says on July 16th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

yes, I noticed this sitting by my sons bed at the hospital. I could see his heart beating. I truly enjoed watching it work, I hope it dosn’t bother him. He’s 10 and just had his aortic valve replaced. I have two sons with Aortic stenoises. My 12 year old had his repaired about 5 years ago and will have it replaced in time.


JP Schoenewald says on July 18th, 2009 at 12:12 am

Hey Josh,

Just saw your post, I’m experiencing the same sensations. The nurses who have
visited me in the six weeks since my mechanical aortic valve was replaced say it’s normal. I do have anxiety about it which I will address when I see my surgeon this week. Everyone keeps telling me I’m fixed, I say I’m damaged. I think we’re both right, surgery has saved my life but my body is still in pain and won’t ever been structurally the same. I suppose we both have to get use to our new reality of having this incredibly strong heartbeat. Good luck and stay well.


Charlie says on July 22nd, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Hi there! had aortic valve and root replacement in October 2008 and have had pounding heart issues ever since. Heavy pounding heart especially at night with missing beats as soon as I lie down. I have also noticed small involuntary breaths on each heart beat especially when lying on my left side. My doctor says that there is absolutely nothing to worry about and I am inclined to agree, as exercise and normal daily life cause me no problems at all. During the day I don’t tend to notice anything unusual. On balance I am less worried having had advice and very happy to know that am not alone anymore!

Cheers from



Dennis says on July 24th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

My wife had a Ross procedure on July 1st of this year. She has been getting intermittent bouts of “hard heartbeats” starting about 2 weeks after surgery. She does not complain of shortness of breath or lightheadedness. Her pulse usually drops when she is having these “hard heartbeats”. It brings her a lot of anxiety not knowing what is causing this issue. We go to her f/u exam in a few days, and we’ll see what her MD has to say. I’ll also have her read the previous posts to see if it is similar to what she has been experiencing.


Anna M. Tamura says on July 28th, 2009 at 7:52 pm

This is in response to Dennis’ comment about his wife. I too have the same complaint like your wife. Although, I call it forceful hearbeats. The last visit I had at the cardiologists I told them that it usually happens at night when i’m lying down . I asked them could it be my medication that’s causing these forceful heartbeats? I am taking metoprolol 25 mg at night and was told to cut my med and just take 12.5 mg. The heartbeats are a lot better and works quite well if I try to lay down on my left side.


Bob Collins, Sr. says on July 30th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I had a mechanical valve installed. My heart did not pound, but I could sure hear the ticking as the valve close. I asked my Doctor about this, and he remarked, “Don’t worry when you hear the ticking, but you should start worring when you CAN’T hear it ticking!”


Robin Hirsch says on August 30th, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Just had my aortic vatlve replacement surgery. Still in the hospital, lying in bed feeling my heart pound away. Went on line and found the answers to my questions. Now I know why, I will go to sleep. Thank you all. This is fantastic.


Bruce says on August 31st, 2009 at 5:41 pm

I can soooo relate. I had the Ross Procedure in 95 and had a stronger heartbeat for a couple weeks. However, in June 2009, that was replaced with an On-x mechanical valve and I had an aortic aneurysm repaired ( Dacron Graft) . This time, my heart beat is extremely pronounced and has not subsided since surgery Regardless of the position, whether standing sitting or lying down it is no better. I have great difficulty sleeping. Again , my cardiologist was not aware of this symptom as was the surgeon’s nurse whom I spoke to recently. On the upside I know I am alive! Shouldn’t this be addressed? Obviously we all are experiencing this crazy symptom and it would have been helpful to be prepared.


joyanne cunningham says on September 13th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I hsd aortic valve replacement in 2006. I have a mehanical valve. It is LOUD. Sometimes I have trouble hearing because of the loud click. My cardiologist and surgeon said not to worry. My cardiologist even said that because I am small boned, and thin the sound louder. I feel like i have a washing machine in my chest. I was so relieved to read that I am not alone. I teach school, walk three miles a day, andhave an active life. The sound it worse some days. I feel better now that I have read the comments from others.


Mimi says on October 1st, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Hi again everyone,
Well – it’s been 7 months since my surgery now – and guess what? The heart beat is not as obnoxious now! At night it still bothers me but during the day there’s not much of a problem. I hope you all recover well. Also -did I mention that because of uneven heart beats and too fast, as well as symptoms of dizziness with exertion, and many of the same symptoms I had before my surgery, I had to have a pace maker put in as well (5 months ago now) , then because even after the pace maker I had some of the same symptoms they increased my Motoprolol and it evened it all out and I have felt much better. But it was pretty scary thinking that there was something my Docs wouldn’t tell me! Call me paranoia – but it’s all really scary stuff! Hang in there – God bless you. Mimi


david tranmer says on November 5th, 2009 at 2:20 am

hi my name is dave tranmer i had mechanical aortic valve replacment seven months ago since then i have a realy strong sensation of thumping heart beat somtimes in my chest,neck or strong it somtimes nocks my teeth togher.
does anyone else have this.Its not there all the time i do get some days without.does anyone know why it happens. thanks dave t


Tony says on November 18th, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Eleven months since aortic valve, triple bypass and aoritc patch and just recently has the pounding sound of my heart beat subsided (or more likely I have gotten used to it). Still cannot read the newspaper without being able to “see” my pulse is the shaking of the paper. I can cross my legs and watch my foot bounce to the beat. Kind of reassuring actually.


dave tranmer says on December 6th, 2009 at 6:12 am

i had mechanical aortic valve replacment 9 months ago i still get the pounding in my chest and also when i inhale it feels like my heart hits my chest inside. does any one still have this after 9 months or more.


joyanne cunningham says on December 6th, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Dave, I had aortic valve replacemnt three years ago. I am small boned and thin, this may contribute to the pounding. My teeth can vibrate from the strong beats. My doctor says I have one of the loudest heart beats he has heard. However, he and other doctors tell me there is nothing I can do. I find this sensation verfy annoying. I have given up caffeine, but I don’t think that has helped this strong beats. I also see the newspaper shake as a result of these strong beats. Good luck, I know how you feel. Joyanne Cunninhgam


dave tranmer says on December 7th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

thanks joyanne for your responce its good to know im not the only one.but does you cardiologist say if it is one seems to be able to give me a straight answer.


ChristianTF says on December 10th, 2009 at 9:43 am

I’ve found it very reassuring to read all these comments. I had AVR 8 weeks ago, with a mechanical valve fitted, using minimally invasive surgery (not a full cut through the sternum). I’m 34, and due to return to work next Monday. But this week, I noticed occasional brief “flutters”, and the occasional missed beat, and it has got me really worried, especially because I had a problem with atrial flutters immediately after discharge, leading to overnight readmission. Apparently, low potassium was the main reason then – easily treated with bananas. Not sure where this week’s flutter/missed beat has suddenly come from (could be starting cardiac rehab exercise programme, or the H1N1 vaccination I had last week – UK uses Pandemrix, which contains adjuvans), and I will see my GP tomorrow to get his view, but from reading some of these posts, it seems that (a) 8 weeks is early days in the recovery and (b) minor “hiccups” do crop up and disappear again for a little while after surgery. Any thoughts on this, anybody?


dave tranmer says on December 15th, 2009 at 7:24 am

hi everyone i had mechanical aortic vale replacment 9 months ago as i have mentiond before i have very strong pounding in my chest now but am told not to worry about it.i have now devoloped some ectopic beats anyone else had these? and what was the outcome.


ChristianTF says on December 22nd, 2009 at 6:43 am

See my previous post – looks like I’ve got the same thing. My GP’s done some test and apparently these ectopics are normal. They could be related to the heart adjusting after the surgery as less force is now required to push the blood through the valve than before, for example. Still very annoying when they happen.


dave tranmer says on January 3rd, 2010 at 8:52 am

hi christian
thanks for your reply but what were your symptoms of ectopic beats.?also how loud is your valve.
hope u are all well.


ChristianTF says on January 6th, 2010 at 6:38 am

Occasionally, I can feel the heart “skip” a beat, or do something that feels like it’s pausing and restarting (a bit like taking a deep breath, if that makes sense). I also get a distinct sensation in my chest, which is either strong pounding or just the “double-beat” of the heart. Once or twice, I’ve actually heard the valve do a double-click.
The valve is audible most of the time. Usually, it’s a bit like the second-hand on a wristwatch, but sometimes it is a very distinct clicking sound, and occasionally, it sounds like it’s rattling.
Hope you’re well!


dave tranmer says on January 9th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

thanks for your reply christian.i have almost the same symptoms but sometimes after the double beat /flutter feeling i get a fast heart beat that lasts about five minutes and just stops.and returns to normal 70-80 now having tests for atrial flutter.
hope you are ell too.speak soon thanks


Brian says on January 14th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Yes I also had this sensation and found no answers. It took almost a year before the sensation subsided and slowly returned to normal. The body amazingly adapts and repairs so I would say just give it time. One thing I learned was to just be patient with the healing and although they tell you 4-6 weeks, the “real” return to normalcy is much longer.


ChristianTF says on January 17th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Thanks for this, Brian. It might be ok to start doing things again after 6 weeks or so (I returned to work after 8 weeks, and then had the benefit of the Christmas shutdown, so really had 11 weeks off), but it must take a lot longer for the body to recover fully. My left chest is still pretty tender, even though I had minimally invasive replacement. Hopefully, this is all just the heart getting used to having a problem less to deal with.


ChristianTF says on January 22nd, 2010 at 4:44 am

Just to complicate matters, I’ve had frequent ectopics for the last day or so. My pulse is as steady as before, but there are tons of extra beats. Very annoying, but with the pulse rate remaining steady at 70-80, I suppose that’s just another thing to deal with…


BradTN says on January 30th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Hi everyone. I am 27 years old I had aortic valve replaced and the root repaired about 5 weeks ago. I have been helped alot by everyones comments. I can here my mechanical valve as well as really being able to feel it thump. I can feel it up in my neck and can only not feel it if i lay a certain way. I was concerned about this and didnt know if it would go away but after reading everyones comments it seems to be normal. I guess the fact that i am thin makes me able to feel it more. I had a atrial fib a couple weeks after surgery and it seem i notice the pounding more since then. I dont know if its the medication they changed me to or what, Maybe its all just me thinking bout it all the time and it will get better with time. Thanks everyone


Dave Tranmer says on February 5th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

hi brad
my aortic valve was replaced 11 months ago i still have a very strong heartbeat that i somtimes feel in my neck.I have been to my cardiologist today following an echo he says my heart function is normal and the thumping is normal. you sort of get use to it after a while.i also had atrial flutter following surgery and take beta blockers now.
do you still have trial fib ?
hope u are well.


jon says on February 7th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

had mechanical valve almost 3 months ago with dacron tube cause of aneurysm. hear it all the time except sometimes when sitting up. can fall asleep, but when wake up early, hard to fall asleep again. now wish would’ve
went tissue, because of morbidity of coumadin, work restrictions, and valve noise. hope it decreases with time. not warned of this noise. now must pay for re-op later out of my pocket, to go to tissue ,in 8-10 years, unless mechanical
valve failure or other issues before then. anyone in similar situation?


patrick says on February 8th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I’m 63 and just past the 1st anniversary of my Bentall procedure (Aortic root, mechanical valve & ascending aorta). I’ve been disturbed since surgery by the sound and physical pounding in my chest. My cardio sounds like everyone else’s and is primarily concerned (correctly I believe) about any arrhythmia (and there has been quite a bit at times). Around the 6-month point I found the symptoms decreased — but then, they returned as strongly as ever. It seems that only in the last 6 weeks have they subsided again. Now I’m sleeping pretty well and am less generally disturbed so am hopeful that things will continue this way. I’m pleased to hear that it’s not just that I’m overly sensitive and that others have the same experience (apparently confounding all of our medical advisors).


