"High Heart Rate After Heart Surgery?" Asks Pete

I just received a great question from Pete about high heart rates after open heart surgery.

Pete writes, “Hi Adam, I had an aortic valve replacement procedure on April 8, 2009, about two months ago. My main concern is that my heart rate is running quite high at 80 to 90 beats per minute. Before surgery, my heart rate was around 60. I contacted my cardiologist about this three times. Each time, they tell me this is one of the side effects from surgery and it should diminish over time. Quite frankly, I am concerned my heart is going to wear out. Any thoughts? Thanks, Pete”

High Heart Rate

Without a doubt, Pete raises a very valid concern of patients about a high heart rate after heart surgery.

So you know, I experienced something very similar to Pete after my open heart surgery. I have always had a high heart rate – about 80 beats per minute (bpm). However, after surgery, my resting heart rate was about 10 bpm higher. Sure enough, like Pete, I called and asked my doctor whether-or-not this was something to be concerned about.

Guess what? My cardiologist suggested that a high heart rate after open heart surgery was “normal”. Sure enough, my heart rate did normalize during my recovery. In fact, I just located a reference on Medhelp which states, “It is not at all uncommon to have rapid heart rates after heart surgery.  For example, atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter are very common, as well.”

In some patient cases, however, I have learned that certain drugs (e.g. Metoprolol, Cordarone) may be used to help slow heart rates following surgery. That said, if you are experiencing a high heart rate after surgery, I would encourage you to contact your cardiologist to confirm that your situation is not unique.

Remember… Always safe, not sorry!!!

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.

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  • anon

    9 mos later, and I am on a low dose of metoprolol to keep my heart rate down. And it stays down as long as I stay on metoprolol. Still, it is more than just a bit disappointing, it’s a bit worrisome as well, since the artificially low heart rate seems to drag on my ability to climb stairs and the like.

  • Vicki

    Hi Pete & Adam,

    I had a VSD closure and aortic valve repair about 5 months ago. I became tachycardic after surgery (my resting bpm was around 130). I was prescribed metoprolol (Lopressor) to help lower my heart rate. The good news is that as of 2 weeks ago, I was taken off the metoprolol. Right now my heart is still adjusting to being off the medication (my bpm is currently in the upper 90-100 range). I contacted my cardiologist and was told that this was expected, but was not given a timeline as to when I can expect my bpm to return to my normal range.

  • Cliff Buehrer

    Hello Pete, I had mitral valvee repair on July 29,2008. 2 days after leaving the hospital my pulse jumped from approx 72 to 120. Went back to the hospital and the surgeon was not worried. They put me on low dose metropolol. Seemed to level out in the 90,s. After coming home my cardiologist felt I was having a beta bloker withdrawl. I was on 100mg 2X per day before surgery and nothing after surgery. It took about 3 weeks at my old beta bloker level and my heart hate leveled off in the upper 60’s. Beta blocker withdrawl can be a very serious.

  • Brian Arrington

    Last week my cardiologist informed me that I needed an aortic valve replacement. My heart rate has always been high. Around 85-90 per minute. Scares me to read that after the surgery it will be even higher.
    What gives??

  • Lloyd


    I had a similar problem. After surgery I could not sleep laying down, my heart kept pounding. I slept in a chair for a couple of weeks before I called my doctor. My doctor changed my med Atenolol from 25 mg to 50 mg and he had me take it at bed time. His nurse also suggested I sleep on my side. My surgery last last November and I followed doctor’s orders and have been sleeping quite well.

  • Daniel Monk

    My heart rate is now about 80-90 beats at rest. I underwent Aortic valve replacement a little over a month ago (Biovine Tissue Valve). Prior to surgery it was about 70 bpm. My surgeon told me that although the restriction in my heart is now gone, it can take the heart up to a year to “Re-model” itself. I am taking metoprolo to lower the beat. Eventually I shouldn’t need to take any meds (other than aspirin) I’m told. I also seem to notice my heartbeat more now. I don’t know if it is louder or if I’m just more aware of it.

