“Open Heart Surgery And Hair Loss?” Asks Tim

By Adam Pick on July 23, 2009

I just received a very interesting question about hair loss and heart surgery from Tim.

He writes, “Dear Adam – I had an aortic valve replacement and an aneurysm repair procedure done in February, 2009. Your book really helped me prepare for my surgery! Anyways, the operation and recovery went very well but now I seem to be losing my hair very rapidly. I am a 62-year old male that has been taking Propecia and using Rogaine for 20 years. Could it be the stress of the open heart surgery that is causing my hair loss? Has anyone else who has had this type of surgery had sudden hair loss like mine? Thanks, Tim”


Hair loss after heart surgery


I can really, really, really, really, really relate to Tim’s question about hair loss after open heart surgery.

“Why?” you might be wondering.

Well, I have to admit…I used to have a full head of hair. Then, I had open heart surgery. Now, I’m losing my hair like crazy. Maybe it is the stress of the surgery and recovery? Maybe it’s the stress of becoming a father? Or, maybe my age is simply catching up with me?

To answer Tim’s question, I just did some research about this topic. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any clinical research that connected hair loss with heart surgery. Then again, I doubt many grants have been issued for this type of research.

Perhaps you can help Tim and me? Did you experience baldness or balding patterns following heart surgery? If so, please leave a comment below.

Keep on tickin!

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

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 Medical News Today.

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 Medical News Today.

Larisa Hidalgo says on October 13th, 2013 at 7:14 am

My hair stopped falling out about a month ago since Feb 2013.

Don says on October 25th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I had an aortic valve replacement July 22, 2013. My hair has suddenly started to come out by hands full. What gives?

Vickie says on January 20th, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I had minimally invasive mitral valve replacement on 9/10/13 with lots of complications including extremely low blood pressure for several days. Now that I’m on warfarin for life i’m concerned that my hair loss is due to the medication. The hair loss began around December 1 so I’m really praying that it’s related to surgery. What gives is right!

Larisa Hidalgo says on January 24th, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Yes, it is related to surgery. Mine lasted for 7 months.

Elizabeth Killian says on February 18th, 2014 at 10:11 am

I had triple bypass and a mitral valve repair in October of 2011. Up until then my hair was very straight and with good body.
After the surgery my hair turned very soft and quite wavy and CURLY. After hair loss and it coming back I like my hair a hundred times better than it was before. Go figure.

Kelly says on February 18th, 2014 at 10:30 am

I had triple by-pass at age 42 in 2011-shortly after surgery my hair kept falling out in clumps in the shower-I was terrified thinking I would be bald in months I have very thick long hair-I seen the dr. And they told me it was stree from the surgery. Thank god it stopped falling out and grew back and looks great now! Really all you emotionally go threw with heart surgery, hair falling out makes of even more stress! All is good today!

Christine Herdell says on June 1st, 2014 at 9:25 am

I had aortic valve replacement open heart surgery in early February 2014. I have always had fine thin hair. But about a month ago, I noticed that it is thinner than ever and my shiny scalp is showing through! I am also experiencing a tenderness on the top of my scalp and toward my forehead. I was put on Coumadin for atrial fibrillation but hopefully can stop that in a few weeks. I was on Amiodorone for a few weeks, but it made me so sick that the doctor stopped it. I also take Metoprolol (started a couple of months before surgery). So you see it is impossible to isolate one single factor that might explain this hair loss. I recently had a CBC done and it showed that my thyroid is sluggish and I’m anemic. What next? Has anyone else ever had thyroid issues after open heart surgery?

Elizabeth Killian says on June 2nd, 2014 at 9:19 pm

I had the same problem after open heart surgery. My hair got thin but my doctor told me to take one Biotin and one zinc pill a day. My hair has gotten much much better. BUT the most amazing part is that all my life I’ve had straight hair and now it’s actually gotten rather curly.
Yes I have that same bit of tenderness on the very top of my scalp. No clue what that is all about.
I should also mention that I had a kidney transplant 9 years ago and sure take plenty of pills from blood pressure meds to anti-rejection meds. Never really affected my hair until the heart thing. That will be three years ago in Sept. So, do try the Biotin and Zinc but of course ask your doctor first.
BTW, doing fine and don’t have to use the hair curler like I used to. Good Luck.

Vickie says on June 3rd, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Thank-you to all who replied about hair loss. Its now been nearly 9 months since surgery and my hair is growing back. Most noticeable in the front since it frizzes in the humidity. I feel great now and am back to my golf game. Well worth having the surgery and all those problems!

ron reid says on June 8th, 2014 at 9:19 am

Wow , this page has been the most helpful for me .I had valve and 7 blockages done on Jan.31 2114 . four months ago. the last few weeks I have noticed my hair thinning ,seems pretty fast. 65 in July .I was thinking my mirror was getting old on me. thanks to all and good luck RON..

