“Did Your Sternum and Shoulder Click after Heart Surgery?” Asks Dale

I just received a great email from Dale about sternum and shoulder clicking after open heart surgery.

Dale writes, “Hi Adam – I had my surgery on November 2, 2009. The surgeon replaced my bicuspid aortic valve (with a bovine tissue valve), the root aorta, and grafted a large piece of my ascending aorta. I have a question… I have some very occasional clicking in my sternum. However, I also have clicking in my right shoulder. It has become more intense, frequent and uncomfortable. Is this normal? Thank you for both the book and this blog! Dale Pfeiffer”

Diagram Of Chest Incision For Heart Surgery

This email from Dale brought back some distinct memories from my early recovery.

Like Dale, I did experience sternum clicks from time-to-time as my sternum healed. In fact, one night I had Robyn (my wife) listen to my chest – as it clicked – to confirm that I wasn’t going crazy. To ensure the “clicking” was not problematic, I discussed this noise with Dr. Starnes, my surgeon, who calmed my fears with two words, “That’s normal.”

Unlike Dale… I did not experience any clicking or pain in my shoulder. However, after I started cardiac rehab, I did meet several patients, including Ted, that often complained of shoulder pain.

What is very interesting about the timing of Dale’s email, is that two other emails in my inbox – from Brian J. and Craig R. – are also asking about the exact same issue… shoulder pain.

That said, I did some quick research. It appears that shoulder pain, like chest pain, is normal for patients. According to the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, “Some heart valve replacement surgery patients experience pain in their chest and shoulder areas and become alarmed thinking it may be angina. This pain is usually due to muscle and bone aches.”

Still, I am curious to know how many, if any, of our patient readers can relate to Dale’s, Brian’s and Craig’s shoulder pain. So, my questions to you are, “Did you experience sternum clicking? Did you experience shoulder clicking? What about shoulder pain?”

To leave a comment, please click here. In advance, thanks for your help in our discussion of this topic!

Scroll down to see over 190 comments about this topic.

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.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Morgan

    Steve – I had the same surgery a little over a year ago and also experienced the kind of shoulder pain you are describing. The good news is that it stopped occurring within a few months. I tried everything to alleviate the pain and found that the only thing that worked was a heating pad and Tylenol. If I recall correctly the last episode of this that I had was about 5 months post-op so if you follow suit you are almost out of the woods. Good luck!

  • frank

    Hi Steve
    I had the same surgery as you. My surgery was Apr 28,2010. I had the procedure done in Pittsburgh, Pa. That was also my 70th birthday. I still have pain in my right shoulder. I sometimes also have some pain in my left shoulder. The pain is worse first thing in the morning. The pain has not stopped me from doing many of the things I did before the surgery (play golf, cut wood, split logs, etc.). The heat and Tylenol helps. The Drs. have not given me any reasons for the pain. They suggest different tests. I feel good otherwise and am not inclined to go for more testing. Reading these blogs has helped by giving me some insight as to what others are also experiencing. My problems may just a matter of my age and/or my meds. I hope you have better luck.

  • Micki

    Hi-I had my aortic valve replaced on March 8th, 2012. Three days later I went into complete heart block and had to have a pacemaker incerted which is now doing all the work for the lower part of my heart. I too had the intense shoulder pain after surgery for the first couple of weeks but it gradually went away. However, 4 months out I have recently been experiencing the clicking in my sternum. I was running the sweeper and bending over when it occurred. It certainly startled me as it continued for quite a while. It has been several days since and it is still clicking on me. Should I be concerned or is this just all of the healing process! From what I’ve been reading, it appears this is a normal process. I just couldn’t tell if it was my pacemaker clicking or my sternum. Very frustrating at times this healing process. Thanks Micki

  • ros

    Hi Micki – sounds as though you have had a rough trott. I found my cardiologist was wonderful when it came to little worrying concerns. Give him/her a phone call and just make sure. If you are anything like me, at this point, then you may have an aversion to going to the doc – because they might find something is wrong and enough is enough!! However, they really do know their job so well and its better and reassurring to check.