    Dan Monk

  • Anon, Cliff, Vicki, Daniel and Lloyd –

    Thanks for all of your comments (above). This is very, very, very, very helpful information.

    Keep on tickin!


  • Rebecca Roberts


    I have had the same problem since my mitral valve repair in Jan. 2009.
    A recent Holter monitor showed my average heart rate was 93;with exercise the high was 152; and at rest the low was 63.
    I was put on increasing doses of Metoprolol following surgery, until June 3, when I was taken off it, as my blood pressure was dropping extremely low during cardiac rehab., and when I was jogging at home. My blood pressure has improved, but not the heart rate!
    Although he has tried to address it through medication, my cardiologist is not extremely concerned…says it is a common problem following surgery.


  • Terry

    Hi all,
    My heart rate before my mitral valve problem became serious was about 55 to 60; then I went into atrial fib, and had a controlled rate on Digoxin of about 70. After mitral valve repair and a Maze procedure (on March 10 of this year) my heart rate was usually around 90 to 110, still on Dig, and now in a regular rhythm. I was very worried. I could not take a beta blocker because my blood pressure was too low, and indeed I took Midodrine to raise my blood pressure. Then it seemed that almost all of a sudden after three months post op, my heart rate came down to the 60 to 80 range. I have started some weight training again, and a little cardio vascular exercise, and my heart rate seems to rise appropriately and then goes back down. So maybe it is true that the heart takes some time to recover, and that time may really differ in individuals. I am really always hoping that these things are “normal”!!

  • Ann Garcia

    On July 1st, I am going to have my mitral valve replaced and a ring on the tricuspid valve. Since I have atrial fibrillation caused by the mitral stenosis and mild pulmonary hypertension, my doctor plans to put wires in place just in case a pace maker is needed later. I will be having the Cox Maze procedure and have been warned that rapid heart rate is normal after surgery.

    Thanks to Adam and all of you. I am not afraid of what is to come and look forward to recovery.

  • Sean R

    I’m 60 and in pretty good shape. I had aortic valve and root replacement in Aug. of 2008. Before surgery, my resting heart rate was 52. It’s always been around that. After surgery and for weeks it was around 80. Very disconcerting! Same fears as you. Cardiologist and surgeon told me not to worry, that it would slow back down. It has slowed gradually. 10 months post-op I’m now at 54. So, hang in there!

  • Curt Sandberg

    In my humble opinion, open heart surgery is not a science — it is an invasive “treatment” that your body reacts very negatively to. I had open heart surgery – mitral valve repair – over four years and had the same experience. The surgeon told me that he did an unusual procedure (that provides “better results”) by going in from the back of the heart to repair the valve. My resting heart rate grew to over 100 beats per minute over the next six months. My cardiologist finally prescribed Metoprolol. I have been taking this now for close to four (4) years. There has been no sign that my resting heart rate will ever be “normal” without the Metoprolol. Another disquieting symptom is that when I have been given a stress echo-cardiogram, if I temporarily go off the metoprolol, my heart goes “crazy” and the cardiologist has to abort the test. I can now only do stress echos with the Metoprolol in my system. Again, in my humble opinion, any surgery that cuts heart muscle and/or nerve pathways is a traumatic process for one’s heart. Of course I have to admit that having the surgery is better than being in a box six feet under…

  • Kerrigan

    I’m at 5 months post-surgery for aortic valve replacement.
    After some up and down of the heartrate, the doc settled on a generic form of LoPressor.
    My resting heart rate is now around 60 bpm, and it gets up to 100 during my cardio workouts, but mostly stays around 80-90 while exercising.
    The drug has reduced the “pounding” heartbeat to a more gentle beat, which is what the docs were looking for post-surgery. This lets the heart rest somewhat and get adjusted to the new valve I’m told.
    Seems to be working. My BP gets up to 140 in the morning after waking, but goes down slowly and ends up 110 or so for the rest of the day.
    I do have the experience of the drug slowing me down a little, but the tradeoff is worth it.
    Hopefully some day I can get off the BP meds.
    It’s nice to no longer experience the pounding pulse I had for a couple of months after the surgery!
    Everyone seems to react differently to the surgery and the meds. The docs say everyone goes through a dialing in process to find the right combination of meds and lifestyle.

