“Metallic Taste After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Robin

I just received a set of emails from Robin about a metallic taste in her mouth after heart valve surgery. So you know, Robin is not the only patient to send me questions about this strange, surgical after taste.

In his first email, Robin writes, “Ever since my aortic valve replacement surgery I have had a nasty metallic taste in my mouth.  It gets especially bad if I eat anything sweet. The cardiologist theorizes that it is a by product of the heart-lung machine. Anybody else experience it? Anybody have any ideas of how to get rid of it? Thanks, Robin”

Then, I received a follow-up note from Robin with a short-term remedy to this issue.

Here is what Robin writes, “Since I last wrote to you I found a website that suggested gargling with water and a 1/4 tsp of baking soda.  It worked!!!  It brought relief at least for a few hours.  Ultimately, the bad taste did go away on its own, but the baking soda gets a great assist. Robin”

Thanks Robin for sharing your remedy!

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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  • Steve Falor

    Robin,
    I had my aortic valve replaced last Feb. I still don’t have my normal taste back, but it is better. I had the metallic taste for about a month and then just weird stuff like chocolate tasted horrible… anything alcoholic tasted like bad medicine… coke was putrid… you get the picture.

    Hang in there.

    Steve

  • David J Hudson

    Hi Robin,
    I too, had the metallic taste problem, after my AVR surgery. Wish I would have known about the baking soda solution. Glad you are doing better.

    Dave

  • Neil D. Kortie

    Robin,

    I too had a metallic taste in my mouth. It was like biting on a piece of tin foil. It lasted about two to three months. It’s been 5 months since my Aortic valve replacement and most of the side effects have subsided and life is very much back to normal.

    Sincerely,

    Neil

  • Cindy

    I noticed all of you had aortic situations. Just so you know, I had Mitral Valve Repair & I had that metal taste for a good 2 mos. as well. AAAHHH to be able to look BACK now & almost having forgotten part of the “fun” :)

  • fazilat

    hi
    I had the same prob still do feel like that taste, being used to spicy food i could not taste anything i still have prob with coffee and my op was avr 17 months ago

    fazilat

  • Andrew Wrigley

    After mitral valve replacement (mechanical) alcohol tasted revolting for a month. I put it down to 12 weeks on antibiotics to treat the endocarditis that finished off my valve. So interesting to see that this is not the case.

    Andrew

  • Fran Blondiau

    I like Cindy and Andrew have the same condition after Mitral Valve replacement 8 weeks ago..funny though, it isn’t every time I eat. I don’t have my appetite back yet, but I’m not looking for it!

  • Wendy Kalousek

    I had Mitral Valve replacement on May 14th and experience this same stange metallic taste expecially with certain aliments and especially wine. Surprisingly, my surgeon says he has never heard of such a problem before so I am relieved to see that I am not the only one experiencing this, and that it will someday go away.

  • Pat Groom

    My aortic valve was replaced in August this year, and like so many others the taste of metal in my mouth is awful, I kept cleaning my teeth,(not a bad thing) but the toothpaste also tasted very metalic. I will also try the gargle receipe and see what happens. My partner does not seem to understand that it is not her cooking that is bad, but the taste in my mouth that is causing me to leave food on the plate. She on the other hand thinks its me being awkward….. Otherwise I feel fantastic just very very tired when I get home from work.

  • Sally King

    Hi Adam
    My husband has just undergone Aortic Valve Replacement on the 11th July 2013 and is finding the every thing he eats tastes disgusting is this normal he usually has a good sense of taste, he has also noticed his sense of smell is stronger than before is this normal

    Regards Sally King

  • Dan Vasquez

    I had an aortic valve replacement surgery ( Medtronic stentless root valve) on July 8,2013. It has been 6 weeks and food just tastes awful I am glad to hear I’m not alone but am very concerned that this is a permanent side effect. I have lost 20 pounds and did not have 20 pounds to lose I look and feel awful

  • Bill McLuhan

    I had triple bypass and mitral valve replacement on May 15 2013. Since then I have had a terrible metallic taste that spoils most food. Even water tastes really bad. My appetite hasn’t returned yet and as a result I have lost 15 pounds which I can ill afford to do. I certainly hope things return to normal soon.