  • Bob Amodio

    Hi Adam,

    I am going into my 4th week post AVR surgery having received a bovine heart valve. I too experience shoulder and upper back pain from the surgery. Additionally, my first week post surgery, I was coughing up white phlegm. It then subsided. But now I am coughing up clear phlegm regularly again. Is this normal? I use my sperometor regularly and I was told my lungs sounded very clear the first few weeks out. I walk regularly. It has been extremely hot and humid for the past few weeks and I am wondering if that is contributing to these productive coughing episodes. I will be seeing my cardiologist for a post op exam in a week. I already saw my surgeon two weeks post op, but the coughing wasn’t as predominant as it is now.

  • Gary Z

    Adam, I had successful mitral valve repair done in Sept of 2011. Everything went perfectly. I have also been monitoring your blog since then because I also experienced shoulder and upper back pain immediately after surgery. It was severe but went away after a couple of weeks. Being an inventor (very curious person), I have studied this phenomenon and invented a unique surgical pad that I have just patented. I am confident that it will significantly reduce the incidence of severe back pain, especially between the spine and shoulder blades immediately after sternotomy. ICU staff should not have to deal with this pain when there is so much more of importance to deal with. Because I am not a doctor (only a physicist), I have no credibility. I need your help to identify a doctor who will listen and possibly run a trial. It is a class 1 device that does not need FDA approval. I have written a protocol and I will supply samples. Thanks so much.

  • georgie henry

    I had my aortic valve replaced 4 yrs ago along with a pacemaker and tightening up of 2 other valves; I never experienced anything like what is described here. Maybe the surgery affects men differently? Did you go to rehab afterwards? I had 3 months of it at the hospital. However, I did have other problems, like fluid on my lungs, twice, second time another 5 days in the hospital. My recuperation time was much worse than the surgery. However, my aortic valve is calcifying and will need another replacement plus the mitral valve as well’ am not looking forward to the second time around. I’m waiting for a report from CC as to what my options are and will go from there.

  • ros

    Any device that could alleviate that pain would be wonderful. There was a product on the web that used both hands to pull forward as the person stands. I think it would have been very helpful. Create a website and find someone to produce your product – there are lots of us out there. (o: Good Luck
    - Also my difficulty was that these products are American so making OS purchases is not that easy for Australian like myself. So make it an international website like this one of Adam’s and that would be even better.

  • Bob Barnett

    Yes, I had a loud POP at the dinner table one evening about 5 months after the sergery. Everyone at the dinner table heard it loudly. I had just finished wattering some hanging plants at arms lenght with a 2 1/2 gal jug. My guess is that lossened up a stress point. Have not had any more poping sence.
    Bob

  • gkhenry

    I had an aortic valve replacement 4 yrs ago – never had anything as described by r. barnett, it evidently happens to men more than women from what I have read on previous discussions on this subject, they also seem to have more pain after surgery, another problem I never had. at least that I remember.

  • Katlyn

    I had my heart surgery in december of 2011. So aboutseven eight months. And ever since my shoulders been hurting and uncomfortable. I was sent for an xray but dont know what the issue is yet.i have limited movement as well.

  • John

    I had my sternum removed about the same time as you Katlyn and I still have clicking and pain in my shoulder and back, although it is getting better as time goes by. My doctor told me that is normal. Drugs handle the pain pretty well.

  • Katlyn

    I went to see my primary doctor today and my xray showed nothing wrong so they juat gave me a referal for physical therapy. Probably just due to how they have your body during surgery and since ita a lengthly procedure. I had two surfires in one yr so thats what im thinking.

  • diane

    i have problems with my left shoulder also my trap muscle and the back of my head , i find it gets sore when i do any type of exercise, even fast walking, i had my aortic valve replaced (bicuspid and asending aortia had a graft, i went to see my chiropractor, he sent me to physical therapy, i have strength exercises to do at home , i do go to cardiac rehab but i had my surgery april of this year, and have only just started rehab,as i had a few problems, physical therapy worked out some of the knotts, (sore) said with this injury(from the surgery) you have to work it out, and keep using your arm…. Diane

  • ros

    Hi Katlyn, I had my op in oct 2011. In the first initial weeks when i visited the physiotherapist frequently I was given many tips to help relieve the muscle and joint pain. One thing they did comment on was, “if you could see how you were opened up you’d know why all the bones and muscles have so much repair work to do!” My job requires I carry a lot of things to and fro. My back around the lungs aches by days end so I really think about how I lift things. When I lie on the floor in the evening to flatten everything out its wonderful. However to get myself off the floor if I don’t cross my arms across my chest before raising my torso the sterum will ache. It gets better each month but I am just reminded that there is still a lot of healing going on.

