Heart Valve Surgery Recovery And Healing
Recovery From Heart Valve Surgery... How Long Does It Take?
Excerpt From Chapter Fourteen Of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery by Adam Pick
One of the questions I had specific to heart valve surgery was, “How long will it take to recover from heart valve surgeries including mitral valve repair or aortic valve replacement?”
Patients ask this question for several different reasons. Some patients want to know how long they will need to be away from their work.
Some patients want to know how long they will need medical care when they return from the hospital. Other patients want to know how long they might be in physical discomfort as a result of the surgery.
“So, How Long Does It Take To Recover From Open-Heart Surgery?”
The first time I searched the Internet, looking for answers to this question, I found several resources which stated that the average recovery time from heart valve surgery was eight to twelve weeks.
That seemed like a pretty significant amount of time.
So, I decided to double-check with my surgeon. When I asked Dr. Starnes, he said, “Adam, you’re a young guy. I think you are going to 'snap back' in no time from your aortic valve replacement.”
While that response made me feel good, Dr. Starnes did not fully answer the question. So, I did some more digging and interviewed former patients to better understand my future recovery.
Interestingly enough, I was very confused by the variance in recovery times. Some patients were back at work in five weeks. Other mitral valve repair patients were out of work for several months.
As you will read in later chapters, my recovery from cardiac surgery did not occur in eight to twelve weeks. I did not ‘snap back' during my recovery. Rather, recovering from heart valve surgery was a very challenging process that involved several mental and physical obstacles.
I am telling you this now, at the beginning of ‘Part IV - The Recovery’, to emphasize this overlooked and often mismanaged element of cardiac surgery recovery.
Everyone recovers from heart valve surgery at a different rate. There is no pre-defined recovery time.
Since my surgery, while preparing the research for this book, I have interviewed more than 78 valve repair and replacement patients to better understand patient recovery from cardiac surgery. In hearing their stories, I learned many details about heart valve surgery recovery that I did not know.
> NEXT: To learn more about the challenges, opportunities and pitfalls of heart valve surgery recovery, please click here.
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.