“When Will My Heart Stop Beating So Strongly After Heart Valve Replacement Surgery?” Asks Anne

I just received a great question from Anne. In her note, Anne writes, “How long can a patient expect to feel their heart beating so strongly after heart valve replacement surgery?”

To answer Anne’s question, I was fortunate to meet with Rawn Salenger, MD, Director of Heart Valve Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York. Here are the highlights from our discussion. For the patients and caregivers in our community who are hearing impaired, you will find a written transcript of this video below.

Thanks to Anne for her question and a special thanks to Dr. Rawn Salenger for sharing his clinical experiences with our community.

Keep on tickin!

P.S. A written transcript of this interview is provided below:

Adam: I’m thrilled to be with Dr. Rawn Salenger who is the Director of Heart Valve Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York.  Dr. Rawn Salenger, MD has performed successful surgery on many patients in our community including Kathleen Ryan and Gene Bove.  We’ve got a question, Dr. Salenger, that comes in from Anne. She says, “How long can a patient expect to feel their heart beating so strongly after heart valve replacement surgery?”

Dr. Salenger:  Well, that’s a very common question. What I tell patients is — a lot of times after surgery, especially when they go to bed at night, they may hear their heartbeat or even kind of feel it in their head. That sensation will go away after about eight to 12 weeks, sometimes much sooner.  I think what it’s from is after surgery, there’s fluid around the heart. That fluid tends to amplify the sound of the heart beating and also the feeling of the heart beating.  But, as that fluid solidifies into scar tissue, instead of amplifying the sound, that actually deadens the sound which softens the sound. Then, it should go away. One exception to that is a slightly different question that comes out occasionally for patients who get a mechanical heart valve.  They don’t hear their heart beating. But, every time their heart beats, they can hear the opening and closing of the heart valve replacement.  It doesn’t happen for every patient, but it happens commonly. That doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with the valve. But, it’s something that, especially at night when things are quiet, patients can hear.  And usually, people get used to that. It shouldn’t bother them at all.

Adam:  I can remember my wife could hear my heart when I was sleeping shortly after surgery. One night, she said to me, “I can hear your heart.”

Rawn Salenger, MD:  And how long after surgery was that?

Adam:  It was about two weeks after surgery.

Doctor Salenger:  I think I get that question a lot — just about two weeks after surgery. I haven’t heard of any patient where it has persisted.

Adam:  Thanks again for being with us today.  I really appreciate it.  Keep up all the great work that you’re doing at Good Samaritan Hospital.  And again, thanks for stopping by.

Dr. Salenger:  Thanks for having me.

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.

  • Raman Shanker

    When is the Medtronic Core valve expected to be approved for all patients in the usa.

  • Gene Parrish

    Anne, I hate to disagree with Dr. Salenger, but I think you should know that the strong heart beat you are experiencing now may not go away. I had surgery four years ago, and I still have a very strong, pounding heart beat. And if you will explore various online medical forums, you will find hundreds of people that would agree with me. I sincerely hope that you will be the exception. Many doctors will confess that they really don’t know what causes this. I hope you get along well. Best wishes for your recovery.

  • Vince Kelley

    I agree with Gene on this. I am almost 3 years post Ross Procedure (so no mechanical valve) and I can still feel a strong heartbeat at times. I can’t hear it but can definitely feel it. Before my surgery, my cardiologist called this a “bounding” heartbeat and I assumed it was fairly common for people with leaky aortic valves. I figured that it was my body’s way of compensating for the leak. It is not as bad as it was presurgery and most days I don’t notice it at all. There are sometimes though where I do notice it, especially when I’m in bed. If I lay on my left side I can feel it stronger and if I roll over onto my back or right side, I don’t feel it much at all. Hopefully it will go away for you and good luck with your recovery, Anne.

  • Ricky(a female)

    Heart pounding? …..no…..but clicking? YES…….10 YEARS LATER still.
    Some times,I can even hear my heart beat in my ear….If I have slept hard,on my side,
    Before surgery on my mechanical Mitro valve,my Brother,a Dr.,asked the surgeon if he was giving
    me a noisy valve,the Dr.said,”she’s a big girl ,she can handle it…….WELL,I’m still

  • Michael Ryan

    It has been 4 years since I recieved a St Judes mechanical aortic valve and about 6 inches of artificial upper aorta. I still feel and hear my heart beat. At times even my co workers comment that they can hear it. It is something that I have not really gotten used to, especially at night, but the alternative of not getting it fixed was alot worse. I do hope your issue resolves itself. Mike

  • William Jerzek

    Same here, Gene. 10 months later and same strong heart beats. Dr. Salenger with all due respect is wrong. I can hear the heartbeat but my cardiologist says it’s the mechanical valve.

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