Patricia, 71, Experiences Hoarse Voice After Difficult Intubation

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

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

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  • Susan

    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

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

  • Mark Meldrum

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

  • Connie

    I lost my voice could not talk over a whisper for more than 9 months. Then I started having breathing difficulties went to Dr and found I was experiencing heart failure caused by Severe Aortic Stenosis I had no idea I had a problem with my heart (no one in my family has heart problems). In September last year I had a TAVR valve (no Open Heart Surgery) implanted and a pacemaker installed. The Drs said it had noting to do with my heart,but 2 days after the procedure my voice can back coincidence?

    They said my problem was caused by the radiation and chemo therapy I had as a child this also made me a high risk patient.

    Doing much better now, although my voice is still a little hoarse.

  • Soozilla

    Tonight is the one year anniversary of the heart attack that led to my aortic valve replacement (OHS) surgery on July 8th, 2014. My voice has changed dramatically. I am O.K. for the first hour or so at work (I’m a receptionist), but after that, my voice gets really hoarse and weak. The same thing happened to my sister’s voice after her OHS (bypass) and her vice never returned to normal. I just hope I can find a solution for this issue. About a month before my surgery a friend offered to give me singing lessons. No chance of that happening now.

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