ChristianTF says on February 14th, 2010 at 10:41 am

Well, more heart rhythm trouble, so back to the cardiologist as soon as I can get an appointment. Funny experience during cardiac rehab – after the end-of-session cool-down, heartrate went down to 90 but then shot up to 125. The physio checked blood pressure/heart rate which reported at 45 with a flashing warning sign indicating an irregular heartbeat – and was up at 85 only 30 secs later. My GP also noticed an irregular heartbeat the following day, but by the time he got me onto the ECG machine, out came a picture-perfect steady sinus-rhythym ECG – even my GP was frustrated by that…


jodie says on February 16th, 2010 at 5:03 pm

thank you so much for all your messages.i was beginning to think i was going insane.i am post op by 14 weeks.i had aortic valve replacement on nov 9th 2009.i had a tissue valve.i get the same thumping in my throat and my heartbeat is so loud especially when i breathe in was beginning to scare me.i was constantly thinking that the surgery had failed in some way.i still feel slightly breathless even when im basically doing nothing or even reading my son a story.its anyone else still breathless? thanx again everyone.i feel much better now after reading everyones messages.


Anna M. Tamura says on February 20th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Jodie, I am 10 months post op and I felt exactly how you are feeling right now. I thought there was a mulfunction inside my new aortic valve. I also have the tissue valve(porcine). I have skipped beats up to this day and have some irregular beats especially in early mornigns. Two weeks ago I went for a ct angio and two days ago I went for a follow up at my cardiologist. The result was good. My heart is normal in size and no signs of aneurysm. The sutures are in place. I still don’t know why i have the skipped beats. Soon I will be sent something to monitor my heart for a month.I was also breathless for many months but that went away. Hearing your hearbeat is certainly annoying but i’m getting used to it. It happens especially if you are thin boned. I also feel the thumping in my throat and it vibrates in my teeth. I am guessing that most of us have the same symptoms. I practiced deep breathing and exhaling very slowly and it helps a lot. I also take magnesium twice a day as what my cardiologist has told me. Take care. It takes time and patience. Whenever I am very frustrated I come to this website and read everyone’s comments over and over. Knowing that I am not alone makes me feel better.


DAVE TRANMER says on February 22nd, 2010 at 4:52 pm

hi jodi.
i am now 12 months post op had mechanical aortic valve i have just started to get some releif from the thumping in my chest and throat.i read so many times that the recovery period was three months but i think its more like 12 months.i am not breathless any more and can do all things as normal.however i am still very aware of my heart beat but my cardio says that my heart function is normal. i know exactly how you feel dont worry it gets better. keep well.


Jerry says on March 5th, 2010 at 1:06 am

I had my aortic valve replaced with a mechanical valve 2 years ago, and I have not had one moment or inner peace since. I am a very skinny person, so I don’t have the extra “padding” that can quiet a noisy valve. My valve is so noisy other people hear it when I am in a meeting, my wife hears it when we are sitting on the couch or lying in bed.

Due to this, I get no sleep. I was hoping I would get used to it, like I would a noisy watch. But no, I have not. There is something unnatural about constantly being aware that your heart is beating. I don’t think the brain knows how to compute this consciously, since the heartbeat is an autonomous function and one doesn’t ever think of it. But I am forced to hear it, which causes me to think about it more… becomes a vicious cycle. It’s 1 am now, I need to be up in a few hours and I have tried to fall asleep twice already with no luck. I lay there, dwelling on every heartbeat. It is like I am listening and waiting for it to suddenly stop. As I lay there, my brain does funny things with time. I will hear/feel my heartbeat and then not hear it for what seems like an eternity. I wonder if it will ever beat again, or if it just finished up with it’s last beat. I worry about my wife waking up next to a cold, dead husband. I worry about work, things I am in the middle of that others will have to take over….and after what seems like forever there it is…click click….click click…and I get to live on. This process repeats itself over and over until I get up and sneak downstairs to sit upright on the couch and watch t.v. I usually find myself there in the morning, racing upstairs to turn off my alarm clock all the time thinking “did I get enough shut-eye to make it through the day?”


Cathy Morris says on March 24th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I too had aortic aneurysm repair and a St. Jude aortic valve installed Jan. ’08. I was 58 yr., playing tournament softball so was in decent physical condition. Had no time to prep for surgery…3 days after ekg I was downtown Los Angeles at Kaiser. I am over 2 years post op and my heart still ticks loudly especially at night which makes it so hard to sleep. My husband can hear it. He’s a luv and lets me keep the tv on until I fall asleep. I also take sleep aids 3-4 nights a week which helps tons. The only explanation I’ve received is because the valve is a composite material it makes a tick every time it opens. I lost the hearing in one ear due to the surgery so sleeping on the ‘good ear’ helps a little. Listening to every beat can be such a mind game…can hear when it skips a beat, etc. Do you ever get used to this?


dave tranmer says on March 26th, 2010 at 9:10 am



BradTN says on March 29th, 2010 at 10:29 am

Hello everyone. I am now 3 months post op from mechanical valve surgery. I still can hear the ticking and feel the thumping from time to time, but for the most part i am starting to get used to it i guess. I started playing golf and a few weeks ago just to get outside and get some exercise. I was suprised that i wasnt as sore as i figured to be after i played. The only real problems i have left from surgery now is that for bout past month and half i have blood and protein in my urine. This never showed up until after surgery and it has me worried. They told me it was a UTI and i was on antibotics for a month but the blood and protein is still present. A UA now showed no infection. They doctors seem to think it may be caused my medication i am taking. I take warfarin, sotalol, Diltiazem, and Simvastatin. I dont know if this could be the problem but i have no pain really. Just wondering if anyone else has had similar problems like this with medications. Thank you


Al says on March 31st, 2010 at 5:58 am

I am 6 weeks out of my aortic valve replacement. I had it repaired 16 years ago and replaced 6 weeks ago. The last week I have been able to feel my heartbeat alot more. especially when laying down. The distel acending aorta had a graph sewn in as well so maybe that’s why I am feeling my heartbeat more. I let the doctor know this and he did not seem to think it was an issue. To make sure it is staying in rythum, he said in 3 months to come back to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours so it can be anilzed. I am still in the process of getting my BP under control as it has went up over the last 3 weeks. We are trying to increase the BP meds.


Cathy Morris says on April 5th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Yeah, lots of thumping going on in there! My doctor didn’t seem to think it was an issue either. No further tests planned just a routine cardiology visit every 6 months. Did you also get the St. Jude valve?


Claudia Pfremmer says on April 5th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I had my arotic valve replacement October 5th 2009, Mine is a bovine valve. I am now six months from my surgery. I too can feel and hear my heart beating and feel it in my neck as well. It does seem that it has gotten better over time. My cardiologist advised that your body and brain gets used to it and then it gets better. I am wondering if any one is having any anxiety symptoms, with the valve replacement. My anxiety comes and goes as well. Just wondering if there are many who are experiencing this, as well as some cardiac depression.


BradTN says on April 7th, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Hey Claudia. I have a mechanical valve. Im about 4 months removed from my surgery and i am finally used to the thumping and clicking sound. I can still fill and hear it pretty good at night when im laying in bed but ive learned to ignore it for the most part. And ABSOUTLY i have had anxiety symptoms. It is getting a little better now but it was bad for awhile. I always thought the worse bout everything and would make myself think i had something wrong with me. You are not alone on that and i have also had some depression i think its quite normal from what i hear.


Faye says on April 14th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I hear my heart beating (double bypass two weeks ago). It almost sounds like they took some of the “Insulation” out so the sound isn’t muffled as much as it used to be; however it does eventually return to the quiet mode. I don’t understand either.


ChristianTF says on May 6th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

So, almost seven months one (aortic valve replaced on 14 October with a Carbomedics Artificial Valve), and I can still hear the clicking very clearly. At night time, I have to lie in a certain position to be able to go to sleep. Turn the wrong way,and the clicking is loud enough to keep me awake. All this will still taken some getting used to.
As for the arrhythmias, have had a 24ECG done. Shows intermittent ventricular ectopics, and instances of left bundle branch block. Cardiologist not concerned by this and does not expect to review me regularly, and GP also says it’s nothing to worry about. I suppose now I’ve had all the test, and a cardiologist I trust look at this, I’m fine about these “skipped beats”, although I still find them annoying.


Tony Reeve says on May 27th, 2010 at 3:29 am

What a relief to read these comments. I thought it might be abnormal to not only hear but feel my heartbeat since I have fully recovered from Surgery at the beginning of the year, I can stop worrying at nights now!


GaryinLa says on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:32 am

Whew….. I was worried 10 weeks post surgery today! Aortice dissection with replacement of bicuspid valve…St Jude. I had rapid beats 2 weeks post and take amioderone for a couple of months more. Hopefully they will reamin gone as the drug is quite toxic over time. I do feel the high beats described by the original post. I actually can say that mine are exactly as described! I hope to get used to this as i bothered my “Doc” alot in the beginning!!!!!!!!! Thanks


dan smith says on June 7th, 2010 at 7:38 am

hi guys
Had my aorta valve replaced with a mechanical valve about 5 weeks ago, i to can hear a ticking which doesnt bother me as 2 much… more concerned about the fluttering feeling i get now and again which is most common about 4inches above my belly button and the middle of my chest/throat…im only on warafin and nothing else…..can anybody explain the fluttering?do i need to worry?….im due back to see my surgeon in 4 weeks…
Thanks dan


Rob says on June 30th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I have the same experience.
Also sometimes so hard (not fast) that it actually hurts.
The most of the time, I hardly notice it except at night.


