What Musculoskeletal Issues Might Heart Surgery Patients Experience?

By Adam Pick on October 26, 2007

If there is one thing I know about going through heart valve surgery… you learn a lot about your body. From the moment you are diagnosed with the need to have heart valve replacement or heart valve repair, new words, new terms and new acronyms start flying in one ear and out the other.

At first, I called it medical mumbo-jumbo. Then, I realized I should sharpen up on my heart anatomy and learn what all these unique terms meant – bicuspid, regurgitation, leaflets, stenosis, Ross Procedure, percutaneous, catheter, mediam (broken sternum), etc.

Following surgery, the learning doesn’t stop. During the recovery, a new set of terms and tests will become part of your post-operative life.

Musculoskeletal Issues For Heart Surgery Patients

One of the terms I came to know very well was referenced by cardiologist time-and-time again. That term was musculoskeletal. Any time I raised a concern about the pain in my incision or the pain in my chest, my cardiologist would say, “Don’t worry about that… It’s musculoskeletal! You’ll be fine.”

Then, when I mentioned my soreness to my surgeon during a post-operative follow-up, Dr. Vaughn Starnes said, “Adam – Your heart is doing great. That pain is musculoskeletal. Just give it some time. The body still needs to heal a bit.”

A guy can only take so much musculoskeletal before he does the obvious, right? That said, I went to Google and typed in musculoskeletal. As you would imagine, I had an answer immediately to what exactly musculoskeletal meant. According to Wikipedia:

The musculoskeletal system (also known as the locomotor system) is an organ system that gives animals the ability to physically move using the muscles and skeletal system. The human musculoskeletal system consists of the human skeleton, made by bones attached to other bones with joints, and skeletal muscle attached to the skeleton by tendons.

Needless to say, both my cardiologist and surgeon were right. The pain did go away after my heart valve replacement operation – although not as soon as they said it would. Regardless, I’m very thankful for my healing and my musculoskeletal system.

Keep on tickin!


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and The Wall Street Journal.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and The Wall Street Journal.

Adam's Newest Blogs

Adam's Newest Posts

Breakthrough Discovery: INSPIRIS RESILIA Aortic Valve Approved by the FDA Learn More.

We Rise To #2 On Feedspot’s 2018 Top Heart Blogs & Websites Rankings! Learn More.

New Community Posts

Kevin says, "August 16th 2016 - D-Day. One of the..."
Read more

steven a says, "check out my old site at steven a husted..."
Read more

Newest Community Post

Kevin says, "August 16th 2016 - D-Day. One of the"
Read more

steven a says, "check out my old site at steven a husted"
Read more

Damian says, "Dear Heart Community, I'm 3.5 years post"
Read more

Find Heart Valve Surgeons

Search 1,500 patient-recommended surgeons