Vertigo, Headaches & Vision Problems After Heart Valve Surgery… Can You Help Mandy?

I just received a very interesting email from Mandy about heart valve surgery, vertigo, headaches and vision complications after heart surgery. As you can read below, Mandy is asking for all of our help.

Mandy With Her Two Children

Mandy writes to me, “Hi Adam, I had valve replacement on September 16, 2009. I am 34 years old. I am doing really well but I am having some vision disturbances and periods of vertigo. At first it was just vision disturbances and I wrote it off as ocular headaches. Then, I started having difficulty walking straight with these vision disturbances. I looked on-line and found transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) as a possible cause. I do not take Coumadin anymore because I have a bovine valve. My question is… Did you or any of your readers have similar experiences and if so what has been done? Thanks! Mandy”

While I do seem to have more headaches after my aortic valve replacement, I did not experience vertigo or vision loss during my recovery. However, I have met several patients that experience similar issues during their recovery.

In fact, I just received an email from Geoff Beale who writes, “I had a mitral valve repair done May 6th, 2008. Starting that week I had blurred vision from time-to-time that would trigger a headache.”

Geoff Beale – Having Vision Problems After Surgery

To further understand these post-operative complications, I just did some quick Internet research. Unfortunately, I did not find any clinical reports which connect heart valve surgery to vertigo or vision problems. That said, I will send off an email to one of my contacts at The Cleveland Clinic to see what he thinks.

In the meantime… Perhaps you can help Mandy and Geoff? Did you experience vertigo, headaches or vision disturbances after heart valve surgery?

To leave a comment, simply click here. In advance, thanks for your help. Or, scroll below for over 100 patient comments.

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

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  • Mary Zeiger

    I had HVR (St. Jude Valve) 5 years ago and had no complications until a month ago when I developed a headache on the left side. It has not done away and the CT Scan & MRI showed nothing. They are getting worse. Has anyone experienced headaches long after surgery. My doctor is hesitant to give me narcotic due to being on Coumadin. I hope I do not have to live like this.

  • debbie

    snap this is exactly the same as m me…right eye…like something blocking most of my lens…get dizzy spells…numbness in my fingers…surgeon not interestrd. i had a ten hour op…mech valve, root and hemi arch replacement…my breathing still does not feel right a year on. I have been referred to eye doc..stroke tean etc…nothing…nwver had these problems before.

  • ElcyIL

    Warfarin gave me twice a day aural migraines and severe vertigo (among a host of other symptoms), so you cannot rule that out.

  • Gary Stripling

    I’m a 56 yr old male. Seven weeks ago (8.21.15) I had open heart surgery to repair my mitral valve, close patent foramen ovale (PFO), and a septal resection to correct LVOT Obstruction. During the surgery the atrial lead from my pacemaker became dislodged and 3 days later I had more surgery to insert a new lead. I start cardiac rehab next week. My main issue is rather embarrassing: my butt is numb! There’s a 4″ horizontal swath across the upper part of my buttocks that is numb. I asked the surgeon about this and, after he laughed, he blamed it on my sitting in a chair too long while in ICU. Surely this will go away, right?

  • Mary Andrau Feldmeir

    I can’t believe how similar these scenarios are! So far, checked my eyes with my opthamologist and everything is fine. Will be seeing my cardiologist tomorrow to hopefully get some information. Will definitely share anything helpful with this group!

  • Kenny S

    Guys, I had an aortic valve replacement (Bovine) and had the ascending aortic aneurysm addressed as well late Sept 2015. The end of the first week home from the hospital I was watching TV and for about 10 seconds, my vision got all jumbled up and I felt dizzy. Vision then returned to normal. Now, seven weeks out from surgery, I was driving home at night and the same thing occurred but this time it lasted about 20 seconds, cleared up then came back for about 10 more seconds. Very scary stuff. My wife took be straight to the ER where they did blood test and did a head CAT scan and all came back normal. It looks, from reading the posts here that vision issue are not unusual after heart surgery. I’m seeing my cardiologist tomorrow so hopefully he can give me more info.

  • puglianana

    I wish all these doctors would listen to the patients complaints and quit passing it off like it is our imagination. My AV replacement was 6/2/2015 and the side effects are like most posted. dizzy, eye malfunction/disturbances, headaches (which before surgery, very seldom had). Isn’t there anyone out there doing research on the replacement valves and the symptoms we all seem to be having?

  • Cindy Truscott

    I am a 58yo female who had a mitral valve repair 9/2/15. Now 5 months out, vague symptoms continue; ocular migraines leading to headaches for up to several hours, vertigo, sudden general weakness, visual “floaters”, surges of nausea, crippling muscle cramps. My surgeon, cardiologist, and primary all shrug it off. I am a nurse and have asked everyone I come across at work if anyone can shed light on this- no answers. I am off of all meds, This is so frustrating. Obviously there is a common cause. My assumption is that they are TIA’s of sorts. Any thoughts????

  • Kinley Wangchuk

    My 5 year old son had a VSD closing heart surgery recently. After the surgery he kept complaining about his right eye side vision disturbances and headache. M really worried about his eye. Is it normal side effect after the surgery or its a complication that cannot be recovered. Pls help me explain with the above situation.

  • Eileen

    I had avr and 2 x bypass 05/20/15. As soon as they had ne up walking I was staggering, couldn’t walk straight, just thought it was weakness from surgery. Following week was at rehab facility and they would walk behind me saying my balance was off but never did anymore to look into it. Gradually it got better but then around 9 months out my blood pressure went high and stayed there and my vision was like I was seeing shadows of ceiling fans off to the side of both eyes and when I closed my eyes it was circles of flashing lights. Went to the ER 2 weekends in a row, the 2nd time they did cat scan but found nothing. Went to opthalmologist and he found nothing. It happens 4 or 5 times a week and sometimes 2 or 3 times a day/night, lasts 20/30 minutes. Also around the 9 month time the cardiologist took me off Plavix and upped aspirin from 81 mgs to 325 mgs. Last week saw the surgeon and he has put me back on the Plavix and back to aspirin 81 mgs. Said it may be teeny tiny blood clots. I have only been on the Plavix again for 3 days but I do think it is much improved. Surgeon said even at the 1 year mark it is not unheard of.

  • Have a close friend who had his mitral valve repaired about 3 weeks ago. A couple of days ago, his vision went blurry in both eyes, and one lost vision completely for a few seconds.
    Last night, he had another episode and called 911.

  • Navdeep singh

    My mom had a same problem, she had a openheart surgery for value replace in April 2016,now she had a left side headache,,Did u find any siliution ????

  • Navdeep singh

    Same things happen with my mom ,, she had a openheart surgery in April 2016 , after 20 days she lost her eye sight for a few second , and now after 2 months she had a bad left side headache,, ??

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