Pin It
Home > Adam's Blog > Patricia, 71,...

Patricia, 71, Experiences Hoarse Voice After Difficult Intubation

Posted by Adam Pick on June 7th, 2009

Thanks to a great support group and medical team, I made a full recovery after my double heart valve surgery. However, I did experience a series of physical and emotional challenges during my recovery. One of those challenges was specific to my voice. As Robyn (my wife) could tell you, my voice became incredibly hoarse following surgery.

So you know, I’m not the only patient that experienced a hoarse voice following cardiac surgery. Patricia, age 71, just sent me an interesting email which details her vocal problems following a difficult insertion of the ventilator tube. Here is what she writes:

Hi Adam – For two months after my aortic valve replacement I had great trouble talking. My surgeon told me that I  had a “difficult intubation” during the procedure.

Unfortunately, I could not find any answers as to the prognoses of my vocal cord injury. And, my anesthesiologist did not answer my emails or letters sent to her office. I found no answers anywhere, even after combing the Internet.

In the hospital, the nurses and doctors told me that hoarseness is normal and my voice would come back in a few days. So for two months, I went crazy thinking that I would never again have a normal voice. Then, little by little, at the end of two months… I was able to speak with my normal voice (98%).

Patient On Ventilator Tube After Cardiac Surgery In Intensive Care Unit
Patient With Ventilator Tube Inserted

I just wish I had been warned that sometimes a patient has a difficult intubation and it may take as long as two months to get your voice back.  I am so surprised that my voice came back and now I am over the feeling that I was alone with no answers regarding my voice loss.

Overall, the surgery was a success. Thanks again for your heart valve surgery book. It really helped me relax!

Patricia M. Cook

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.


Susan says on June 8th, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Hoarseness like you experienced isn’t at all uncommon. Pity your healthcare provider didn’t seem to want to offer real information. Intubation can be difficult and leave residual damage. I would encourage anyone experiencing such symptoms that last longer than the time it takes you to heal from the surgical procedure consider consulting an otolaryngologist. Depending on the underlying cause of the hoarseness – not talking, at all, for a time can be your best healing process. Whispering is one of the hardest things you can do to your vocal cords!


Eva Villa says on June 8th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

What are the results for tricuspid surgery for leaky valve? Would ablation for atrial fibrilation stop tricuspid leakage?


Mark Meldrum says on June 8th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I am having my aortic valve replaced this Friday, 6-12-09. I am having it done at the Mayo Hospital, Phoenix. Any words of advice will be helpful..Thank you for your book, my family has read and reread it. Mark Meldrum, Mesa, AZ


dena says on June 9th, 2009 at 9:50 am

Hello to all,

I have a hoarse voice and trouble talking and it has been 6 weeks since my operation. No one had told me I will experience this after my heart operation. I can’t waite to talk normal and I am frustrated and worried it won’t come back. I also havig difficulcty eatinng, I have to eat certin food and small quantaties otherwise I experience stomach pain. Did anyone had this experince with the stomach?

Thank you,


fazilat says on June 12th, 2009 at 5:07 am

i also had hoarseness after mi valve replacement, it went on for some time but i am back to normal my children can vouch for that.
it has been a year to my op .
good luck.


Tulika says on July 26th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Hi all,
My mom had a heart surgery over 15 yrs back for her valve. Since last 1 yr she has suddenly started suffering from hoarse voice that varies in quality but has not gone completely. Last year she also had a pace maker & defibrilltor inserted. That seemed to have improved the hoarseness but its back to being bad again. We were looking into getting silicon injected in her throat to take care of this problem. Has anyone done this treatment or faced a similar problem or knows a cure? Response is really appreciated.

Happiness always


Terry Crawford says on December 23rd, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Hi I an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Very successful op and came out with a voice, but a week later it went. Same, gravelly, weak, doctor prescribed Steroids and antibiotics all to no avail, I appreciate the problem you went through, I do to. So its good to hear you are over it. Gives me hope , thanks

Terry ( Portsmouth )


mike worden says on March 18th, 2012 at 8:16 pm

l also have no voice after having my aorta replaced,they tell me it could take up to 4 or 5 months to return,


bcp says on April 2nd, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I had biopsy done through my throat and now I can barely talk for one week today. I’m looking for ways to help it relieved.. Gosh, yours for two months.. ouch.. it must very hard on you as you are a hearing person. I, am hard of hearing, use sign language. I had to use relay service for the deaf to communicate with my sister. Trying to have some sense of humor here that there are nothing wrong with my hands. (((grinning))) I did call the doctor’s office about two things and one was the voice. I haven’t heard from the office about my result and what to do about my voice.

I’m glad your voice eventually came back. Best wishes to you… BCP


bcp says on April 2nd, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Oh boy, just read many of yours comments .. wow!!!


Leave a Reply

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

Welcome to Adam Pick's
Heart Valve Surgery Blog

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

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

Over 35,000 Patients
And Caregivers Have
Read This Book

Patient Recommended
Heart Valve Clinics

(Click a logo)

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