  • Andy Sexton

    Hi, I had a mitral valve replacement on the 23 Dec 2013, 18 Feb still things taste bad, ketchup, chocolate, meat, on the other hand Tonic water and just fizzy water taste great, after a while not eating or drinking the taste in my mouth builds up to be intolerable. I’m going to try the Bicarb gargle. My surgeon also said he never heard of this, glad it will be OK eventually and not just me….

  • sonya

    I had aortic valve replacement, and this taste is awful. with sweets, water, soda….. etc.
    does anyone know what causes it or if it can be fixed. this taste is unbearable at times. please help

  • Lauren

    I had both aortic and mitral valves replaced on Dec. 2, 2013. I continue to have the terrible taste in my mouth, although it seems to be getting better VERY slowly. I tried the baking soda gargle, but thought it didn’t help much. I find the blander foods are the worst and the spicier the better. I feel like the spiciness overpowers the bad taste that is there in the background. Foods that I loved taste awful now especially bread, potatoes, chocolate, baked goods. Sweet foods are the worst, and I’m afraid to say that salty foods like canned soup taste pretty good. I’m eating a lot of dairy and fruit. Surprisingly, fish and seafood tend to taste good. I agree with Andy that after not eating for awhile the bad taste builds up. Sometimes I feel my salivary glands go into overdrive and even my own saliva tastes awful! My family are all foodies and good cooks, so I REALLY want this to go away!! Thanks to everyone for commenting….it helps to know other are experiencing this.

  • Brian

    I’ve enjoyed this website and posts since being diagnosed with aortic stenosis 6 years ago. I had my bicuspid aortic valve replaced and an emerging aortic aneurism repaired at the Cleveland Clinic on Jan. 9th. I can’t remember an issue with the hospital food but after returning home 4 days after surgery all food had a real sweet taste. Fruit juices and starches were real difficult. Almost overnight the sweet taste turned to metallic for 3-4 weeks. Now it has become very bitter. Some foods like oatmeal, fruits, some nuts, cooked vegetables and my favorite, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, taste pretty normal. Other than this issue, my recovery has gone very well. At a little more than two months I am pretty much pain free, jogging around a half hour a day and walking forty- five minutes. Though I also lost about 12 lbs., weight I couldn’t’ afford to lose, I’ve had a great appetite and am
    noticing a gradual improvement with the taste issue. Give it time, like the rest of your recovery, and things should improve.

  • jstamos

    Many times lasix(Furosemide) is prescribed to remove excess fluids from your body. To counteract the loss, doctors often prescribe potassium Chloride which in up to 30% of patients cause bad aftertaste. I spoke to my surgeon and he said to stop the potassium chloride and eat 2 bananas or peaches to get the needed amount.

    I just had surgery at NY Presbyterian 6 days ago, and the taste in my mouth prevented me from eating as much as I should have. I tried stopping this supplement today and was able to enjoy food slightly more today.

  • Brian

    Great news and hopefully some optimism for those with taste issues. Since my post on March 20th my taste has returned to normal (it was bad), actually better than it was before surgery. I had a bicuspid valve replacement and aortic dissection done at the Cleveland Clinic on January 9th. Tomorrow will be 3 months post op. for me and aside from a slight soreness in my chest, I feel great. Admittedly, I didn’t want to believe the old “Just give it time.” advice even with a full blown sternochtomy. I was in such great shape before surgery, I thought I’d be shoveling snow in a couple of weeks. The hardest part of the whole recovery process was the time issue, but in retrospect, 3 months is a short amount of time relative to what was done to me. At 66 I’m jogging, bicycling, mowing, working around the house again, and very thankful for the great care I’ve had.

  • Joe Matranga

    I had mitral valve repair on May 9th, 2014. I still have the metallic taste in my mouth. Many foods nauseate me by just their smell. It is my understanding that bypass is the cause of the problem. Everyone will handle it differently. I was on bypass for over 6 hours. It is my understanding that it could take 3 months, 6 months, up to a year to get back to normal. But I also understand there are no reported cases of taste not coming back, so be patient. I will be the first to say it not easy to do. I find fruits, salads and vegetables to be best to eat. Seafood and spicy foods seem better. I also chew a small piece of gum to help with the taste in my mouth.

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