  • Josh


    This is Josh- I’m just about 4 months out of aortic valve replacement and ascending aortic aneurysm repair. I’m 38 and in otherwise relative good health. My situation after surgery was EXACTLY like yours. Although I’m on a beta blocker, I was very worried about a fast heart rate (resting 80-95 bpm) where I had a much slower one before. Now 4 months later my resting heart rate is at 60-70 bpm, and 100-120 with solid exercise during cardiac rehab. Which by the way, I highly recommend and strongly believe helped get my heart rate back down. My main issue now is just getting used to the strength with which my heart is beating- although it’s slower again, it still feels like it’s pounding in my chest (another thing the doctors say is normal and will calm down soon).

    Just hang in there and things seem to work themselves out!


  • Elizabeth Borjas

    I had a mitral valve replacement 10 years ago. I have a mechanical St. Jude valve made out of titanium. I too was put on metoprolol and told I would be on it the rest of my life. I’ve been off it 4 years and my heart beat averages 76 or 80. After my surgery, it was in the 90’s and would sometimes run high. I always felt my legs drag with the medication and my blood pressure was low.

    YOU CAN NOT GO OFF THIS MEDICINE ON YOUR OWN. The decision has to be with your doctor and under his or her supervision. You have to be weaned from this med very slowly. The only reason I was taken off was because I was undergoing a test where I had to be taken off.

    Your heart rate will slow down with time. Be encouraged and when you feel your heart racing practice slowing your breathing down. It works.

  • Chris Hollen

    I also had minimally invasive mitral valve repair at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati,Oh on Dec.21,2009. I went back to the hospital on Dec. 27 with sweating, dizziness and high heart rate(130). I was treated for dehydration and my heart rate came down to 110-120bpm. My surgeon Dr. J. Michael Smith was not overly concerned and I was released on Dec. 29. I am now on 100mg. metoprolol a day and my heart rate is between 90 in the morning to 110 in the evening. Dr. Smith is not concerned as he says my heart is getting used to the repaired valve and my heart rate will eventually return to normal. I am 37 years old and he says he will eventually wean me off of metoprolol also. I also feel worried that my heart will wear out at such a high rate. Glad to know other people are going through the same problems after surgery.

  • Denise

    I had a minimally invasive mitral valve repair at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland Ohio on August 12, 2010. Since my surgery, I have experienced a very high heart rate of 102-116 just sitting around on the computer. I sometimes feel my heart beating fast and sometimes feel it palpitating out of my chest. My normal heart rate pre-op was 75-80. It is very frightening to me and puts me in a panic state at times. I just started Cardiac Rehab and the instructors have noticed my heart rate high . The Cardiologist said it should go back to normal….but when? I even get short of breath from it. I was put on Metoprolol after my surgery however I experienced severe headaches after the surgery for 5 weeks and thought it was from the Metoprolol so I went off of it as per my doctors orders.
    Any answers from anyone? Will my heart go back to normal after a while. I’m 2 months post op.
    Any suggestions would be of help.

  • Meg

    I am 34 and had mitral valve repair almost 6 months ago. I too had a very high heart rate and still do, but it is improving! It was around 100-110 resting for months after my surgery. Now it is between 80-90 resting. I have many skipped beats and palpitations but can\’t go on a beta blocker because I have very low blood pressure. So I understand your concerns. I must tell you though that I have had a very rough recovery and I am just now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I am definitely starting to feel better! I wish I would have just been more patient and I wish I wouldn\’t of worried myself so much as I was recovering. I still pray my blood pressure and irregular beats and heart rate continue to improve.