Heather says on July 18th, 2010 at 3:44 am

I had my surgery 8 years ago, I was put on atenalol to help regulate my rapid heart beat just days after surgery,not a pleasant feeling, and yes I do feel my heart pounding quite loudly sometimes…. its good to know its not unusual, thankyou.


jason says on July 20th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Hello. I just had my aortic valve, root, and archh replaced about eight weeks ago. I have had some issues. However, one of my current concerns has to deal with changes in my heart beat. Some days. I have a quiet tick tick and at other times I can really hear it and feel it pounding inside my chest, especially when breathing in. Anone else have this? I have a saint judes valve


Jim says on July 26th, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Wow I just got back from my cariolgist and he acted as if I was crazy. I have arotic valve replacement (mechanical) and and aortic root replaced 8 weeks ago. My heart is pounding in my chest and throat so hard that I was convinced there must have been something seriously wrong with my heart after surgery. Thank God this seems to have a logical explanation and I am not just loosing my mind. You guys are the best. Thanks for your comments.


Michael says on August 21st, 2010 at 9:44 am

Kansas City, Missouri
Reading all of the comments makes me remember when I had my second aorta valve replacement with a St. Jude valve, the first one was a human valve. First surgery with the human valve lasted 5 years, June 23 , 08 is when I got the St. Jude Valve. It still keeps me awake, I sleep with the TV on and it don’t always help. I also had blood coming out of my penis before my wife and I was intimate. The doctor said I could have hemoraging up in bladder or prostate, had more testing and they inserted a tube scope up my penis and my wife heard me screaming in the waiting room. They couldn’t finish the test. Do not recommend that test. Come to find out it was the coumadin, I don’t like this because I bleed for a long time when I get cut or injured. I lost my construction job after surgery. Back to the ticking I found that sleeping upright a little bit with the tv on helps some. Not always. I would not recommend a metal valve for anyone the human valve I had none of these symptoms and didn’t have to take any medicine. My body just wore the other one out, but even with this St. Jude valve I still feel week and exhausted, most of the time. I was born with a heart murmur, and never smoked and drank occasionally. One of my worst fears and worries is the doctor stated that if the valve sticks closed or stops working, I would die quickly. This valve doesn’t work like a human valve because its mechanical and a human valve would show weakness or leakage where the doctors could hear it. Before any surgeries my heart was swishing from the regurgitation of blood not pumping correctly. My wife heard this same sound when my first human replacement went bad. So the doctor recommended this mechanical valve, I did not want this valve at all but they highly recommended it because the other valves could only last up to 10 years on me. So they convinced me but I still didn’t want it. I didn’t want to be on coumadin the rest of my life.

Hope you find this information helpful. Your heart friend Mike.


Ron says on September 13th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Jason, I have the same thing. I had a St. Judes valve put in in March along with an aneurysm and root re-attached with graph. When I first had it my heart pounded very loud, felt like it was pounding out of my chest! It does get somewhat quieter or maybe I’ve just gotten used to it. Its not as noticeable now. Has anyone ever been checked for Marfan’s syndrome? I was recently diagnosed with a defective gene and had another test that I’m waiting for the results which would be a positive for Marfans. One of the characteristics of Marfans is dissection of the aorta with a structurally weak aorta. Has anyone else inquired about this? Thanks!


Bob Fisher says on October 24th, 2010 at 8:45 pm

i was very interested in reading some of these comments. I recently had my Starr Edwards Aortic valve replaced with a St. Jude mechanical valve and also aortic root surgery. The surgery was done in early september of 2010. Recently I have been feeling the same hard heartbeat in my throat and upper sternum area just like Josh when I take a deep breadth. When I exhale, it stops. When I don’t take a deep breadth it is fine. While I have read many of these comments, I have yet to read a medical explanation for what is going on and whether this is normal and whether it will subside. I would appreciate a response from someone who has spoken with their surgeon or cardiologist about this issue. I plan to do the same.


stephanie crummey says on November 5th, 2010 at 9:08 am

I did too, 5 months after my aortic valve replacement, and the feelings seem to move around, also I get a sensation as though there are small needles prickling me around the sternum from the inside.
Not terribly painful, but it does stop me in my tracks sometimes.


Sharon says on November 9th, 2010 at 1:43 am

HOw come the doctors are baffold about the pounding of heart beats and when you can feel it in your neck, I feel it in my fingers too. Theres so many of us who experience this, it seems more common than not. I am 4 months out from surgery. I also feel a thumping when I inhale alot, My cardiologist listened and said it was my ribs moving, not fully healed. I had both mitral and aortic tissue replacement. I’m 73. Cardiac rehab is really great, I’m surprised how many people go. I’m so glad I found this web site, its been a huge help. Nobody told me what recovery was like.


roger says on November 18th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Aortic valve replaced and anuerysm graft with St. Jude April 2009. Same pounding, could see it on my chest. White noise at night is the best option, I used a small fan. I hardly notice now. But recently have woken to rapid heart beat from a deep slumber(2am) – subsides after 10 minutes. Has happened sporadically the last 2 months, probably 5 or 6 times. No flutter or skip, just rapid, 110 – 120/ min. Anyone else?


Rocky says on February 7th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I had my Aortic Valve replaced 2 1/2 weeks ago ( heavily calcified valve leading to Critical Stenosis, Valve was about 25% of what it should be ) with a St Jude using the Bentall Procedure (A Bentall procedure is a cardiac surgery operation involving composite graft replacement of the aortic valve, aortic root and ascending aorta, with re-implantation of the coronary arteries into the graft – Wikipedia).

I was home for a few days when I had to go back to the hospital because my heart rate went up to 160 to 180. They kept me in until it normalized in about two or so hours, and since then it is about 82 BPM. Blood pressure was normal and there where no other symptoms during the event. I was told by the surgeon that this is something that happens and not to worry, unless it continues. It was the only time it happened.

I am also experiencing the loud heart beat. I love it, makes me feel so alive. I can feel it in my ears which makes it really easy to check the rate.

The surgeon explained it this way. He said that the heart was pumping harder when I had the stenosis to make up for the restriction and need for more blood and as it is muscle memory, it will take a bit of time for the heart to readjust and not beat so hard.

The other thing I have been experiencing is night sweats.

Back in December I went to the doctor for lightheartedness after I was over a cold and he immediately sent me for an Ultrasound. From that date until surgery was 4 weeks.


Sharon says on February 8th, 2011 at 11:24 am

Yes, I had my surgery 7 months ago. Had the same experience of a fast heart beat,very scary. I was put on a low dose of Lopressor and that helped so much. It beat hard also. At this time, its settled down but every once in while I can feel the pounding. Every month that goes by, it feels more normal. I’m thankful for this blog, had no idea what recovery was like.


Kjackson says on March 23rd, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Wow, there is so much feeling here. I am a 47 yr/old female in need of an aortic valve replacement. I have been trying to figure out what is best for “me” not just what the doctor prefers. I had already decided against a mechanical valve due to the sound I’d heard it makes, but also because I did not want to take coumadin for life as I am also very anemic due to being such a good bleeder. So, after reading all of the posts here, I am wondering if it would be better to just let the valve take it’s natural course and not have it replaced at all. I am thinking of quality of life issues and it seems most here have suffered a great deal after a surgery that was supposed to make their life better. If given the choice now, would any of you go back and not have had the surgery? Also, I didn’t see it here but did any of you have a minimally invasive procedure or one of the new transcatheter valve replacements? I am going to have to make some serious decisions in the next few weeks, and though I know the doctor has my best interest in mind, I’d like to hear from those who have actually had to live with the results of a surgery like this.


rocky says on March 23rd, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I did not let nature take its course. I would be dead if I had and that is a cost I am not willing to knowingly accept. The louder heart beat, the blood tests and the blood thinners are just a minor inconvinience compared to the alternative.

Three and a half weeks after the surgery I went back to work and have been working since.

Just nine weeks after my heart surgery, I bought a bicycle today and rode it away from the store. I was given two to four months to live in November. Everything now is bonus time.


Chris says on March 24th, 2011 at 3:52 am

To kjackson:
In response to your post, I just want to share my experience. I’m a 41 year old female with an aortic valve replacement, 3 months post-op. I worked on a cardiac unit for almost 10 years and watched many people go through a variety of circumstances. I initially wanted a tissue valve for the same reasons, did not want a lifetime of meds, etc. As I reflected on my experiences, I talked with a few friends that also had valve surgery. I finally concluded that I would use the mechanical valve for several reasons.
One reason is that the mechanical valves last 20+ years, compared to the tissue valves that are expected to last 5 to 10 years with some that have a 15 year potential. I have a male friend with a tissue valve in his 40′s and at the 5 year mark he had to replace it. I love the idea of reducing the risk of additional prospective surgeries. I suffer from bleeding disorders but have not had any issues with blood thinners. It’s actually such a minimal change in blood clotting and I have had no issues with bleeding or bruising since the warfarin started. I did worry that I would miss doses but it fits in with my daily vitamin routine well. I also worried about the frequency of testing after surgery. It’s starts out with some frequency, 1 to 2 times a week. After a short time they can set you up with a once a month visit for a finger poke to check your thinning levels. It’s quick and easy.
The next issue is the clicking sound. It’s not so bad, you get accustomed to it quickly and the sound diminishes over time. It is a sound of a renewed life…. and such a sweet sound it is! I have 3 teenagers, and life is extremely busy. But it was worth it. I wouldn’t be here today without surgery. It was very close, the valve failed very quickly for me. I wasn’t allowed to wait until after the holidays, I had surgery 3 days after talking to the doctor. I had surgery 5 days before Christmas and was home on the 23rd. I walked the same day I had surgery (great meds!).
I love my mechanical valve. I sound like a Timex watch when I exercise, and I’ve come to a point I love it, wouldn’t want it the other way around. I’ve had a few minor set-backs, but it was temporary. Whatever you chose to do, don’t wait too long long. I have a new perspective on life, and I’m thankful for it. Open heart surgery turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. I thought the worst at first, but my life has never been better!!! Good Luck to you!!


debbie says on March 25th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Oh my gosh Chris, I could have written the exact same message….except that I am 47 and 18 months post op.
I’ve got three teens-20 yr olds, tell people that I tick like a fine Swiss watch or Timex and had less than a month from referral to cardio surgeon to surgery, have had little problems with warfarin or bleeding, and walked that first day following surgery (longest walk I’ve ever taken…lol) but yes the drugs helped.
I didn’t have a choice between mechanical or tissue, but I do know that right now thinking that in another five years or so having to go through it again would not be something I’d want to face.

