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

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

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Dave Brunkhorst

    I have the exact same thing going on. I feel like I’m making enough noise for everyone in the room to hear it. My heart bangs away and my valve clicks. The sound is piped into my head, loud and clear. When I get up at night to use the biff, and go back to bead, it is hard to get back to sleep with all the noise.

  • Zoey

    I went into the ER 4 months ago with left neck, shoulder and arm pain along with heart palpitations. As it turned out I was having a massive heart attack requiring emergency open heart (long incision) valve replacement surgery in addition to inserting a stint. I was told if I had waited just 5 minutes longer, I wouldn’t be here to tell the story. With that in mind, I also feel the sensation everyone is talking about while laying on my left side. A kind of rubbing from the motion of my heart beating. I have to say it’s a comforting to know it’s doing its job and I thankfully don’t have any pain associated with it, however it can be pretty distracting to a good night’s sleep. If it gets too weird feeling, I turn over to my right side and that seems to lessen the symptoms enough to sleep. Good luck to all and hang in there!! We’re still here!! 🙂

  • Rhonda Summerfield

    I was about to go for surgery in two weeks but cancelled it this morning after reading that the kidneys could fail and I could have to go on dialysis, I have had both ureters re implanted 40 years ago and only have half kidney function and a bladder that only empties half way already so figured this would happen to me and I would rather be dead than live like that. Also I may have to have a pacemaker. The surgeon said he would give me bovine valves to prevent me from having to take warfrin but if they have to put a pacemaker in that would mean warfrin and I am an allergic person that can’t even take vitamins as they make me feel confused. I do not take any of the medication they put me on as the meds made me fall over and hurt myself from the dizziness they caused me. The dizzy feeling is gone and I even helped wash my two big dogs yesterday and felt normal afterwards. I was thinking that if I watched my diet which is vegan and drank a lot of distilled water which I am doing now that eventually things would improve for me but Dr John Mcdougal who is into health has since told me that diet couldn’t improve the valves. I really don’t know what to do as I want quality of life or no life at all. I have a very good surgeon and am going to the best heart hospital in Queensland.

  • Colleen Hurley

    Hello I am new here, but a Cardio patient. I clicked on the link about being able to feel your heart after valve surgery. I can feel my heart beating “most” of the time …..and I haven’t had any surgery.

    However, what I’m really curious about is the – graphic of the beating heart- in the article. Maybe it’s just the graphic. But if you watch it, sometimes the upper half, seems to be out of sinc with the bottom half.

    Because I’m like …..omg THAT’S IT …….I have my regular beat…. I have my PVCs, and my Sinus Tachycardia, and then here lately, more and more …..I have this weird flopping sensation, and when I saw the graphic…..all I can say is “that’s it”…..what is that ? I have an appointment with my Cardio doc tomorrow, after 6 long years due to not having any insurance. And this would really be helpful to me.

  • andyrwebman

    It’s been over a year and after a fair while not noticing it or occasionally noticing it, it suddenly seems stronger. I am weaning myself off Bisoprolol (down to 1.25mg twice daily and shaving bits off the tablets to gradually lower the dose even further).

    The key thing is that it seems worse when my pulse is slow rather than fast – and my pulse is still nicely down around 64bpm most of the time. I wonder therefore if I’m feeling the loss of Bisoprolol’s blood pressure lowering effects.

    If so, the solution could be to find something that lowers blood pressure – there are lots of natural ingredients (like pomegranate and bonito peptides) which can do this without having to resort to ACE inhibitor medication.

    Anyone else tried this?

  • Isabella

    Before aortic valve replacement plus fixing 2 holes in my heart, my heart was pounding, I could feel and hear every beat. My ears picked up the “swish” of my heart murmur and drove me nuts.

    I didn’t have insurance so waited to get medicare and a supplemental then I went to doc (just retired @ 67 yrs. old). Cardiologist said I had maybe 24 hrs. to live and if I had a heart attack, they couldn’t save me. That afternoon I was in the hospital. After the surgery, my heart was louder than ever, thought my heart would jump out of my skin and still feel it down in my abdomen and up to my ears (2 months out of surgery). I had a bovine replacement. Blood pressure medications don’t help the noise.

    Still very scary but doc says everything looks really great. I am in cardiac rehabilitation and starting to get a little bit of strength back. I’m on oxygen at night and the sound of the oxygen machine helps drown out the noise so I can sleep. During the day it helps to stay busy so I’m not concentrating on the pounding,

    I totally believe in the Lord Jesus Christ so He must have something else for me to do before I go on. I guess this is just something to endure until we see His glory.

  • joan rivera

    yes i had the same thing blood in urine and i too am on warafin and diltizam

    i think its my meds as well .

