Gail’s Pounding Heartbeat Question Triggers A Memory
By Adam Pick on August 9, 2008
There are some things about my aortic valve replacement surgery that I will never, ever, never, ever, nehhhhh-verrrrr forget. (To learn more, click here.)
One such memory is that of my LOUD and POUNDING heartbeat on the second night home from the hospital. It was around 10pm on a Monday evening. Robyn, my wife, had just laid down next to me in bed. We talked for a bit and then, after exchanging “I Love Yous”, we entered that silent period right before sleep.
As we laid quietly in the dark, my new heart decided to make its presence known. A “Bum-Bump” rattled in my chest and head. Then another “Bum-Bump”. It became louder and faster “BUM-BUMP! BUM-BUMP! BUM-BUMP!” I instantly became fixated on the loud repetitive sound. In fact, I became thrilled knowing that my heart valve flaps were working so well. (Fyi, your heart valve leaflets make the “Bum-Bump” sound in your heart as they open-and-close.)
Little did I know, my pounding heartbeat was NOT exclusive to my auditory senses.
A minute later, Robyn whispered aloud, “Oh my gawwwwsh! Is that your heart making those noises? I can hear it from over here.”She continued, “I’ve never heard anything like that.”
While we were concerned at first, we quickly rationalized that my heart was simply adjusting to the benefit of having two, new heart valves opening-and-closing like never before. Robyn said to me something like, “After having your bicuspid aortic valve replaced, I bet your heart is really, really happy!”
For this reason, I perked up in my chair this morning when I read Gail’s email. Gail writes, “Dear Adam – Your book was helpful and I thank you for it. My husband is sixty years old and seven weeks post-op yesterday with a St. Jude mechanical heart valve replacement. Okay, our question is…. There are times (more times than not) when his heart beats so hard it literally shakes him. Sort of like very small earthquake tremors. It doesn’t bother him physically. Is this normal?”
While every patient case is unique, I believe, given my experience and the experiences of other heart surgery patients I have interviewed, the pounding heartbeat issue is not unique to Gail’s husband or me. Several other patients have shared similar stories specific to loud heartbeats following cardiac surgery.
However, if you have any other thoughts or ideas, please leave a note for Gail.
Keep on tickin!