And I too had a drastic change in the “pounding” of my heart, but i guess that’s because it was working better/differently, and i was ultra aware of it. It still does sometimes, especially if i’m laying on my side or stomach but i’ve learned its normal and it’s a good thing!
best of luck


Nicole says on April 12th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I have had 3 heart surgeries since I was born. Once when I was 14 months old (I don’t really know what they did) another in June 1998 when I was 17 they replaced my aortic valve with a tissue one. The tissue valve lasted me until October 2010, so I got 12 years out of it. In June 2010 my Cardiologist decided I needed it replaced as I was having quite a few difficulties. He “said” he was in contact with the Doctor’s in Vancouver, BC but I never heard anything. October 8, 2010 I woke up at 3am and I couldn’t see out of the bottom of my right eye, I went to Emerg and they admitted me thinking I had a blood clot shoot to my eye. I was then Air Ambulanced down to Vancouver and had my heart surgery on October 22, 2010 they did the Bentall Procedure which took 10 hours to complete as I had a really large anyerisum on my aorta. I chose a mechanical valve because I want to have the least amount of surgeries I possibly can now. I can hear my valve ticking, which doesn’t bother me, but I can feel my heart beating against my chest and that is really quite irritating. I feel it all the time except for when I lay down or lean forward, I don’t feel it as much. I have been to see my GP numerous times and they have put me back on Metroplol (as my blood pressure was fairly high) and that helped a bit, but I can still feel it. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who worries about everything :) The only other thing about the Mechanical Valve is that I am on Warfarin forever now and I am unable to play the sports I used to or have kids, but I would rather that then have to have surgery again in the nearer future.


Norm E. says on May 15th, 2011 at 10:01 am

I was somewhat surprised to hear from some folks who have had tissue valves about the ticking sound as well. Some of the stated benefit of tissue valves is that they are quieter. I that true?


Audrey Meyer says on June 10th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

I have found the comments very reassuring as I suffer with the heart pounding as well following aortic stenosis surgery with a tissue valve eight weeks ago. When I reported it to my doctor she said it was a strong heartbeat but couldn’t find anything abnormal. She prescribed Lorazepam 1 mg to ‘take the edge off it’. It happens mostly at night, yet there are occasions when I barely notice it. I tend to listen to the radio when in bed and that usually helps. It will nearly always wake me around 5.30 am and start pounding straight away as soon as I move or get out of bed to go to the bathroom. I have had an ecocardioscan last week and am due to see the cardiac registrar in just over a week when I hope to discuss it with him. It worried me a lot to begin with but it would appear that it is quite common and just part of the process. Hopefully it will get quieter in time.


Mary Anne Tillona says on July 1st, 2011 at 1:31 pm

My husband had aortic valve replacement almost a year ago and complains of the same thing, almost verbatim. When he complains of this, I can feel his hear pounding if I touch his side. His physicians don’t have an explanation and his tests are normal. He’s lost over 20 pounds, so clearly has less cushioning. We were wondering if this is normal, so these posts are very helpful in calming our fears.


Brian Schneider says on July 11th, 2011 at 10:45 pm

You got that right ! It sure bothered me for months afterward. Finlly went away like a lot of other odd sensations so if there is a next time I know what to expect. Hope you’re feeling better !


Pablo says on July 14th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Hi Guys and Gals,

I am 48 and had a porcine aortic tissue valve replacement with dacron replacement of portion of ascending aorta. I am 3 weeks out from surgery and also note a very strong heart beat in my upper chest and also can hear it in my ears. I read somewhere that some nerve endings that had never been sensitized to the heartbeat are, for the first time due to minute changes in your heart placement due to surgery, now attuned to this beating and after months these nerves become sensitized to the rhythm. Not to worry! Why porcine at my age? I’ve been vegetarian for 20 years and very active, couldn’t go the mechanical route with blood thinners. Green leafy veggies and coumadin don’t mix well. My Emory surgeon is convinced that by 2022 or whenever I need a new valve, non-invasive methods, including robotic will be standard and routine. Anyway, doing great, no pain meds now, though still a bit sore in the sternum area. Take care amigos!


Denise says on July 23rd, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I am 49 yo female that just discovered a month ago that I had severe aortic stenosis. On July 1st I had a St. Jude Medical Carbon fiber mechanical heart valve installed in my heart. The surgery went well, hardly any pain, and I was up and walking two days post op! I am not concerned about the lifetime of blood thinners because you CAN eat green stuff on coumadin, you just have to eat the same amount every day. The stenosis had me feeling extreme fatigue for the past three years, unfortunately the doctors attributed it to depression rather than heart failure. It is extremely important for patients to ASK their Dr. to listen to their heart when they have a checkup. I suffered for several years until an young ENT doctor made the time to listen to my heart; he discovered the abnormal heartbeat and sent me to the cardiologist and finally the surgery that has saved my life. Every day above ground is a good day! Praise God!


Rae says on August 11th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Hi, my name is Rachel. I’m 30 years old and I have have had two aortic valve replacements. The first I had 10 years ago, and the second just a month back. I’m still going through the healing process, which seems very different to last time.

My heartbeat is most certainly louder at night, and more so than normally. It beats so loud I can’t sleep at first and its most disturbing. However, I have the comfort of knowing that it’s working!

I tend to do things to distract my thoughts, or literally I will tap or scratch the pillow, so it’s louder than the beat, crazy I know. And yes, I too feel and hear it more when I breath in.

I try to remember last time, I try to compare the two. But I remember having these worries and fears last time, and that one by one they got better. So although you feel it now, it will get less and soon you’ll not notice the difference!

Thanks R


Todd says on October 18th, 2011 at 9:47 am

Josh just want to let you know that I’m on my second valve repair, replacement surgery. I’m going through the same thing as you are, same positions everything, and let me tell you it is one of the most difficult things to get used to. I thought I would have no problem with it this time but I was wrong. My heart had gone into afib while in the hospital and had to have my heart shocked to get back into sinus rhythm. So almost every time I wake up it feels like I’m back in it because my heart feels like it’s going to come out of my chest. So i get my bp machine and check out rhythm and everything is perfect but my mind wants to believe otherwise. Now I’m much more at ease after reading your statement Your statement was extremely comforting to hear since it was something I have not ever asked my cardiologist. Hope all is going well and take care


liza eden says on October 20th, 2011 at 1:48 am

Had my valve replacement surgery almost 3 months ago. I made it through the surgery just fine, was up and walking on 2nd day. It wasn’t untill i went home that I noticed the “sound”. Heartbeating so loud it keeps me awake and the clicking. I too asked the doctors and they say the same thing “it sounds great”. I am so glad that I came upon this site. It is a comfort to know that what i am feeling and hearing is normal. I was sure that there had to be something wrong. Just last week I told someone I wishe I’d never had the surgery. Knowing what I feel is common is a relief. I went back to work three days ago and although I get tired quikly I no longer get short of breath or sweaty for no reason, huge problem before surgery. I was given the St. Jude and will be on coumadin for life. I will sleep better tonight knowing I am not alone.


Frank Marocco says on October 20th, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Liza- I had and still have the same sensation and my surgery was over one year ago! It is really noticable when I lie on my left side. I just think of it as a reminder that my heart is working alot better than it was! FYI-I have the St. Jude also.


Rob R says on October 31st, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Thanks for posting this question Josh and to all for sharing. I’m 47 and had aortic valve replacement and aortic root enlargement (to accommodate the required diameter of the St. Jude mechanical valve) in June 2011 so am almost 5 months out. Am still in cardiac rehab which I recommend to all who have had a cardiac event.

I noticed the pounding of my heart while in the hospital and it’s the same now. Doctors haven’t been concerned about me having this sensation and often remark that “it’s loud” when they listen to my chest. I’m on the thin side and feel my heart beat intensely, in addition to hearing it beat and the clicking of the valve. All of these sensations have been difficult to deal with and to feel calm while experiencing. I’ve found it can take me 15 minutes or longer to quiet my body and put these sensations in the background enough so that I can meditate. Falling asleep has been hard, am still sleeping mostly upright. The only way I can fall asleep is with white noise–I use an ocean waves sounds app on my smartphone which works well.

For most people, taking a deep breath is a relaxing thing and calming, but since my surgery taking a deep breath triggered two sensations–sternal pain and an increased heart rate. The sternal pain is lingering but has continued to subside. But getting used to heart rate rapidly increasing when I take a deep breath is bizarre and not so comforting. I hope this sensation eases as I heal more.

I had aflutter and afib episodes about a month after surgery which didn’t respond well to rhythm control drugs so had to be cardioverted in the hospital. That procedure worked well (though a bit scary to go through). Skipped beat sensations which I understand to be PVCs are something I experience almost daily, usually when my heart rate goes below 80 bpm. It’s an unnerving sensation and sometimes can make me gasp a little if the beat following the skipped beat is particularly forceful. Doctors are not concerned about these skipped beats and continue to tell me my heart is working well (YAY!) I was also told that most likely my heart had learned to work harder than it needed to to pump blood through the calcified valve. Now that the valve has no obstructions, the heart muscles may still be squeezing harder than they need to and need to adapt to needing to work less hard, which it should do, in time. I’ll have a follow-up echocardiagram in a few months so will get a full assessment of how well the valves are working then.


Maxine says on November 21st, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I am 18 months post surgery for aortic valve replacement and my heart pounds so hard it makes my headache. I am told to expect this, but my blood pressure also goes extremely high until my heart calms down, then everything goes back to normal. The least exertion I do makes this happen and it is very scary. Do others experience this and do they get told it is to be expected?


Simon says on February 29th, 2012 at 4:21 am

Hi, I had a aortic valve replacement at 24 then again at 8 months ago I had to have the root replaced at 37, before the root I could hear the ticking very load only but now after i’ve had the root replaced it feels its wacking against my chest and I can feel it in my neck and chin, when I breath in it gets really strong! its been great to read this as its been really scaring me, I’ve not had much advice from the doctor and feel very alone and its effecting my life, i live day to day thinking its going to fail, I still drink and occasionaly smoke to deal with anxiety issues and I hate that I do that! at the end of the day I’ve been saved several time and I should be just thankfull for that. I found that if you cuddle a pillow in bed it eas’s the sensation!


Marilynne Lambert says on March 3rd, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I was given until I was 30 to live. But am thankful for the chance to have a Metal Aorta valve fitted at age 36, that is 27 years ago. It is a child’s valve flown down from Scotland on that day of the operation to Yorkshire due to my size. It is a Duramatic size 19 (I may have not spelt that correct)
I am on Warfarin and do my own blood tests with my CoaguChek and dose myself.

Yes I still hear it clicking still but not half as bad as I used to. Better that then having to keep going through so many operations having a tissue one. I was told 18 months ago by a very uncaring lady Dr, that I could die having another op due to the valve being so very tight and small but it was the only size that would fit at the time!!!
I have been getting a lot of extra beats lately and it has started fluttering a lot also. I had to have a 24 hour tape fitted a few months ago. My Valve Dr said that I have to stay on Beta blocker, started about 4 years ago.
It is good to hear that others have the same and have also said it make you feel less on your own with it all.