  • ROBERT

    HEY, I TOO HAVE PAIN IN MY ARM AND SHOULDER. I HAD FIVE BYPASSES, ABOUT THREE MONTHS AGO. BUT MY SHOULDER IS THE WORSE, I DONT KNOW WHAT TO TAKE FOR IT,,, IS ALEVE OK TO TAKE,, IT WORKED BEFORE I HAD MY BYPASS

  • peggy eason

    I had triple bypass two years ago and ever since I have had pain in both my shoulders and arms. The right one seems worst. I was told it may be frozen shoulder but it wasn’t common to happen in both arms at the same time. I have noticed my collar bone on the right side sticks out where it didn’t before surgery. Sometimes if I stretch my arm out to reach for something a sharp pain runs all the way down my arm and it hurts to the point I feel sick but it does not last long.

  • ros

    Hi Peggy, I seem to say this over and over but physiotherapists are marvellous at getting the bones and muscles back in place.

  • Torkin Wakefield

    My 27 year old son had aortic valve replacement three weeks ago. During the second and third weeks he experienced prolonged pain in his shoulders and down his upper arms. The surgeon said that happens because when the sternum is cracked open the ribs sometimes compress nerves that go to the shoulders and arms. He said this is often a normal experience and will pass. Now in the beginning of the fourth week post surgery the shoulder and arm pain is all gone.

  • Dave Fuduric

    Dear Adam – My surgery was in February of 2010. I had mitral valve repair through a partial sternotomy at the Cleveland Clinic. I don’t recall any “clicking” however I did sense there was some movement there even after about 6 months. I had this checked on a follow up visit and they assured me everything was healing as normal. Also, I had acute pain at the back of my shoulder but this stopped a few days after surgery. I do have a “clicking” left shoulder when I do certain movements but I don’t think it is related to the surgery because I’m pretty sure that happened occasionally before I had the surgery.

    My sternum seemed to take a long time to heal. Only this year am I able to do regular push-ups with no discomfort around my sternum. One of the thoracic surgeons at The Clinic likened open heart surgery to getting hit by a truck. I can’t dispute that.

    Keep On Tickin’,

    – Dave Fuduric

  • Kathy

    I had three open heart surgeries from May 2011 thru February 2012 and after the 2nd surgery in July 2011, I felt clicking in my sternum and really bad clicking and pain but in my shoulder blade area. It has gotten better but it still is painful and still cracks.

  • bob mugge

    I am 4 weeks post CABG/4. No clicking in my sternum until today. I was simply walking and the sternum started clicking. No pain. Just freaked me out. First time this happened. AS far as pain goes? Neck, SHOULDER, RIBS and back have been killing me. I had less pain after 2 weeks than at 4. I can not sleep in bed with out being miserable in the morning. I thought I was passing a kidney stone. I am back on Lortab today to see if I sleep. Funny that this is a COMMON thing but they don’t tell you a thing about it in the “what to expect post cabg recovery” information. first thing they should do is NEVER put you in a hospital bed in the ICU or your room post op. You need a BIG power recliner so you can get in and out of bed.

  • sooraj

    im having chest pain from 7 years, started palpitation from 1.5 year went to my gp took ecg after watching ecg he said there is nothing to worry. but i did ecg by a difibrillator, there is extrasystole in it not frequent but after 18 , 45 .28 beats there is extra systole in it my g p he said nothing to worry its all ok.. im 28 year old im having chest pain under 3rd rib of left side.. can u answer me wat it is.

  • Maureen Lamarche

    I am just two years past AVR surgery and feeling great. However this question aroused my interest as I have been experiencing pain in my right shoulder recently. I notice it especially in bed if I am lying on that side. I can feel pain when I touch it. I was not thinking it was connected with my surgery until I read this column. So next week when I have my monthly check up, I will ask my doctor about it. Thanks for the heads up.
    I have not experienced any clicking.