  • Jim Corbett

    I’m 54 and had minimally invasive mitral valve repair on 9/14/10. I’ve been concerned about my heart rate as pre surgery my at rest rate was in the low 50’s. Now it is in the mid 90’s. Like everyone else, my cardiologist and surgeon said not to worry. I’m two months post op and have seen no change. From some of the responses, it looks like I should wait until the first of the year before being concerned. I’m currently on no medication and plan to resume running soon.

  • Hjalmadean

    My mother at 86 had mitro valve repair Sept 28.2010. Everything has healed nicely. but does have high heart rate, sometimes as high as 127. Being concerned I asked her doctor and he says that the body has been through a lot and it will take time for her body to adjust. She had a lot of trouble with her vision after surgery but now it seems to be clearing up. Does have spills where her blood pressure would drop below 100, which the doctor increased her sodium intake which has helped.

  • Denise

    I had mitro valve repair Aug. 12, 2010 with a ring put in the valve. I have had a high heart rate since my surgery. My normal heart rate was always 80 and now it runs between 100 and 108 resting. I have been to the cardiologist several times and have mentioned this to him. He does not seemed concerned about it but is weening me off of Snythroid for my thyroid to see if that is what is causing the high heart rate. I am 4.5 months post op and it has not changed. I have been through cardiac rehab since September 2010 and continue as of today. My heart rate is high everyday that I go. It seems to come down quick after being on the treadmill but not below 104 when I leave. Have been off all beta blockers since 3 weeks after surgery. I know they would help lower it but the doctor does not want to do it yet until he sees if it the thyroid medication. I dont think that is the answer. Does anyone out there know how long before the heart rate goes back to normal after surgery?

  • Frank Ingels

    I had mitral valve repair 11 January 2011. Before I had no real symptoms and a pulse rate of 60’s. In great shape for 73.5 years and at 5’5″ and 143 pounds fairly lean. Was walking 2 miles a day and doing 40 pushups.
    Now after the surgery I have been gaining back stamina and walking a mile twice a day. But the pulse rate was in the 90’s. I don’t tolerate Corge (Beta Blocker) without sinking spells so I am not on a med at this time. However today for some reason in the space of an hour the pulse rate jumped to a steady 133. I had worked in the office for a few hours this am and had started thinking about attending a meeting the 10th of Feb. Now I am concerned about my health and am thinking seriously of quitting work entirely.
    What about this pulse rate jump? Don’t seem to have fib or flutter.
    Have not yet heard back from the cardiologist nurse (called at 1pm and it is only 4pm now). Would walking still be advised?

  • Roger

    2/15/11: I left a message about 4 to 6 weeks ago. My heart rate was elevated (90’s to low 100’s) after my mitral valve repair on 10/22/10. I began a progressively intensive exercise regimen around Christmas, ’10, about 10 weeks after surgery. Nothing crazy, but walking, progressively increasing up to 4 miles at about 4 mph, carrying hand weights starting at 1 lb per hand working up to 5 lbs per hand, generally every other day. I also do light upper body exercises. My heart rate during normal activity is now down to the 70’s and my resting rate is into the 60’s. I’m 58 and have always been in reasonably good shape. I am still on Coumadin and very low dose Lopressor. I’m hoping go get off these in another two months. I believe the exercise has had a very beneficial effect and highly recommend it.

  • Stephanie

    I had mitral valve repair on Jan 24 and have atrial flutter and a fast heart rate. I’m on metoprolol and diltiazem as well as warfarin. My doctor in the hospital told me this condition often resolves in around 3 months. I hope he’s right!