One thing that I am mad about is the new ruling that says that we are not allowed to have antibiotics when having teeth out or any operations that could leave us ending up with bugs on our valves.
Well I for one am not prepared to put my life at risk through some high up coming up with their new ideas!!!!
When I know a lady who got bugs on her valve when she was not given antibiotics and had to be rushed in for valve to be replaced by a NEW one!!! So unnecessary when Antibiotics could have prevented it!!! She was very poorly.
What are you going to do about this?
I am insisting that I have them as it is MY LIFE not theirs!!!!
My valve Dr told me that his hands are tied as he is not allowed to recommend them any more!!!
Even though he has insisted for 27years that I MUST be PROTECTED by them!!!

I have started to live and have fun now after a bad marriage of 40 year!!
Now going down South to see my lover for a week every month.
So glad that I have had the chance to live these extra 34 years in my retiring years and still acting like a 20 year old!!!! x


rose filice says on March 5th, 2012 at 4:31 am

4 months post surgery-same thumping against my chest, mostly sitting up =eases some lying down, Thank God for sleep. Cardiologist not concerned, so typical, he doesn’t live it. Some days worse than others, tonight I needed valium, anxiety and a lack of peace do get to me. Everyone seems to have different stories as to whether it gets better in time and healing? You are all the bravest people I know, going through all this and living with the side effects of heart repair. Cardiac depression and discouragement are very real parts of this surgery. I have tried 400 mg of magnesium a day too- good advice- couldn’t hurt. Be glad to get off some of the drugs I hope?
U r all in my best wishes and I am where u r too!


Diane says on March 12th, 2012 at 2:41 am

Hi Dale, just had the Bentall’s done 6 weeks ago. I have the St. Jude implant it is just as loud. I sit here at 3:30am in the morning awaken by the loud beating of my heart. I run the fan to drown out the sound (sometimes it works sometimes it don’t). I am thankful for everything going well with the surgery, but the loud beating is a very unpleasant side effect. Best wishes to everyone on the site. And thanks to God for life.


rose filice says on March 12th, 2012 at 9:25 am

I do not have a mechanical valve, ,just the porcine one. The pounding is positional when I am seated upright and diminishes when I lay down , Thank God, I can sleep. A visit to the cardiologist at 3 mo’s last week was disturbing. He is sending me back to the surgeon as he thinks the sternum hasn’t healed and may be responsible for what I am feeling. I will have a CAT but there is possibility I will need to have it rewired..yes another surgery. So be advised and check that with your Dr. as well if you have such odd symptoms.


Norm says on March 12th, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Just hang in there guys, it will get less loud with time, as the implant get epithelialized, where your own cells grow over it. I had mine a year ago, and it is barely noticeable. Be well


donna davis says on April 6th, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I am 51 years old and alittle over 2 years ago i had my aorta valve replaced with a cow valve, i have wondered about the heart pounding hard and espeacially when i try to lay on my left side,i cant not lay on left anymore,i also started having panic attacks witch sends me to the er,they are so awfull to go threw,it is like having a heart attack ,its hard to define the difference.I was a very ative woman untill the surgery and now i cant seem to do much at all,does all this get better?


rose filice says on April 7th, 2012 at 9:52 am

I have the same thing- 5 m0nths after. My heart pounds when I lay on my side especially.
My heart THUMPS against my chest whenever I am upright seated- u can see it and feel it. My chest did not heal together and have a 1 cm gap where bones do not meet/ DR is stumped…I think bone is thin and it makes the thumping against my chest more obvious. Another surgery could repair the gap but no guarantee on the noise. Surgeon says gap will diminish as cartilage fills .So I am hoping for THAT- because to face another surgery is==well. you know!
He said my cow valve is unusually loud for tissue valve-maybe yours is as well? There is no cure for that and the anxiety is VERY real, not just a “comfort that my heart is beating ok.”
Dr rxed an anti anxiety med.Cardiac anxiety has its own set of rules. ASK yours, it is no shame to need it, the pounding chronically can be quite maddening at times, the feeling that it is long term is even more frustrating. A long term anti anxiety med can help take the edge off of the constant noise “side effect”that accompanies our life now despite serious treatment. I am trying yoga and whatever might help. I hope you will investigate what alternatives there are and feel better!!!!


liza eden says on April 10th, 2012 at 1:10 am

I left a message awhile ago. Since then I began having panic attacks that were so bad I found my self crying 99% of the time. I went to a therapist who put a call into my Dr. It was her decision that I needed medication. By now I was in constant panic mode. The pounding and the fear became so overwhelming. Have been on meds for a week and I feel human again. Is this going to be ongoing? There seem to be a high number of patients who are having the same experiences. I don’t want to be drug dependent, but I will if I have to. To feel the way I did 2 weeks ago is not an option.


sharon says on April 12th, 2012 at 2:53 am

Hi 44yo female.ive had 3 heart ops in 10yrs.1st was to do bentalls procedure replace aortic valve n ascending aorta but surgeon didnt realise how tiny mine was so he decided to put patch on aorta n leave valve as is.6wks after surgery my valve collapsed due to the extra pressure from widening the aorta.i was very breathless n lethargic.i changed cardiologists and 16mnths later i got a tiny tissue valve which lasted 8yrs.unfortunatley it and aorta calcified to 6mm.last op i got a st judes mech valve and more widening of ascend very disturbed by the clunking noise.i feel quite deaf sometimes and i have had some internal bleeding from warfarin.i also have total heart block wich happened 1wk after op so they put a pacemaker in .i works 100%of the time as my sinus nodes were damaged in surgery.i have a lot to get used to.everything is so much more complex than when i had tissue valve but hey im still alive.keep on smilin every1


Diane says on April 13th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Hi guys, things look a little bleek now, but they will get better. try and stay calm and not think about it so much, it only makes things worst. at nite try running the fan or heater depending on the weather it helps to drown out the sound of the beats and gives you somethings else to focus on. this really helps me to sleep. REMEMBER TO REMAIN CALM GETTING UPSET ONLY MAKES IT WORST. after while you want notice it as much. hang in there God Bless


sharon says on April 13th, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I am so glad to have found this in australia and havent had much luck with finding people with my condition .its comforting to no that im experiencing some similar effects of heart valve/aortic root post op symptoms.i cant remember a lot about the last two.i had some other weird things going on.i get a grey cloud like vision in my rite eye followed by a silver and black zigzag.then i notice my valve goes double beat miss a beat and so on.i lat down and it passes in about 20mins.other times.i feel nausious and get diahorrea at least 3nights a week(maybe warfarin side effect??).i was hoping to have energy after this op but my husband still does the grocerys,cooking and housework.if i do cleaning or anything just a bit strenuous im exhausted and have to go to bed for a few hours.i dont no if this is because i have pacemaker and mech valve and take warfarin but a lot of people seem to have lots of energy and even return to work after their ops.maybe im just a wreck after 3 surgeries.gee it feels good to vent my thoughts.hope every1 is doing ok


Pine Hill Gal says on April 16th, 2012 at 10:14 am

In July of 2011 (9 months ago)I had a St. Jude Mechanical valve inserted to replace my Severely stenotic Aortic valve. Evidently I was born with a bicuspid Aortic valve that failed during my 49th year. I have had very few complications with this valve, and now feel GREAT! I have been completely restored to good health. Regarding any noise that may come from the heart valve, I do notice that if I become dehydrated, then I can “hear” the valve when it clicks. If I keep myself well hydrated (6-9 glasses of liquid per day) then I never hear the valve.
Many heart patients are on other meds that may remove water for the purpose of lowering BP, so perhaps this is what is causing you to have hemoconcentration and may be causing the valve to click where you can hear it. I currently have normal BP and only take Warfarin. Perhaps that is why I can hydrate myself well and never hear any noise coming from the heart valve.


Robin says on April 21st, 2012 at 12:59 am

I am 68 and had the aortic valve replaced 2 months ago with the “Miss Piggy” valve. I am so glad to find this posting. The pain I had was horrible. My breasts and chest hurt so bad, it felt like they were on fire. Once the pain went mostly away, I still can’t wear a bra, as the scar hurts. I have noticed for about a month now, this heart pounding. A big Thump.. that rocks my chest. Someone offered the idea that the heart is adjusting to having a working valve, and might be re-calibrating the amount of muscle to contract. that does sound logical to me. I feel for you all that have the panic attacks. I have been on anti depression medication for years, so hopefully that will ward off any attacks. I am continuing to take my blood pressure medications, and only a baby asprine as my doc.said I only needed the blood thinner for 6 weeks. Yeah.
Because of your postings I have a better understanding of what all has happened to me. Slight memory loss, but huge skin changes. More wrinkles and old lady skin. But hey.. better than the alternatives.
I also noticed a real plus, no more swollen tummy and ankles. I am looking forward to good years ahead. God Bless our doctors and the science community that has given us all a chance to live longer and better.


Dianne Wright says on April 26th, 2012 at 9:44 am

Hi Adam:
I had a mitral valve replacement (titanium) on 12-12-2011 at the Hillcrest Campus of the CCF. Dr. Marc Botham is just amazing there, super, super surgeon and individual. I told him about your book, he was looking it up on line to order as I left his office. If you have time you need to see the Hillcrest facility, new and very personable. Your book has been a mainstay for me, just looked up something last night after 4 months out. I’m still really tired and legs seem weak, patience is NOT one of my virtues. Wish I could be at CCF when you are there. Take care. Dianne


Tom says on April 27th, 2012 at 12:32 am

I am sitting here almost 4 months after my surgery that repaired an aneurysm on the ascending aorta & replaced the valve reading the other postings and having a sense of relief. I woke up with the pounding going on, loud and pretty fast . I thought I had a bad dream but I couldn’t get the beat to slow down but I am encouraged to read these other messages because it felt weird.
I have another question about the sternum healing. My chest is still sore to the touch. I have no signs of infection, no fever or swelling or redness but it is still sore. I had an echo scheduled but had to cancel as the technician presses pretty hard on the chest to get the best picture…in fact, it is how they found the aneurysm 6 months ago. How long is the sternum sore to the touch.


sharon says on April 27th, 2012 at 6:24 am

Hi tom i am 12months post op and still have sternum tenderness when sneezing or uf i pick up something a little too heavy it certainly lets me know.i think after open heart surgery there will always be a degree of chest weakness just like if you have had a broken leg ,arm ect. Regards sharon


rose filice says on April 27th, 2012 at 8:52 am

I would ask the Dr to take a look and be sure that your chest healed in good alignment.My Doctor was a little taken aback some 4 months later to find I have a sternal non-union now, it did not heal together and there is quite a bit of soreness when pressure is applied.I read over and over- full recovery is as long as a year. Yes we are GLAD to be alive but all roads are NOT smooth and easy ones. The pounding seems to be quite common and yes, the Dr. does NOT need a stethoscope to listen to my heart beat , but neither do I and I don’t find that a plus! You are in my prayer list among so many of us for patience and continued recovery and good heart health! God bless you!