  • biki

    I am 57 female, had my open heart surgery this october (2012). I am quite short and I am told they had to open it all really wide so it was like I was ‘attacked’ using the terminology of the second surgeon. I had a myectomy and valves. My sternum clicks, pops snaps and seems to almost jump around and hurts a lot, all this especially between the breasts. Is this normal, my surgeon seems unconcerned. also my scar at that point is wide, rubbery, extra red and hideous. Can I do anything about the clicking and snapping. Does it mean I do too much? I am very careful mostly to not use my arms excessively.

  • biki

    I want to add to the post I just sent that I cannot sit forward without excessive pain in the sternum. Is that normal? (I am the myectomy).

  • Candy Summers

    I had aortic valve replacement in May 2012. In answer to your question concerning shoulder pain, the answer is yes. I actually had more pain in my right shoulder and arm than in the area of the incision. It gradually went away within maybe six week but none of the drugs I was sent home with seemed to help.

  • Kerry Davis

    I too have had the aortic aneurysm repair along with the root replacement and valve replacement. The shoulder pain drives me crazy at night time. I do have the clicking in my shoulder but also had shoulder surgery several years ago. But as far as the sternum popping, it is driving me crazy! I had a cold and subsequent bronchitis and thought the pain was worse than my first few days after surgery and I am 8 weeks out from my surgery. I am actually getting ahold of my surgeon next week to discuss this with him because I go back to work in 2 weeks to a medium duty job. At times when I cough, after a second or two, my sternum will pop back into place. It is a crazy feeling. My BP has also been acting crazy at times so I am becoming frustrated.

  • ros

    Hi Kerry,
    Its so important for the surgeon to check its not something more serious. If its nothing more than the the long slow recovery then I can seriously recommend going to a physiotherapist. The massages really helped. Then I went back to square one. Do not use your elbows to get yourself in or out of bed. Cross your arms across your chest, swing your lower body onto or off the bed and then lower or raise yourself from the bed. Even now, one year on, I cross my arms to raise myself off the floor. The next tip the physio gave me was to watch my posture. Its really easy to have a bad posture when medicated on pain killers as its not noticeable until they wear off. Pull your “wings” back and then lower them as if you are trying to drop them into your back trouser pockets. The physio actually taped my back. – and extend your leave – you are not better yet. …. but you will be soon (0:

  • Connie

    I am 15 weeks post op for Mitral Valve repair. My initial soreness is generally over although I will still have stiffness in the mornings and still have some back pain. My problrm is for 3 days I have had intermitten stabbing or burning sensation from midsternum and right chest which radiates down my arm. Makes me afraid one for the wire is hitting something suddenly after all this time.

  • Marsha

    I had replacement of the descending aorta at age 49 (4 years ago now). There are times when I just feel sick from the pain in my shoulder and in the chest area of the left front. My Dr. assures me it is inflammation but it can be scary at times. My GP had given me Mobic to take but my heart Dr. was really leery of my taking it. Said to be extremely careful with it and to take it ONLY when a mild over the counter med would not help. And yes, I also have the “clicking” in my sternum area; sometimes the area near my incision actually looks like one side has raised up like a fault line after an earthquake! haha. If I rub it off and on during the day, it will finally go back in “place”.

    I also have 2 herniated discs in my neck but my Heart Dr. says NO to surgery. I get a tingling and numbness as well as pain in my left arm and my jaw as well as a feeling of a “clamp” around my left are near my bicept. It is scary and I try not to panic.. thinking HEART ATTACK. However, my surgeon assures I have no heart disease and the aorta is perfect.. it is the nerve/discs giving the problems. Sometimes its really hard to tell.

    There are so many things about this surgery (and what happens after) that no one tells you. I never know if certain aches and pains and weird feeling are normal.. (Like, I still cannot lay on my left side, it makes my heart skip beats or race.) I thank you for this site as I can come to it when I need answers.

