“Memory Loss After Heart Surgery?” Asks Paige
I just received an interesting question about memory loss after heart valve surgery from Paige Mitchell of Virginia.
Paige writes, “Hi Adam, I had my aortic valve replaced in March, 2009. A few weeks later, I became agitated that I couldn’t remember peoples’ names, what I had just been doing, etc. I mentioned this to my cardiologist and he said this may happen as a side-effect due to anesthesia and the heart-lung machine lowering oxygen levels to the heart and brain during surgery. The cardiologist also said my memory loss would diminish over time. I’m 11 weeks post-op and still experiencing problems remembering. However, it is less than it was. Did you experience any of this? Thank you for writing your book and this blog! Paige”
While I never experienced any complications specific to memory loss, many patients report experiences of cognitive decline following heart surgery. In fact, this condition is often referred to as “pumphead” for the reasons that Paige provides above.
Interestingly enough, there is ongoing debate as to whether-or-not use of the heart-lung machine is really the source of memory loss after surgery.
Regardless… This post-operative condition does impact certain patients. For that reason, I have included several links below which provide additional information specific to pumphead and heart lung machines.
- Cardiac Depression & Pumphead
- Pumphead – Cognitive Decline After Heart Surgery
- More On The Debate Of Pumphead
- How Does The Heart Lung Machine Work?
I hope this helps you better understand memory loss after heart valve surgery. Don’t forget to ccroll down to read over 30 patient comments!
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.