  • Jean Malbrough

    Pete: I had my aortic vale replace about 8 months ago with a porcine valve. I had complications in the beginning, two pleural effusions. Once I recovered from that my recovery took off. I’ve been off all medications for about 4 months, exercising regularly, the star patient. All of sudden I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest my heart rate went up to 90 from the usual 70 and my b.p. off the charts. I feel like I age 10 years in a month. Finally, got into see the cardiologist, not an easy task. I was put on Bystolic 5mg. It really dropped everything down in two days. Now, I am 107/60 with a pulse of 60. It has really slowed me down. However, the echo confirmed that my heart is fine. It is reassuring to know I am not the only one with this issue.

  • Frank Ingels

    I had Mitral repair 11 Jan 2011, by the time I left the hospital, 15 Jan 2011, the pulse rate was up to 90 from normal of 60. After three weeks I started having fibrillation. Finally they put me on Amiodarone (200mg)and Metroprolol (25mg) and a full asprin each dayt and I have done fine. Had to lay off of caffeine, but occasionally glass of tea or half of a real cup of coffee is okay now. Pulse rate is in 60’s again. They think that as the heart heals I can come off the meds, sometime in late May we will try. Fortunately there are no side effects to the meds.
    Have heart (sorry about the pun) and don’t worry and be sure to do the rehab as it will make you really feel great.

  • sonia

    Hello Adam,

    I would like to thank you since I found your page just browsing about open heart surgery. My mother in-law just went through the ordeal. Your blog helped me about the surgery and give my family encouragement. Today is 2 weeks since the surgery. Everything was going well until today when she needed to be admitted for an irregular heart beat. According to the doctors, its pretty common but as usual I found comforting words in your blog. Thank you. She’s being treated and she will be all right.

  • Gary

    I just had open heart mitral valve repair done a week ago at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, OH. I am 61, exercise regularly, and have a normal resting heart rate of between 50 and 60 bpm. After surgery, it fluctuates between 70 and 94. I am on only 25 mg a day of Metoprolol. I was warned about the increase but it is still concerning. However, after reading about all the prior cases in this blog, I am less concerned now and understand it takes time for the heart to adjust. I am healing very quickly. I attribute this to eating correctly, doing my deep breathing exercises and already walking a mile a day (only 8 days after open heart surgery). The high blood oxygen concentration has to be helping. I plan to do as much exercise as my body will allow to see how quickly my resting heart rate will fall to pre-surgery norms. Thanks to all those who posted prior to this….very helpful information.

  • Barry Dixon

    I had surgery March 20th 2012 for a mitral valve repair. I was released on 30thMarch. Other than some minor chest pain, I seem to be doing OK. I am walking about 1-1/2 miles each time out and have not experienced any concerns. MY bp seems to be about 127 over 75 but like everyone else my pulse rate is much higher than it used to be( about 90-95). It was in the low 60’s. I gather from all the input that it may take up to 4 months for this issue to go away. I hope so.

  • Jean

    Pounding heart is common after surgery. I found this, not through my cardiologist, through My own research and great alternative care providers. Apparently, the trauma (and it is huge) of open heart surgery floods the body with cortisol. In my case right after surgery I had lots of perfuse drenching sweats and pounding heart. My hormones went into fight or flight overtime. The physicians kept insisting on metropolol which increased depression and lethargy. I did NOT have high blood pressure before or after the AVR. Accupuncture helped tremendously. Also, I was given some supplements to balance my adrenals and lower the cortisol level. This worked fabulously. The push is to keep on you a life long regimen of anti-hypertensives. It may not be necessary. Every drug has a side effect. My new cardiologist cannot believe how low my heart rate is without medication.

  • Stephanie

    I had mitral valve repair 1-24-11 and I’m still on metoprolol for my heart rate. My cardiologist doesn’t seem to think this is an issue. I’ve adapted to the drug now and don’t think about it too much. Anyone else out there still on metoprolol or similar more than a year after surgery?

  • Elaine

    Hi Stephanie

    I had Aortic valve replacement and 2x cabg in 08/22/2011. I am still taking 3.125 carvedilol. My GP informed me I will continue on this med for the rest of my life, unless my blood pressure drops to low. Hope that helps.