  • Marsha

    Also, is there anyone else out there who is left handed and has had difficulty with gripping with the left hand after the surgery? I have never reagained strength after my aorta replacement. I also have had a feeling of a “line” down my face from about the center of my left eye to just below my left cheek. When I told the surgeon about this after my surgery, they acted like I was nuts. I also began having terrible numbness in my left shoulder blade and neck, down to the edge of my shoulder. I didn’t have that problem before the surgery. Had MRIs done and it showed 2 herniated discs. I thought maybe that happened when they opened me up like a chicken.. haha. Im not griping by any means and don’t want to sound accusatory. I am grateful to be alive and feel Blessed to have had a great surgeon. Two years after my surgery, I had to have cataract surgery on that left eye. I am sure that was not caused by the surgery but I wonder if some of the meds may have accelerated the condition. Anyway, thanks for listening.

  • ros

    Hi Marsha,
    Time for a second opinion.
    Also, if the heart and attachments are fine then may I suggest physiotherapy. They are great at sorting out pinched nerves, muscles and bones that didn’t quite go back the way they were. …. Really! (0:

  • joe bauer

    I had tripple bypass surgery 10 months ago and I have a lot of clicking in my chest. I also have a rubbing feeling in my ribcage like my insides are moving around when i bend over or in bed when i roll over, when moving arms to wipe something up. I had a catscan and my surgeon said everything is in place and to wait another 6 months if it still bothers me then come back.

  • Debbie

    Hello, . I did have some clicking while I was in the hospital. No shoulder clicking, that I know of. It always felt like the chest. And that was when I rolled over to my side. Then I tried to stay on my back. But now, one year later, I am having pain ;in my shoulder, shoulder blade area, not the blade it self, and I also notice the top of the sternum is not semetrical. Right under your neck, you feel two sides of your sternum. One pokes out more than the other one. I have pain, slowly coming on too. That’s why I looked up something about this issue and here you are =)

  • Renee

    I had aortic valve replacement July 27, 2011 when I was 31 years old. Afterwards, I did experience intense shoulder pain. Twice my husband called an ambulance as we thought it could be a heart attack. I rated the pain 8/10. Several days in the hospital followed both trips to the ER to monitor for increased pain, heart changes. After these two episodes, which fell in the first 90 days post-op, I still experience shoulder pain at least once per month. I am working on total body restoration & have completed a 5k, and this year I have been approved for a 10k. Click-click!!

  • Kellie R

    It has now been 9 months since my Open Heart Surgery and valve replacment. I have been in the last two months experiencing major pain in my upper right arm, right arm pit and left arm pit. Many times at night get the pain also in my right shoulder blade area. My slepp latley has been very little do to this pain waking me up at night. Many nights now only getting about 4 hours of sleep.

    At times the pain in my arm shoots all the way down my arm into my fingers tingles and takes my breathe away. There are times thoughout my days, I wish I had a sling to lust allow my arm to rest. I feel like my limb is lifeless.

    I am also noticing this pain now traveling to my left arm pit and lower arm at times. and if that is not enough, now in my left leg behind the knee area.

    I have noticed great depression, lack of enthusiasum, dizziness and uncontrollable crying at times. I have finally been able to get an apointment with the DR. which is actually this very morning that I am writing this. It will be interesting to see what he has to say.

    Many times I have shortness of breathe and feel like many days I am just in a fog.

    1 was doing rehab after my six week recovery period for 8 weeks and walk now, but with the pain I experience, I am afraid to do anymore. I just want my life back, not to mention some sleep too!

  • Laura

    I read the comments on shoulder pain following heart surgery. Four months ago I had a minimally invasive mitral valve repair (right mini-thoracotomy) that has left me with recurring chest and left shoulder/arm pain. This pain occurs when I use the muscles in these areas more intensely than usual. I did not suffer this type of muscle pain prior to surgery, so have concluded that this is a result of the surgery or of the recovery process. I first suffered the pain about 1 month after surgery and ended up in the emergency room with the concern that I was having a heart attack. No heart attack and no issues with my heart — just the first intense episode of the muscle pain. I have learned to roll with the punches on this by taking Aleve and using heating pad. I am hoping that this will resolve itself over the next year.

    I also have had silent migraines since the surgery. I suffered migraines prior to the surgery, but had very few in the last several years. Since the surgery, I have several silent migraines a week. These are characterized by an aura, but no other symptoms. I can readily control these symptoms, and have been checked out to make sure that I am not at risk of stroke. I am very healthy, no obvious stroke risks, and no other reasons for concern about the silent migraines.