Barb says on April 29th, 2012 at 9:04 am

I had my aortic valve replaced almost 4 weeks ago. I also get the pounding heartbeat which moves my head when I am relaxing in a recliner or in bed. I am on Lopressor 25mg, taking 1/2 in am and other 1/2 after dinner. Dr says I may be on lopressor for the rest of my life. I don’t like taking it and wonder if others have been on it and have successfully been weaned off it. My heart rate will go up into the upper 80s and low 90s at times. Blood pressure is running around 110/75 now. Has anyone had problems with Lopressor?


rose Marie Filice says on April 29th, 2012 at 11:38 am

20 years ago i had an aortal dissection repair and began a lifelong association with Lopressor- about 25mg to start. This year I had to have an aortic valve replaced and an aortic root replaced. I had been on 100 mg Lopressor,now I am on 150mg. I kind of don’t remember life without it. It has it side effects, different for all- for me, it’s drowsy- a little dopey and leg circulation? But the pounding is indeed lessened by it to some degree and it slows your heart rate so you might get more mileage out of your new valve? THAT means a lot over 10 years or better? You have my deepest empathy for your recent surgery and recovery, it is not without side effects I am finding.May your recovery be blessed!


sharon says on May 4th, 2012 at 1:31 am

Hi i have been on lopressor for 9yrs after getting a tissue valve i only had a small dose am and pm 1/2 a 50mg.last year i had my aortic valve replaced again and the ascending aorta.i also have a heartbeat was irregular so i have been increased to 50mg twice daily.i dont seem to notice the skips and irregularities as much so i feel its working.however my side effects are cold feet,headache,nausea,diahorrea and im sooo tierdall the time.some days i have trouble concentrating and get moody for no reason.i dont no if my symptoms are from lopressor but they are more noticeable since ive been taking the higher dosage. I feel its a small price to pay .lifedoes gets better as the weeks pass.ive had 3 ops now so im a little impatient.hope your recovery is speedy and you feel better soon.i felt crappy for 4months but it all was worth it.


John Hartmann says on July 12th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Yes! I am experiencing the pounding sensation right now at my desk. Also when sitting in my chair at home and lying in bed. I’m 55 and had bovine aortic valve replacement coupled with aortic aneurysm repair Aug 3rd 2011. I’m surprised it’s only now starting to bother me. I’d like to think it’s because I’m healing and therefore pumping better. It wakes me up at night and sometimes I feel very unsettled, like something bad is about to happen, but it never does. Reading all these reports has helped put me at ease about the pounding.


Tom says on July 12th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

It has been 6 months since my surgery for ascending aorta aneurysm & valve replacement. Most days I feel pretty good probably as good as I did before the surgery. I still am awakened by rapid, pounding heart rate. My cardiologist gave me a Zio monitor for 10 days which recorded 3 or 4 of these events. He was concerned about “a-fib” but the monitor recorded no problems. He saw the rapid pulse records and stated they were not related to my heart but possibly to a sleep problem such as apnea ( which I never have had) or to anxiety from post op dreams or concerns ……….I am not aware of any of these problems but was relieved to hear it wasn’t heart related…..I write this because it may applicable to others.


Barb says on July 12th, 2012 at 10:47 pm

I also had the pounding heart after aortic valve replacement with a bovine valve on 4/3/2012. Maybe I am just getting used to it now, but it is not as bad. I am pretty much doing all the things I did before, but my heart is still beating very fast. One day my resting heart rate was around 100 or just below all day. The next day it was downsome. I wore a holter monitor and was told I had normal sinus rhythm and my heart rate averaged 82 bpm. Most days I am near that or a little higher. My cardiologist tells me that it will take 6 months to 2 years for the heart to settle into its’ regular rhythm. Now I just don’t worry much about it and have gone on with doing what I want. I will keep an eye on the rate if I feel that it might be high, but otherwise I have my life back….I am doing cardiac rehab 2 days a week and playing 18 holes of golf another day. I’m generally not out of breath and feel good most days. I consider myself lucky and blessed….especially if it keeps up this way.


rose Marie Filice says on July 20th, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I had an aortic root replacement and tissue valve done Nov 17 and it has been UP and DOWN in recovery- I have a non-union of the sternum and that has it’s own set of thumping going on. I would agree it does take many months for the heart to “calm down” I do not have nearly so many rapid heart beating episodes as i did..Mine is better than 3 months ago and gosh I hope it will be BETTER 3 months from now too.May your recovery continue smoothly, one day at a time!! I say a prayer for ALL of us each day-


Phil says on October 8th, 2012 at 11:06 am

I had my biscupid aortic valve replaced on August 15, 2012 with the St. Jude Trifecta valve. I also had the Epicor Maze procedure to prevent AFIB. I was already aware of my heartbeat prior to surgery and much more so now. The larger “thump” of my beat is after the main (ventricular) contraction. This is a new sensation since surgery. It seems to be timed with the valve closing. I’m sure this valve closes much more firmly than my natural valve did. With time, my heart beat has become less noticeable. My resting heart rate is much higher than before (~90), but I have been told by my doctors that this should come down with time. Best wishes to all.


Cara Angelina says on February 27th, 2013 at 1:29 am

I am 29/F and I have had 3 open heart surgeries. My 1st was a valve repair because I have mitral valve prolapse. My heart felt normal after that surgery but my 2nd surgery was to prevent aortic dissection so they had to go in and wrap my aorta with a plastic substance to prevent it from getting any bigger and after that surgery my heart never felt the same. I now have a strong and hard pounding heart beat and I can feel it in my throat down to my stomach. When I breath in it pounds even harder and everyone who feels it is like “oh my gosh I cant believe its beating so hard!” Its very annoying, I cant over exert myself or else it gets worse. I take metoprolol medicine for it but that dosen’t always help. My third surgery was to have a blood clot removed from my aorta but my heart still pounds away… =/


Barb says on February 27th, 2013 at 10:03 am

My surgery was last April and I did experience the loud and rapid heart rate after it. 10 months later, after also receiving a pacemaker and having a parathyroid operation, I am feeling like myself again. My heart rate is in the low 70s (normal for me) and I feel strong again. I was told it would take 6 months to 2 years for my heart to settle down. I think it has done so at this point. I returned to playing golf 3 months after the heart surgery. I do question whether I needed the pacemaker or whether the parathyroid tumor was the culprit, but I won’t know until I have several readings of the pacemaker to see its usage. Time will tell on that.


janet wayne says on April 8th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I am glad I read all the comments about loud heart beats I have the same problem since I had open heart surgery.I was getting depressed from the loud beats .Now I feel better since its normal after surgery.
Thank You.


Loretta says on April 12th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I thought I already did this, but obviously it didn’t work. My son is in Jacksonville FL and is 31 years old. He had a stroke with headache and it saved his life. He had developed endocarditis and after 6 weeks of IV therapy had to have open heart surgery to repair his valve. Now he is experiencing rapid heart rhythm (up to 177 on occasion) and yesterday went to the ER and was admitted for tests. The cardiologist told him all is well and his heart is healing…his heart rate goes from 84 to 134 in the blink of an eye and he states that he can feel his heart thumping against his chest and his chest is tight. Does this happen to anyone else?? he is worried and scared and now so am I. Is this really normal? Does it happen to anyone else? Please, I am sending him this link to read this blog, think it might help him. Thanks.


Brian says on April 12th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Loretta, while I am not a Dr., I had the same issue and it is somewhat common. In most all cases, after about 6-8 weeks the heart calms down and goes back to normal beat. I remember being scared half to death thinking I had some odd permananent damage. Without getting too technical, the scarring/healing process creates irritation all the way down to a molecular level that intermittently interrupts the electrical impulses of the heart and causes the heart to beat harder. My doctors NEVER explained this to me and as a result it caused me no end to my worry !!!!!

This can manifest as skipped beats, rapid heart rate, irregular and rapid heart rate or all of the above, none of which are typically life threatening if treated properly with blood thinners or other anti-arrythmic meds. Mine began 3 hours after being discharged and I had off and on runs to the emergency room out of sheer panic (3 to be exact) during the next 6 weeks and each time they were less severe. Now I never have any issues other than occasional anxiety worrying if they will ever return someday unexpectedly (knock on wood).


Loretta says on April 19th, 2013 at 10:09 am

Thank you Brian for your reply. It helps to know this is more common than uncommon. Since I live in NJ and he is in FL, it has been nerve wrecking worrying if it would happen again or be dangerous when it happened. He has seen the dr. and blood pressure medication was increased fo the duration of the healing process. I am very grateful that I found this website, it has helped ease a mother’s mind..:)

Thanks again and I iam recommending this site to anyone who has these issues. I think you guys are wonderful and I have sent the link to my son recommending he read some of these questions and answers and help him deal with his own anxieties for post surgery and recovery.


Tom Foy says on April 28th, 2013 at 8:47 am

My heart is racing & awakening me at night . my surgery was 16 months ago has anyone else experienced this issue so long after their open heart surgery….. a few weeks,I heard a pop lifting a 25 lb box over my head .I experienced no pain but since then I have had this heart racing at night and it goes along with elevated bp… heart rate is at 125 beats per minute ,blood pressure at 135/95 …both readings are much higher than my normal readings and this happens only while I sleep. It takes awhile for my heart to slow down but it doesn’t get back to normal for a long time……..


Jane says on May 30th, 2013 at 8:17 am

Hi I had an AVR and aneurysm repair in June 2009. All of the symptoms I am reading I have also been through. My heartbeat seems most prominent when lying down if after having a shower. I still get some dizzy spells. Does anyone else have nerve damage in left arm post surgery?


Odi Belchevski says on July 1st, 2013 at 11:44 am

I am 62 years old that was always healthy and strong.
I have researched the Webb and talked to many people / doctors about my situation.
After surgery my heart was beating normal except occasionally it will add extra beats or flutter.I was prescribed ‘amiodioran ‘ which made my situation worse I had to discontinue it.After about 2.5 months,the skipping/ adding beats and fluttering were gone.but I noticed that my heart was pounding very strong, like very loud ‘drums beating’ in my ears.(It will shake a telephone placed on my chest )
I am a scientist / physics and have tried to figure out what was happening as my cardiologist did not have a clear answer.
I have reasoned the following situation / reasons:

1. My native valve was replaced with a tissue animal valve with a diameter of 25 mm.
My opening at the base of the aorta/ valve was originally measured at 28 mm ( in a stenosis- tight state)I thought it is possible that in order to provide sufficient blood to my arteries it was beating harder like a ‘pump’ with extra demand.

