Open Heart Surgery Recovery Time

By Adam Pick, Patient & Author of "The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery"

In my opinion, the recovery from heart valve repair and heart valve replacement surgery needs much, much, much more attention and patient education.

"Why does Adam say that?" you might be wondering.

Well... Leading up to my open heart surgery, much of the focus was strictly on the surgical process of replacing my diseased heart valve.

The key questions raised during this time were:

  • "Which surgical option should I chose?"
  • "What type of valve replacement should I select?"
  • "Who will be my surgeon?"
  • "Where will the surgery take place?"
  • "How much will the surgery cost?"

Needless to say, these are all very important questions. Yet, as I look back on it, neither my cardiologist or surgeon sat me down to discuss open heart surgery recovery time.

It is true that I received some coaching on the "do's and don'ts" of heart valve surgery recovery. (I think I received a ten-page handout upon hospital discharge.) However, I never received a detailed, comprehensive set of verbal or written instructions to accelerate my open heart surgery recovery time.

As a result, my recovery was filled with many unexpected challenges and pitfalls. To some extent, my recovery turned into a rollercoaster - with multiple "ups" and even more "downs". Some of the issues I faced included cardiac depression, sternum pain and Vicodin addiction.

Like many patients during their open heart surgery recovery time, I experienced many thoughts of "What's wrong with me?" and "Will I ever truly be my old self again?"

The Patient Realities Of Open Heart Surgery Recovery Time?

In writing my book, I decided to find out if I was alone in these thoughts. That said, I ran an extensive survey in which I asked hundreds patients about their recovery experience. As I learned during this research, most heart valve surgery patients surveyed suggested that heart valve surgery recovery was "more difficult than expected". The patients surveyed also suggested that their cardiologists and surgeons could have better prepared them for their recovery.

This is the key reason I wrote The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. I want to help future patients and their caregivers avoid all the problems I experienced during recovery. As you will read in the next few chapters, there are several, critical steps that you and your support group can take to minimize or eliminate the potential struggles of cardiac surgery recovery.


Valve Surgeon Spotlight


Valve Surgeon Spotlight


Dr. Allan Stewart
Mount Sinai Hospital
New York, NY

Featured Patient


Mike Nunes


Mike Nunes
Mitral Regurgitation