  • Carolyn Demers

    I too have this terrible pumping which I tend to hear more at night. He is like a loud stalker that won’t let up. I had my operation in Oct 2014 and it seemed to go away for quite some time. Now in Dec 2015 it has returned with a vengeance. I have to say it worries me.

  • Tim Price

    My wife had aortic valve replacement and aneurysm repair nine months ago. Her heart is still pounding in her ears. Her cardiologist can’t explain this, saying everything looks good. Has anyone else experienced this?

  • Robert Pendarvis

    My name is Robert I had open heart surgery in 1999 I had a aortic valve replacement and now my heart is racing off and on over 120 beats a minute any one have any answers to give me?

  • William Jerzek

    I had and continue to have the same experience although only about 85% of the time. But still feel the same exact way. I thought I was the only one.

  • William Jerzek

    I can’t findustry any supplements that help with blood pressure control.

  • William Jerzek

    You really should be on warfarin

  • William Jerzek

    Ic. I have a mechanical. My surgeon said it will last forever. Am 50.

  • William Jerzek

    That sound in your chest will never go away.

  • William Jerzek

    Thank you for sharing. My cardiologist said this is normal.

  • William Jerzek

    Not only clock but those pulsations that I hear are obnoxious but am glad to finally know I’m not the only one!!!

  • William Jerzek

    Same here. I’m glad I’m not the only one now.

  • William Jerzek

    Yes, I have had the same experience Josh said. That ticking plus those loud pulsations.

  • William Jerzek

    I have had the exact sensations many of these people are having. I’m told it’s really not the heart but the sound of the blood flow through the mechanical valve that one feels beating hard. It was a little worse 8 months ago just aftericksen the aortic valve replacement but it continues. Folks, don’t stop taking your medication. Have your doctor change it but beta blockers are necessary cuz you do not want high blood pressure. That’s how aneurysms develop. Furthermore, warfarin is ABSOLUTELY necessary IF you had a mechanical valve replacement. Don’t kid yourself. Nothing in the herbal or supplements is going to get your blood between the necessary 2-3 INR. I take supplements, sure, but that’s why they’re called SUPPLEMENTS. They supplement your daily regimen of medicines. Hey, better to be safe than not. God bless you. The heart pounding feeling is the valve. It’s not going to go away. But, it will soften up a bit in future YEARS.


  • Karima Aziz

    Hello Every one,
    I had mitral valve replacement ( bioprosthathic valve) in 2009. 2 months ago i again have same surgery but this time they put mechanical valve. Last week i felt 2 episodes of palpitation with HR Of 47. i went to ER i was tachycardiac up 135 beats per minute almost all night few minutes later in ER it gets settle it self. They did not find any thing. It is not possible in canada to get to see the specialist rite away. i will have an appointment or ECHO with specialist in 6 months time. I am nervous what made this happend ? Is it normal after surgery?

  • Jim Tuttle

    Just had my Ross procedure at USC Keck Hospital Tuesday, and my heart beat is VERY visible, to the point of being an amusing dinner trick. Lol

    So from previous comments, it Sounds like it’ll be a few months to heal the peri cardiac sac and shock absorb it.. Is that what’s common?

    BTW I’m 55, in top physical condition and do everything possible to extend my life.. Ross seemed best in the longer term, we shall see!

    Dr. Vaughn Starnes BTW.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ebaad136c5d3b6ecd84fa543614ead078516ea44c8815adfe1ac2ee633592a0d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f5e4472cab85ef06b0e50f09b2e86be6d038704cca5e431dd53fa1961f9d1487.jpg

  • Robin Tolbert

    I had Edwards bovine aortic valve replacement 5 months ago, and am now running in gym and doing weights. I feel good but over the last two weeks my blood pressure became very weird…sometimes high then low, which the person overseeing activity after taking pressure with stethoscope said was due to irregular heart beat which affect- off-the-shelve electrical machines. I went to hospital and they confirmed irregular heart beat, did chemical tests but could not find any cause and released me. Any one else with this issue? It is regular beat for say 6 then pause, then beats then small double beat etc.

  • Jan C

    Question: Does the heart sound the same to doctors after a Bentall procedure? My husband had one four years ago and just saw a doctor who detected a murmur. Is that common if you are not familiar with the sound of a bioprosthetic valve?

  • Chuck Campbell

    40% of aortic valve replacement patients can go into A-Fib – the irregular HB you are experiencing. I am day 10 post-op, and I went into A-fib in hospital post surgery for 24 hours. Before leaving hospital day 4, I had gone into A-fib again. (In 80% of those patients, A-fib lasts only 1-3 months.) But recent visit to PCP, I had regular rhythm HB. I’ve had little or no pain, being only on tylenol since Day 4, and start rehab next week. I do have the pounding HB, and now I have answers. thanks

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