Dani Millar says on October 27th, 2014 at 10:20 am

A lot of people I know have Had luck with the Hair Skin Nails supplement from it works! If you want to check it out go here!

I seriously love this stuff, it’s a supplement and is reasonably priced 🙂


Linda says on January 17th, 2015 at 9:41 am

It has been 5 months since I had triple bypass surgery I’ve noticed that I’ve lost a lot of hair since my surgery I am a 60 year old female

Michele Consulmagno-Morrell says on July 7th, 2015 at 12:24 am

Hi Linda I’m Michele – I’m 52 and 3 months ago had a quad bypass – starting losing my hair 2.5 months after — has your hair loss stopped? I’m freaking!

Kathy Boyd says on September 1st, 2015 at 12:22 pm

I had mitral valve replacement April 27, 2015 and in the past month I have been losing my hair like crazy and shedding. I am freaking out. I am 57 years old and have pretty thick hair, but OMG, I can not lose my hair too. I have never in my life had medical issues. My arteries are clear, my cholesterol, etc. is good, but my hair loss is causing me stress. Please, someone can you tell me what is a good supplement to take and reassure me my hair will grow back. My hair is very long, but if I need to cut it to prevent hair loss, I am willing to do it. Help!

Tansmom says on September 1st, 2015 at 2:17 pm

My mother had a full head of hair and had 5 bypasses and aortic valve replacement. Now – 4 months later she barely has a hair left on her head. She is hysterical about it!

dan says on October 7th, 2015 at 3:19 am

i had triple heart by-pass on Feb 12 2015 and the hair i lost over last few years is COMING BACK IN not falling out it is very noticeable in places i was smooth

Cher says on October 8th, 2015 at 12:59 am

I just had an aortic valve replacement and one by pass on July 2, 2015. I had complications and was in the OR almost 2 hours longer than normal. I have been having major hair loss. I do take synthroid for my thyroid and noticed my usually normal TSH blood test was considered low at 0.197. I am going to show my doctor the results. I have been taking Hair, Skin and Nails supplement. Hope it helps as I use to have long thick hair.

Raul rodriguez jr says on December 14th, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Hi I had aorta dissection on January 5 2015 had always a full thick of hair. Now it’s starting to fall out a lot, been stressing due to recovery and not thrilled about this hair loss. Any supplements I can take, been using nioxin for a while . Is biotin good to take ? Especially now with so many meds I’m taking?

Debbie Sykes says on August 9th, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Hi Adam,
I appreciate all your effort to educate and encourage those of us impacted by health matters of the heart.
I have experienced significant hair loss after my open heart mitral and tricuspid valve repair surgery 8 weeks ago. I became aware of it within a week after surgery and had never experienced hair loss prior. My hair stylist told me she sees this effect on many post surgery clients who had significant time under general anesthesia. Not a scientific answer but I join you and others with this experience.

Betty Custer Satterfield says on February 1st, 2017 at 12:50 pm

I had a quad bi-pass surgery along with my aortic valve replaced and within 4 weeks of surgery I have loss so much hair that i now have two areas of my head that I am having to try and cover. I was 68 years old when I had the surgery two years go and had never experienced hair loss before that. My hair dresser said she sees this often with her clients that undergo major surgery. I see my cardiologist in 2 weeks and plan to ask him about it.

Nancy Holmes Avalos says on June 20th, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Tim, I am with my very good friend who had valve replacement in feb 2017 and her hair is falling out by the gallons! She too is very concerned. She is 55 yrs old and never had this issue. I think you may be on to something here.

Beth Young says on September 14th, 2017 at 1:53 am

Adam I had my mitral valve replaced thru minimally invasive surgery. Surgery was 2 years ago. The next 9 months were a nightmare. I was rehospitalized because of trouble breathing and the loss of our oldest child followed by pneumonia (2different viral types at once ) where I had to get my lungs cleared out because of mucus plugs and another pneumonia (bacterial). I’m 58 now and besides thinning head hair I’m also losing body hair.

Cheri Childs says on March 10th, 2018 at 8:26 am

My mothers going through the same.

amy simonds says on September 1st, 2018 at 10:19 am

Mitral valve replaced, tricuspid repaired. Bi ventricals PPM placed. Since then there has been extreme shedding if hair daily. Once extremely thick full head of hair is very sparse. Hair used to grow rapidly, no obvious growth observed in past 4 months! Other body hair appears thinner, no more under armour hair. 52 year old male with no history of baldness or prior medical history who needed surgery after a SCA . Searching for answers about hair loss too, hope this helps.

Cheryl says on December 6th, 2018 at 7:07 pm

I had a mitral valve repair on June 29, 2018 and have noticed hair loss and thinning since July. Just on a whim, I decided to check the internet for any correlation and came upon this discussion. I was surprised to see so many posts in this regard. It looks like many of you are experiencing regrowth after about 6 to 12 months. It’s good to know it may not be permanent. Good health to all of you.

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