Now it is 6 months since surgery.The situation has improved a little

2.The base / root of my aorta was removed ( although I was told that it was strong and in good shape.This may have disturbed my ‘natural built’ of this part and there is no muffling of the sound.However over time the body will naturally grow back some tissue and will try to normalize.

3. Fungus / bacteria/ etc increase- overgrowth in the blood with sticks to the prosthetic valve( which is a simply dried piece of skin that cannot ‘defend’ itself ,making it narrow and causing the heart to beat much stronger in order to push enough blood out.
This is my biggest concern now.Many heart operated patients ,due to antibiotics and other strong medications get overgrowth of fungi etc like various Candida, causing a mild periocarditis that comes and goes.Most of the Doctors are not trained to detect / test or diagnose this situations,and tend to go ‘around’ the problem.
I do have indications of Candida overgrowth,and I am trying to get my doctors involved. I should have more energy now that before ,but I do not .Manny times now I feel very tired and crave for sweets all the time.It is difficult to prove the Candida overgrowth in the blood because the Candida is ‘smart’.
It becomes resistant to many drugs it mutates and/or’ hides’ releases ‘eggs’-spores that are very hard to ‘kill’ – eliminate etc.The various candida can even ‘release’ a form of insulin that affects the blood sugar,causing more craving for sugar and various sweet pastries etc.

I have not given up yet.


Tom says on July 1st, 2013 at 8:49 pm

It has been 11/2 years since my surgery for a bicuspid aortic valve and a aneurysm on the descending aorta artery. Heart pounding still occurs but less frequently. I have a heart monitor for this and what I would describe as rapid heart rate .The cardiologist told me after reading the results that the events were caused by a tachiocardia ( sp) & were benign …..these events have diminished. My valve from St Jude’s is bovine/synthetic ……..hang in there…………………


Dan says on July 24th, 2013 at 9:27 am

Hi Everyone. This is my 3rd surgery and I am exactly four weeks out. This time, I had an aortic root aneurysm replacement with dacron and AVR with and EC pericardial valve. The surgeon also had to use some extra dacron to lengthen some short cardiac arteries.The previous surgery five years ago was a AVR after the Ross procedure failed. And obviously, the first procedure was the Ross procedure 17 years ago.

I’ve found that for me, every surgery has its own distinguishing characteristic. For example, my first, the Ross, resulted in vocal cord paralysis for six weeks! The second resulted in a diaphragm paralysis for a couple of weeks that resulted in accessory muscle breathing. This time around, it was a short bout of night sweats and cold sweats. But the biggest issue so far, which was the one that brought me to this site, was the extra strong heart beats. They subside if I breath out or if I don’t take very deep breaths. They are better if I lie flat. My cardiologist says it can be a result of my pericardium being inflamed from the multiple surgeries and not yet able to buffer the beating. I will see the surgeon in a week. Over the phone, he says it can be a number of things: the dacron graft can be transmitting the beat in a more pronounced way. He says he can’t be more sure until he examines me next week. He’s the only doctor out of the three that I spoke to who has given the possibility that this strong beating sensation may never go away. I’ll update this post after my appointment with the surgeon.


Elizabeth J says on August 24th, 2013 at 8:40 am

I am almost three months out from open heart surgery to remove a benign tumor inside my left atrium (myxoma), minimally invasive. I have found this site because I experience the same heart pounding at night, especially on my left side. The strange thing is, my only symptom before I was diagnosed with the Myxoma was this throbbing in my neck and chest night. I knew there was something wrong with me, and I felt like I was going to die in the middle of the night. So once I was diagnosed with the tumor, I was confident that the symptoms were related. I was hoping that once it was removed the throbbing would go away, but recently it has actually has gotten worse. The Cardiologist said my heart is fine. But now I’m experiencing flutters during the day. I will probably go back to the cardiologist if it doesn’t get better. I have noticed a connection with dehydration making it worse. This site has really made me feel better and not to worry so much, knowing that it’s so common. I’m still confused as to what causes the pounding, since I had it prior to surgery. But at least it doesn’t sound serious, After reading all the posts on the site.


Tom says on August 24th, 2013 at 2:10 pm

The heart pounding experience has declined over the 18 months since my surgery,hasn’t quite gone away. When I mentioned this experience to my cardiologist a few months after the surgery ( an aneurysm on the descending root of the aorta & a valve replacement) he said that your heart is a muscle & it will take time to heal…..made sense to me .


jerry says on September 4th, 2013 at 11:25 pm

yes-same here. the pounding is driving me crazy. only 6 months ago and swelling in my upper chest. anybody know a good lawyer? only 53 and not the same person.


Tom says on September 5th, 2013 at 7:33 am

I had no swelling …had some popping in the rib cage for awhile but that has subsided ,thankfully…but I know what you mean about the pounding , hard to describe to some one who hasn’t experienced it….. I used metropolol to slow down the rapid & loud pounding ,a small dosage & it worked great within a few minutes …if they haven’t given you that med,it may be worth asking your doctor


janet says on September 9th, 2013 at 8:24 am

after i had my bovine replacement, i too noticed i had a lot of heart palpatations. can anyone tell me why. also, i am so worried my bovine replacement is going to fail. what can you tell me about this. i am worried everyday that it will fail. how will i know it is failing? i am 65 years old. i am so worried. i never had the palpations until i got my cow valve. anyone?


Barbara says on September 9th, 2013 at 9:48 am

I had a bovine replacement on 4/3/2012, at 68 1/2 years old. After that I had a lot of heart palpitations and a heart rate of 95+. I also worried about the valve failing. A couple months after the surgery, I had a heart block and my dr took me off the Lopressor I was put on by the surgeon. In October, I had another heart block and had a pacemaker put in. In January, I had a parathyroid tumor removed. I don’t know if the parathyroid caused any of the problems and can’t be bothered worrying about it anymore. I live in Florida and it is hot and humid during the summer. This spring, I decided to put in a stone walk and to build some stone walls to terrace a hilly area of my property. My dr only told me to be careful not to deplete my electrolytes. I drink coconut water or g2, etc. When my body has had enough, it tells me! Usually, I stop right away. Soon I will be 70. The heart no longer pounds, my heart rate is down to the low 70s (normal for me) and my blood pressure is usually around 118/78. The stone work is done. I play golf and now play about as well as I ever did. I am enjoying my life and appreciate almost every day. We received a gift. Look at it that way and stop worrying. I have heard of people walking around with tissue valves that were put in 25 years ago. If I last another 25 years….wahoo! Should the valve need to be replaced, they are doing them through the artery now and will have that pretty much perfected before this valve goes bad (hopefully). Just think of how lucky we are. When you stop worrying and go on with your life, the heart will calm down. My dr said it would take 6 months to 2 years for it to calm down. When he told me about the electrolytes, he said ‘anyone with a heart condition……’ . I looked at him in surprise….Heart condition? Me? Oh…..yeah, I can see where he thinks that. Take that attitude and stop worrying, you are going to be fine for a long time. We are so lucky!


jreiff says on September 9th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

thank you for responding. I try not to worry, but it is something that is always on my mind. I can’t stand the heat at all, like now, in ohio, we have been in almost the 90′s for the past 2 weeks. it is worse than in the heat of the summer.
I get dehyrated all the time, I ‘m so glad you told me about that. I will try and drink more gatorade. that would never have occurred to me. thank you for responding. you have a good outlook on life. if I have half of what you have I will be good. thank you


jerry says on September 9th, 2013 at 7:00 pm

i was told nothing and the beating hard and loud noises in my chest is worst now at 7 months down the road. help-i need a good lawyer!!!


Randi says on October 15th, 2013 at 6:32 am

I am 4 years post valve sparing aortic root to arch replacement and it’s the same as day one… Like someone said above, I hear it beating in my pillow. My husband can hear it when we are going to sleep. I count my own pulse. I can hear my heart beats echoing off the bathroom stalls in restrooms. My babies sleep soundly on my chest. (Which is a plus!) Tons more examples but I’ll leave it at that!


rose filice says on October 15th, 2013 at 9:32 am

Thanks Randi- as I type here with my head bobbing to the beat of my heart thumping against my chest, I know just what you are talking about. Coping some days is tough.Thank you for sharing! I have found some peace of mind with an ipod in my ears to help when I am doing routine tasks and feel disturbed.Yoga breathing when the irritation level is too much.


Dan says on October 15th, 2013 at 11:26 am

Hi Everyone. The last time I posted I was 4 weeks out. Now I am 16 weeks out. My surgeon is still convinced the pounding heartbeats on inspiration may decrease in intensity over time. My cardiologist had thought it may have been pericarditis until he did the ultrasound.

I have found that I have good days and bad days. When I have had the perfect night’s sleep, perfect diet, and not much stress, the heart pounding sensation is decreased slightly. If not, then fatigue really hits me hard and the pounding seems worse than ever.

Overall, in the past 12 weeks since my last post, I feel the sensation has gone down about 15%. It is not enough to be a dramatic change but it is enough to be noticeably better.


Andrew Pearson says on January 12th, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Hello, I am about 18 months post op from a Bengal procedure and aortic valve replacement. I have the harsh, pounding heartbeat mentioned by so many others, and recently have been suffering from lack of sleep and double heartbeats. I am very relieved to read that so many others have the same experience, but I am not sure how to address the sleep issue. I can barely function at work. I just got a cpap machine for apnea, and I really cannot sleep with the machine very well. My theory was that lack of oxygen was causing the arrhythmias and so I tried to fix the apnea. I am at a loss for how to get help so I am going to go back to my cardiologist for ideas. If anyone has had success addressing sleep issues with irregular beats, I could use some advice! Thanks


Rose says on January 14th, 2014 at 3:16 am

My husband recently had an aortic valve replacement and we have noticed that his carotid artery seems “ballooned” and visibly pulses with each heartbeat. Has anyone else had this problem and what were your experiences with it… Thank you


Tom says on January 14th, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I have posted before, it has been two years since my aortic aneurysm & aortic valve surgery…. after surgery my heart rate got up to 120 bpm, very noticeable & troubling. It would happen at night and awaken me, what made it really unusual is I could not get it to slow down until I took a small dose of metropolol….I told my cardiologist about the experiences and he said to me that your heart is a muscle and it will take time to heal , also he mentioned that the the pericardium membrane that insulated the heartbeat noise before the surgery was cut and the insulating effect was gone which made the beats seem louder ..this wasn’t too comforting but I believed him & except for an occasional episode the pounding has subsided.
I read another posting about sleep apnea causing the problem of rapid heart rate which I also investigated but was advised that if I had not had that problem before it was unlikely to occur after the surgery or at least there wasn’t anything about the surgery that would cause that to start….


