“Problems Sleeping After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Jenny
I just received a great question from Jenny about sleep after heart valve surgery.
Jenny writes, “Adam, I had mitral valve replacement seven days ago for regurgitation. I’m struggling a bit as I deal with the some of the post-operative challenges you address in your book. I’m really having an issue getting a good night of sleep. Sleeping at the hospital was tough enough. But, it’s gotten worse since I came home. I feel like a Zombie. And, the night sweats continue. Is this common? Thanks, Jenny”
Over the years, I have spoke many patients – especially tummy sleepers – that have expressed several sleep problems following heart valve surgery. Some of those problems include:
- Inconsistent sleep, waking up often
- Night sweats
- Discomfort getting in and out of bed
- Heart pounding noises
- Mechanical valve replacement clicking
Finally, some patients may have an adverse reaction to medication intended to enhance sleep. Personally, I had a very, very, very strange reaction to Ambien. One night, after taking a 10mg Ambien pill, Robyn (my wife) found me sleepwalking through our house. When Robyn approached me, I responded to her as if I was a character in a book that I was reading. When I woke up the next morning, I had no memory of the episode. Needless to say, that was the last time I took Ambien.
As many former patients read this blog, maybe they can share their thoughts on this topic. Did you experience any problems sleeping after heart valve surgery?
I hope this helps Jenny (and perhaps you) learn more about sleep after heart surgery.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.