    Prior to my surgery and recovery, I would have appreciated a more detailed sharing of information about these potential recovery issues — would have provided me with peace of mind.

    Thank you for taking the time to collect experiences from cardiac patients — it is very helpful to learn about the experiences of others.

  • Donna

    On February 4th, 2013 I had minimally invasive surgery for a mitral valve repair. I have progressed really well but not without experiencing the customary numbness and extreme sensitivity in my right breast and under my right arm (I know it sounds strange…being numb and having sensitivity at the same time but that’s the only way I can describe it). Last week I began having am lot of pain in my right shoulder. At first I thought maybe I had slept on it in an weird position, as sleeping on my right side can still be somewhat challenging at times. The pain has not subsided at all and I can’t help but wonder if maybe it’s because of the position my right arm was in during the 5+ hours of surgery. Because all of my incisions are on my right side does anyone know if they place your arm up over your head or off to the side during surgery? I am not sure that the two are even related. I tried looking this up on the Internet but didn’t find anything. In the meantime my heating pad seems to be the only thing that gives me a little relief. My sincere thanks for any comments or suggestions.

  • michael marlow

    I had quadruple bypass a year and a half ago. Clicking is getting really bad and it’s getting hard to sleep. I have to be laying just right for it to go away. Going to see about getting it fixed very soon.

  • Annette

    I had a valve replacement in January 2010 following rapid calcification and heart failure, heart attack and stroke.I was in hospital for 3 months but when I got out I had extreme pain in my right shoulder. It was agonising. Up until I read these posts I had blamed the stroke but now think it was the heart surgery. No one was able to say why but eventually a physio was able to suggest a way of standing that helped and the pain went fairly quickly after that.

  • Joe Bauer

    Hi!. I had a tripple bypass a year ago and have bad clicking in my chest. No pain at all but it is very annoying, and only started about 4 months after surgery. the feeling is like everything is moving arround in my chest when i bend over or move my arms (like wiping a counter or washing my car.) things like that. Doctors cant see anything wrong after i had a catscan. So I am now seeing a physical theropist to work on muscles in chest n hope that helps.

  • Ros

    It took me a full 12 months before the rib cage “healed”. It was knitted nicely at 12 weeks but for a very long time I would have to cross my arms in front of my chest before rising from a lying position. Even now, 18 months on, if I’ve been pruning in the garden the join will ache.
    The bones really are the last to repair themselves. I was convinced my ribcage had become two continents moving independently left and right side. I can still press my thumbs into the gap(or dip) along my centre line. I feel as though its like the San Andrea’s fault line!
    However – health wise – thank you surgeons – I’m alive and well!

  • Elly Martin

    I had Bypass Surgery on Feb 27, 2013

    My chest still hurts unbelievable and when i try to use my arms at all i have muscle pain all across my chest. Am 60 years old and in fairly good health otherwise. How long will this pain last some nites i just go to bed crying.

  • Ros

    Hi Elly,
    Its still early days yet. Hang in there it will get better. I am a firm believer of seeing a physiotherapist. They know how to untangle the muscles and bones and show you how to move and stand.

    From my experience I had to go back to step one. DO NOT use your elbows to rotate or lift yourself out of bed.
    Sit on the edge of the bed, cross your arms across your chest. Rotate your legs onto the bed and fall back onto the bed. (Pillows may help here.)
    To roll over – cross your arms across your chest and use your legs to rotate and move the entire rib cage as one movement. Don’t leave an arm behind!
    To get out of bed – Cross your arms across your chest, shimmy the legs over the side of the bed and then lift with the body NOT the arms or elbows.It helps if the bed is high and you can drop to the floor rather than having to raise yourself.
    Do take pain killers, do see a doctor.
    PS Been there – done that…. it will get better slowly and it really is worth having the operation. Shame they have to open the rib cage to get to the heart.

  • Marsha

    Great advice on getting into and out of bed!