  • Brenda

    Hi I’m on metoprolol and have been since my heart valve surgery Jan.10th.
    I hope you have a nice night and will be checking in periodically.

  • Stephanie

    Brenda and Elaine, thanks for your comments. You made me feel like I’m in very good company. 🙂

  • Brenda

    Hi to everyone getting ready for heart surgery or have already endured surgery and recouping. I was diagnosed with a rapid heart beat that showed up on the monitor as a double heart beat….on the day before I was to get out of hospital. I was put on ameodorone got out of hospital two days later and took it for two weeks, seen my cardiologist and was put on metoprolol. All that was to slow my heart rate down and I have been out of hospital since Jan. 19th. I take it twice daily. NO REGULAR coffee…I drink DECAF…. Be strong and take care of you. By the way I get my PT/INR levels every two wks now, it was every week because I also take Coumadine…I had a problem with numbness in my mouth but levels were too low…Levels are to be 2.5 to 3.5 because of mechanical heart valve. Good luck and remember God has all of this worked out for us. I dont know what I would have done if I didn’t believe in God.

  • Eileen

    Had mitro-valve repair in Jan. 2011 at Mt. Siani in NY. I had uncontrolled HP, severe mitrovalve regurgitation. Been fine – BP normally about 130 to 140 on top and pulse always in the 6o’s. Three weeks ago pressure started becoming eratic, up in the 150 and 160 and sometime my pulse dropping into the low 50. My metropolol was increased but I think it is lowering my pulse and not helping the BP, my shortness of breath has also returned. Any comments.

  • Lisa

    Hi. I had mitral value repair, and the maze procedure for afib at Mt. Sinai in Miami almost 4 months ago. Initially I was given Amiodarone to control my heart rate during healing. I was also given Atentol, a beta blocker, even though I had very low blood pressure, the highest was 90/60. In fact my bp dropped so low in the hospital I was give a blood transfusion. But about 1 month after surgery my doc stopped he Amiodarone and I still remain on Atentol. I had a plural effusion less than a month after surgery and that set me back. Now the problem is that my bp rises by the end of the day to a range of 120 to 130/83-93; while my resting pulse rate stays between 80-90. Has anyone experience a rise of bp? I am on a severely salt restrict diet. Could it be not enough exercise? Prior to surgery I walked for 2 1/2 miles everyday but can’t make it that far now. I am 51 years old. Thanks.

  • Jean

    Yes, as common as it is to have a racing pounding heart after surgery, no one tells you about it. Actually, after surgery one gets very little support or information. My best resources have been this blog and those at Mended Hearts. My solution to periodic racing pounding heart almost 4 years after surgery is to take 25mg of Metoprolol and .25mg of Alprazolam or Zanax if still racing. I only due this occasionally to get my rhythm back to normal. I think the heart has been traumatized by the surgery and sometimes lets you know it. I too have relatively low blood pressure so taking Metroprolol all the time was lowering to much, making me sluggish, depressed, unable to exercise… The occasional Metroprolol does the trick. The racing and pounding causes a lot of anxiety so the added Zanax very rarely really helps. I have a bottle of 30 of each for over three years so I don’t need it often.

  • gary

    I’m a 45 year old male and I had mitral valve repair surgery at Brigham & Women’s hospital in Boston on 11/19/13 (10 wks ago). My experience has been generally very positive, however 2 days after surgery I did experience an 8 second episode when my heart went into ventricular tachicardia (v-tach) and was beating 195 bpm. That was pretty scary, but thankfully that hasn’t happened again. Prior to surgery my resting heart rate was 65 bpm, and it wasn’t until 3 days after surgery that my resting HR jumped to 90-92 bpm. I’ve been taking 50 mg of Metoprolol since before surgery and will continue to do so. I have resumed exercising (I excercised a lot before surgery) by riding my stationary bike, walking on my treadmill and doing some reps on my rowing machine. My heartrate during exercise gets up to 140 bpm, but I try not to let it go higher than that. My resting heartrate now is 82 bpm and it’s been holding there for awhile. I hope it will go down some more, but my doctor says it’s normal and could take a year or more to fully adapt. My wife bought me a blood pressure & heart rate machine, and I have a few heart rate monitors for excercise as well, the devices are helpful to keep track and make sure things are tracking normally.