Tim says on January 23rd, 2014 at 11:23 pm

This is my first post. At age 40 I had my 66% back flowing Mitral Valve repaired thru the sternum at the Mayo in 2005. I could not sleep the entire first week of recovery in their hospital and temporarily lost over 20 pounds. Their doctors said the repair could last another 40 years. I am so happy they could repair it and not replace it so I don’t need blood thinner maintenance. My home town doctor performs an echocardiogram every 2 years now. So far, the repair has not leaked. Before the surgery I could not walk up a flight of stairs but now I am able to exercise at a reduced level due to only having one functioning leaflet. Now, I am careful to listen to my body because I fear that over exercise is what caused that valve’s cords to fail in the first place. I remember a short pain in my heart and extreme shortness of breath after running at home only a few months before discovering that I had a bad murmur that sounded like lub-shh. I have experienced some of the same post op loud beating symptoms that have been reported in other posts. I am careful to take antibiotics before all dental visits. Good dental habits are very important for all heart valve patients. I am sorry to say that my retired aunt had 2 heart valves replaced with mechanical valves but after only 10 years of Warfarin use she lost her last of many battles with internal bleeding.


mary duffy says on February 15th, 2014 at 2:13 pm

I too had surgery on my heart which has left me with a thumping sound in my chest which seems to go up to my throat. I cant get used to it especial at night when i am trying to sleep. Its with me all the time and I joke with my husband that I wish it would stop but I know if it did I wouldn’t be here


Tim says on February 17th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I began walking and jogging within six months after my Mitral valve repair. The exercise slowed my resting heart rate and quieted the loud beating sounds from my chest. I have gone and beaten normal runners in 5K races to regain my self confidence. I no longer feel the need to race because that has allowed me to quit worrying about my heart beating every moment. My left atrium had been stretched out from my prolapsed valve and I was told that was likely permanent. However, after 5 years or more I am also happy to report that my atrium has returned to its normal size.


Stephanie says on February 18th, 2014 at 12:24 am

Hi everyone!

I am a 19 year old cardiac patient, only 3 weeks post-op after valve
replacement surgery for bicuspic aortic valve stenosis.
This pounding sensation has significantly increased after surgery and caused
a great deal of anxiety. Although i have read countless posts on this
page, (which have been very helpful), I still wonder if i should be concerned
and possibly speak to my cardiologist.

Has anyone else spoken with a medical professional about this and
if so, what did they say?

Im really glad I came across this page, very comforting to know that
so many people are experiencing the same symptoms. Hope everyone
is doing well.


Tom says on February 18th, 2014 at 9:57 am


I was thankful to come across this website as I had exactly the same problem that you describe. I had a bicuspid aortic valve & aorta aneurysm surgically repaired and the pounding ,especially at night , would wake me up & wouldn’t stop. I took a small dose of metropolol which worked very well. I did ask my cardiologist about the pounding & he replied that a heart is a muscle & takes time to heal but other than that there was nothing he suggested . After several months, the pounding did subside. My only other problem was some intense pain thru my upper chest & shoulders, it lasted several minutes but that too has pretty much stopped. Hang in there……


Tom Riccardi says on May 12th, 2014 at 7:10 pm

HI Stephanie

I am 7 weeks out of open heart for aortic anuerysm repair and aortic valve replacement. My heart beats so hard and loud it is quite disturbing. I have asked the cardiac surgeon, my cardiologist and my GP about it; they all say the same thing… it should go away in time. Im almost 2 months with this now, other people have thankfully had it subside faster. I hope this helps as well…. God Bless



Barb says on May 13th, 2014 at 5:30 pm

It did take quite a while for me, but I don’t even think about it anymore. My heart rate and blood pressure are back to normal pretty much for me. I do feel like I am retaining water or I am just gaining more weight. The weight has been a problem for me. After my valve replacement, I had a parathyroid tumor which had to be removed. After that, my thyroid decided not to work as it had done before and I ended up on thyroid medication. That is all I am on. However, the weight is very worrysome to me and I feel tired and bloated all the time. I am sure your pounding heart will calm down in some time. My dr told me it would take 6 months to 2 years for my heart to settle down. It has now been 2 years.


Dan says on May 15th, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Stephanie, I am a doctor as well as patient. Depending on the extent of your procedure, the pounding/tapping sensations may dissipate over time. For some people, it takes a few months. For others, it may tale a couple of years. For some, it may never totally go away. I am almost 11 months post-op. This was my 3rd go-around. I was 29 when I had my first operation. I am now 47. I have 2 different sensations. the first is a noticeable stronger heartbeat. The second is a thumping behind the sternum upon taking a deep breath or in certain positions. It can be maddening at times. In the early stages, there is no shame in using medications to mitigate the physical and psychological effects. Ultimately, you have to get reassurance from your doctors and from within yourself that your life-threatening heart issue has been repaired. Your valve should last for a long time. Know that when it is time to change your valve, many years from now, there will be greater advancements in medicine that will help you to continue on for a very long time. Life is full of ups and downs. This is a very tough time for you and everyone else here. But I’m sure everyone here has a greater understanding of and appreciation for life than most people. Be comforted with the knowledge that you are not alone. For now, rest and heal. Then, go out there and enjoy your life.


marina says on May 31st, 2014 at 11:17 am

Hi iv just had open heart surgery and im experiencing the same feeling its a bit concerning at times as I wasn’t told it would be like this but I certainly know I have a heart now


Will says on May 31st, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Hey everyone, It’s comforting to see i\’m not the only one who has gone threw this. April 17, 2014 was my date, passed with flying colors. I have the pounding in my upper chest when I deep breath in, sometimes feel a strong pulse in my neck. Sometimes I get a very strong tingly sensation in my left breast area last’s maybe about a min “no I don’t have man boobs” lol. My other concern is, at any given time my inside bicep right of left arm, either the nerve or artery goes numb with a 10 for pain and tracks down to my forearm , but goes away after a few mints. Oh another thing my chest seems to sag can i tone it back up? . Any thoughts? Thanks everyone and good luck!


Tom says on June 2nd, 2014 at 8:33 am

I am not sure i would have been prepared any better for the heart pounding if I had been told. I had open heart surgery 2 1/2 years ago and after 6 months or so the pounding lessened, although it has not stopped entirely. My cardiologist prescribed metropolol ,a small dosage, and, all I can say, it work almost immediately whenever the pounding started. I still use it occasionally . I asked my doctor about the pounding & all he could tell me is that my heart is a muscle and it takes time for muscles to heal especially after the “trauma” of open heart surgery. That made sense to me. I just waited for the healing to occur,used the metropolol when necessary and things have calmed down a lot…………. good luck


mary says on June 3rd, 2014 at 3:43 am

Im glad I was not the only one to have had these symptoms as I thought it was just me that had this loud heart beat after heart surgery.I only wish that someone had give me some idea of what I was to experience, but no one did not even the surgeon
At first I thought the noise would last for just a week or so but after nearly six months its still here. I dont think it will ever go away. I try to get used to it but it is annoying at times. My husbands reply to my worry was to say well, if you don’t hear it then its time to worry.
So I suppose I will have to put up with it…


Tim says on June 16th, 2014 at 9:46 pm

My aortic valve replacement was 8 months ago and the pounding seems worse. I was hoping that it would subside. I’m still holding out for the one year mark which others have suggested might be a time when it will seem different. This was my second valve replacement. The first was a tissue valve and it was smooth and quiet until it began leaking at 11 years. I had it replaced with a St Jude mechanical valve along with a root replacement, aortic graft, etc. There is a lot of controversy about which valve type increases one’s longevity when you’re in your 40s or 50s.

When the thumping gets bad, it actually hurts like something is gnawing at my sternum from the inside. Does anyone else have pain with the noise and vibration? Anybody who felt better after a year but not so good up until that point?


Brian says on July 2nd, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Wow. We all sound the same! Aortic valve (artificial, St. JUDE model). 9/11/12 @ Brigham and Womens in Boston. Same symptoms and feelings/sensations. When it’s quiet I sound like a clock. At night I use a sound machine on the rain storm setting. I’ve gotten very used to everything written here. It takes time and relaxation techniques. Good luck and best of health to all if us!


Tim says on July 15th, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Thanks Brian. It feels “so wrong” and abnormal sometimes that its hard to believe its doing its job.


Matthew says on July 29th, 2014 at 10:19 pm

I could not have described it any better myself. Especially the breathing in part exactly what happens to me.


Cynthia says on August 5th, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Hi, I just want to thank you all for your comments on this matter. I am seven weeks post-op for an ascending aortic root and valve replacement which, while not an emergency procedure, was diagnosed and operated on in a three week time span after a routine echocardiogram for a well functioning bi-cuspid aortic valve. So, quite the shock to learn I needed immediate surgery. For the last two weeks have I had this maddening strong heartbeat. Like others, mine is noticeably bigger when breathing in, you can place your hand on my chest and feel the difference! I quit taking metroprolol three weeks ago and now that I have read these posts suspect that is contributing to the feeling. But, I hated the beta blockers so will need to discuss trade-offs with my doctor. Like many, my cardiologist had not heard of the issue so I was planning to call the heart surgeon; so thanks for calming my concerns!


Tom Riccardi says on August 5th, 2014 at 10:18 pm


I had the same procedure you did, I stopped taking metroprolol (toprol) after 3 months because I too hated the beta blocker and it negatively affected my taste buds. I am now 4+ months out of surgery and the pounding is there, sometimes really bad, sometimes not so bad. I think after all the data I could gather, this eventually goes away. My thought is that its going to be a year.. this surgery and recovery is certainly not fun and its not for the timid. But hang in there and if your gut and body tell you not to take a drug that you dont really need, dont take it. Excercise is really important, do as much as your body will allow… I have pushed myself very hard and it is paying off in spades. God Bless and stay tough Tom


Tim says on August 5th, 2014 at 11:55 pm


I’m 10 months from my surgery which was a redo aortic valve replacement (mechanical valve for my prior pig valve) with root replacement and grafting of aortic arch. I too have crazy pounding that follows the pattern you described, worse with inhalation, worse with laying on my side (especially the left). Do you have a mechanical valve? Was this your first operation? How long ago was your surgery?

My research and thinking on this over the last 10 months, suggests this is related to the valve in a conduit (Dacron replacement of the first part of the aorta). I had nothing like this after my first surgery. Sometimes it feels so strong that I am convinced this is the end, my heart will explode. Every day that passes, makes this seem less a concern. It does help me to share with others with the same issues so thank you for your post.



Michael says on August 11th, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Bentall 4 months ago. I can hear beating very clearly as well as clicking (valve). I get the same sensation you describe when I inhale heavily. My cardiologist says it’s normal.

I was getting ready to go for a walk with my wife when she asked me if my iPod was already on. I looked puzzled and told her, ‘no.’ She responded, ‘but I can hear the beat.’ I smiled and told her that was just my heart.


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