  • Wanda Headrick

    Thank you for the information on shoulder pain following valve replacement, as I too have been experiecing severe left shoulder and chest pain since my surgery. My story: September 18, 2012 on a routine physicial, my PCP(who I have gone to for around 10 years) commented “did you know you had a heart murmur. My answer was “yes” my mother told me I was born with one. (the only other doctor who had commented on the murmur was during one of four pregnancies over 30 years ago). Next my PCP asked if I had ever had a 2-D Echo. My answer was “no”, but I would sure like a baseline one! (I am a neruo Critical Care Nurse and well understand the value of baseline scans and tests). I was scheduled for a 2D-Echo the next day. At 8am the day after the 2D-Echo, I recieved a rather urgent call from my PCP — “are you sure you do not feel short of breathe? I assured my PCP I felt fine — in fact GREAT – and that I routinely walked up 3-4 flights of stairs daily at work — and so an appointment was scheduled with a cardiologists. The Cardiologists explained I had a congenital aortic valve with a 5mm arotic aneurysm. This resulted in a Heart Cath on November 19th (my husband was in Australia and we wanted to wait until he returned). The results of the heart cath were that I had 30 days to have a valve replacement and aneurysm repair completed. The pressure gradiant through the aortic valve was at 90mmHg. Surgery occurred on Dec 10th when I recieved a Bovine Aortic Valve and a 5 inch Ascending Aortic Graft. The 5 hour Surgery went splendid. I was out of bed, standing, and took 3 steps the night of surgery. I spent the next day in the CTICU and was moved to the cardiac floor the next morning. That night I had a terrible case of anxiety of which I used my own aromatherapy remedy for — and from then on used aromatherapy for both anxiety and scar releif. I was already only taking Ibuprofen for pain. I was not even given a prescription for pain pills when I was dismissed 6 days later on Saturday Dec 16, 2012. On Dec 26, 2012 my husband and went back to town (we live approx 60 mile out of town) for the first time after my surgery — with me in the back seat per the Surgeons request to avoid air bags. On the way home we were involved in a freak accident where our car rolled over 2 times. We both came out unscratched!!! We did go to the emergency room and get checked out (me by ambulance). The only other complications were chronic diarrha from the metoporol I was on for a temporary time. 3 days after it was stopped I was a new person. On February 25th I returned to work full time – 3 days per week on 12 hour shifts – in the Neruo Critical Care Unit as a Registered Nurse. I have been on a 20 lb lifting restriction and my boss is riding me about that, but everytime I do much lifting, I have terrible left shoulder pain. My left shoulder also clicks constantly. As we are tipically short of help and most of our patients have one side which does not work from a stroke, it is hard not to lift more than I should. This past week after my shifts were over, I was unable to even lift my left arm up, my hand swelled and the pain was nearly unbearable. I had 2 massage therapy treatments which helped and used some anti- inflammatory essential oils in a rub. Several places in my spine and shoulder moved and I am now feeling better. I would love you imput, thoughts, or suggestions. I don’t know if I sould continue work, take long term disability (for which I have paid for for years) or what, I am 4 years from retirement and feel I am in a delima not knowing where or what to plan for. I have lots of energy and feel great other than the left shoulder pain — which is about to get me down. I look forward to your imput. Thank you

  • Donna

    I originally posted on March 24th, 2013 about experiencing severe pain in my right shoulder after have minimally invasive mitral valve surgery. I ended up going to an orthopedic doctor that confirmed I had developed ” frozen shoulder”. He shared with me that this is a common occurrence in heart patients, particularly those that have the minimally invasive surgery. As I am left handed I wasn’t forced to move my right arm very much during my recovery. The immobility caused severe inflammation in my shoulder joint. I had worked so hard to recover from the surgery and then this! He gave me a shot of cortisone and signed me up for physical therapy twice a week. This Thursday will be my last physical therapy appointment. I still have a little bit of pain and the mobility is not back 100% yet but I am getting there. It’s just a slow process. I still have numbness in my right breast and under my arm that is gradually going away but other than that I am progressing really well from my surgery. I hope this post will help anyone that may be in a similar situation.

  • Gary

    I had sinus valsalva anuerism surgery in April 2013. This is an open heart procedure and post surgery almost 2 months later I am experiencing pain in both shoulders and up both sides of my neck. I also had bipass surgery in 2000 and experienced this same post surgery pain.

  • Ed Grace

    On August 8, 2013 I had a triple bypass.. Sternum has some popping and cracking in certain positions. My left shoulder hurts at night. . Is this normal and when should it go away.. I have a follow up with surgeon Aug 28, 2013 Thanks

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