  • Jean

    3 and 1/2 years after surgery and I feel great, heart rate dropped back to normal, no medications. What worked resuming Yoga,adding in Tai Chi and more hiking AND Accupuncture. Accupuncture was so important. What I learned is, heart surgery is tremendously traumatic. The heart goes into a kind of post traumatic stress syndrome after surgery. The doctors were not supportive when I had symptoms and reactions to the medication. I also had pleural effusions after the surgery. accupuncture and the herbs helped dry up my lungs and rebuild my strength. I recommend anyone having surgery to get some accupuncture before and right after the procedure. You will get the support you need and cannot get in a 10 min visit with cardiologist if you can even get in to see one. Will also build your immune system and reduce pain significantly.

  • Ruth Hutton

    I just had an aortic valve replacement, and these comments have been very helpful.

  • Frank Ingels

    I have posted several times in the last three years. Had a mitral valve repair Jan 2011 and for the first time ever had racing heart. Had to return to hospital and get settled down with infusion and then metroprolol. Since then mo problems unless I try to wean off metroprolol, half a pill a day (low dosage pill, 25mg, to start with, break in half) and it is okay for two weeks or so. Then might start having occasional erratic periods. Then I go back on the full dosage. Have not been able to get off. Discouraging and the fellow that stated it gave him a hard time going up stairs which I exhibit was on the mark.

    Interesting experiment this week, I walk on the beach a lot, 2-5 miles a day and do 40 pushups each day, I carried a pulse and oxygen meter (finger type) and did jogs of 1 and 1.5 minutes. The first time the oxygen level went down to 80’s and the energy did as well. The second and third and fourth times the oxygen stayed in 90’s and I went the 1.5 minutes (this was about 4.5 miles per hours) and felt more normal. Going up stairs from a normal walk is like jogging the first time, the metropolol needs a good slow warm up to get the heart rate and the oxygen level up. The resting heart rate before surgery was low 60’s and now low 50’s. When jogging the hear rate is up to 120 at max. I have to run hard to get to 140. Walking on beach at 3 miles per hour the rate is 83 or so.

    We are blessed to have the heart problems fixed and realize that no fix is ever back to 100% normal as we get older. I am closer to 77 than 76 now and was 73.5 at the surgery time. Have done three tough mudder events last year but got lazy this year. I walked fast and did not run but had great fun doing the obstacles, even the electrical ones.

    Hope this is helpful to others, changes in body occur as we age. A blessing is to be fixable to almost normal.

  • jon

    I had an AVR 14 months ago. The operation was a complete success and I was never in great discomfort or pain–except when they pulled out the airway and suctioned me out–that sucked! (sorry). Was out of the hospital 4 days after my arrival. Preop my resting heart rate hovered between 68 and 72–that’s pretty normal for a 60 year old of only middling fitness.

    Post-op my heart rate can be anywhere from 64 (in the morning) to 110 at bedtime. In the hospital they controlled my heart rate with amiodarone (Pacerone) IV and metoprolol tartrate. At discharge they switched me to amiodarone oral and within 24 hours I had my first ever case of hives. Post ER visit my Cardiologist discontinued the amiodarone and switched me to metoprolol succinate XL–a time release version.

    Since then, while a follow-up echo shows my heart re-modeling, great hemodynamics (velocities and gradients) with a 70% EF — the metoprolol has me feeling heart failure type symptoms. My heart rate shoots up and I get a little short of breath with too much raking or stair climbing. It rapidly drops back down when I relax.

    I am worried that this tachycardia will be with me for the rest of my life. But as a fellow poster said earlier–its better than being in a box six feet under (or in a cardboard box in the hall closet). Oh well, will see the Doc in early June and will talk to her about it.

    Its interesting in that this condition is very different from my actual heart failure symptoms in that I feel strong and energetic now–just get easily winded and my bpm go way up.

    By the way Adam, you really should take a good look at NYU Langone–my surgeon there has the lowest rate for post-operative infection of any surgeon in the State. US News and Reports ranks them highly (Not as high as Cleveland though). They are the best cardiac hospital in NY and are involved in lots of very advanced trials–including the robotic trials for valve replacement and are leaders in minimally invasive valve surgery.

  • Kacy

    My Dad is post op 3weeks and his resting heart rate has been creeping up. What is the number her should go in or call the doctor? It’s around 120.

  • Sharon M McInulty

    Hi almost 42 yrs old and 13 wks post op from an av & mv replacement op. My resting heart rate at the moment is anywhere from 95-120 bpm, without beta blockers will this settle down?

  • Gabriella Grobbelaar

    Hi there, I am a 23 year old female from South Africa. 4 months ago I had open heart surgery. They Closed my VSD and repaired my mitral valve. Before my surgery I was on blood thinners, water pills and blood pressure medication to keep my heart stable. 4 months post op and my heart rate still hasn’t lowered. I stay in the range of 105 – 110 whereas my normal rate is around 80 to 85. The doctors put me back on my blood pressure meds and gave me strong water pills as I am also retaining water.
    I finished my course 4 days ago and already I am battling to breathe again, my heart rate is back to the 100’s and I am lethargic and tired all the time.

    I would like to know if this is also normal and expected 4 months after surgery. I am currently not allowed to do any exercises and I have to rest a lot to make sure I don’t push my heart rate over the edge.

    Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  • Deep

    I had my MV repair surgery in New Zealand on 2nd July 2014. I am (or was) a healthy 40 year old; exercising regularly pre op. My resting heart rate was around 60bpm. Post surgery it sits at 85-90 bpm (week 3 after surgery). Blood pressure has also climbed up(140/85). It is reassuring to hear from so many other people that it does settle down. I like the ideas of acupuncture and natural remedies. Amongst other post operative symptoms – I have developed a serious back pain (mid back). Not sure if this is because of sleeping on my back. Anyone else been thru it?
    Big thanks to Adam to have developed this website and help all of us to “keep tickin”.

  • FROG75

    Deep-All, I’m a 64 yr. old retired military (SEAL) and had a ‘3rd’ heart valve (cow’s) replacement 17 Apr. 14. Went in with a low 60 bpm and came out with an 80 bpm. Also had the back pain (upper rib, left side) for the 1st month or so, especially following initial walks and slow jogs. At this time back to full workouts, daily swims, PT and the likes and though not as fast as previously, I’m lifting and back to full speed wrt my workouts. My heart rate is holding in the high 70s/low 80 bpm and was told by my cardiologist and surgeon this is the norm ‘and’ over time the rate ‘may’ go down however, and obviously, the older, the slower. Additionally, concerning the back pain it was definitely acute, however, following a couple of visit to my chiropractor, and some brisk walks/jogs, it subsided/disappeared so I’m inclined to believe it was related to the healing process from the operation. Was told that often times the ribs need a bit of time to align properly during the healing process. Good luck to all and ‘may you live to swim another day! PS: growing up on a dairy farm I’ve always been partial toward those lovely Bovine!’

  • Heather nguyen

    I had emergency heart surgery and was on ECMO ice support after having a heart surgery that went wrong. My resting heart rate use to be 70’s now it’s in the 100s. When did yours go back to normal. I’m getting bad anxiety with my heart rate so high

  • Gregg Leslie

    Hi Heather,

    Did you get any replies? In coming up on 3 weeks, and I’m still running high..

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