I am scheduled to have my surgery on September 25th. When I met with the surgeon he indicated to me that you can return to a normal lifestyle in 5-8 weeks. However it can take up to 6 months for your heart to recuperate from working overtime from your damaged valve. Your heart will have to get used to having a healthy valve. It may still beat quite strongly "up in your throat" as you called it until it can get used to having a healthy valve.
I'm not much help because my condition is in the let's-watch-it stage. However, I get the idea that it can take quite awhile after surgery to get back to feeling better. I hope you see definite improvement soon.
I will be sending prayers and healing thoughts your way as your surgery date approaches. I had my mitral valve replaced with a St. Jude mechanical valve in January 2010. I'm feeling fine and life is very good post-surgery. I certainly remember the fear and anxiety I felt before I had the procedure done. It will be a relief for you to finally have the surgery - I think the waiting is the worst part. So hang in there and be positive, and stay connected with the Heart Valve Journals. I found this site to be a tremendous source of support to me before and after my heart surgery.
Thank you for signing my guestbook in response to my question about rheumatic fever.
From reading your journal, I know you have some fear and anxiety, but know that everyone has some of this at some point. For me, I had known for 12 years that this day would come, and every year at the time of my cardiac checkup I got very nervous, and then breathed a great sigh of relief once it was over because surgery was again postponed. This January I heard "it needs to be done this year", and everything changed. II went through a period where I could think of nothing else - thoughts of the surgery filled all of my waking hours. And then I got kind of used to the idea. And now I am trying to finish various projects around the house and in all my outside activities, and have found that keeps my mind more occupied. And I am just beginning to experience that "let's get it over with" feeling. So you may go through these phases as welI, and the advantage is that we have some time to check things out, ask questions, get things in order. I would also recommend asking your doctor for something to help you with the anxiety, or if you are having trouble sleeping at night. I have a "happy pill" that I can take if need be. (Always found useful first night of a vacation, especially on camping trips, to help me get to sleep.)
Nancy and Selma and many others have made good points - I agree with them all. Hang in there! Vel Turner
To answer.your question, it depends on your age, and more importantly, who does your surgery and where you have it done. My surgeon told me 95 to 97% of all mitral valves can be repaired rather than replaced. Repairs are better than replacements because there are fewer complications and they last longer. It is crucial to find a good surgeon because most replacements are done simply because the surgeon does not know how to do the repair. Selma is right......ask your surgeon why you need a replacement rather than a repair and make sure you get a second opinion. Finding the right surgeon was the second hardest part for me......waiting was the hardest!
Good luck and use this site to ask as many questions as you need to.
Godspeed and good luck,
This is a very good site for information on your surgery. I came here when i heard that I needed to have my Aortic Valve replacement. It was replaced in Oct 2011 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville Tennessee. It has been an amazing journey. If I were to say what was the hardest part it was the waiting. I wish I had done it quicker than I had!!
Hi, Judy --
Welcome to the best place on the internet! The people here are amazing and you'll get more information than you know what to do with! I'm scheduled for a mitral valve repair on May 11th. What I learned doing my research is that over 90% of mitral valves can be repaired rather than replaced IF you go to a "center of excellence" where the surgeons are very experienced in this procedure. You want someone who has done hundreds, if not thousands, of repairs. I am fortunate to live not too far from such a hospital. Not sure how things are in South Africa, but when you start discussing the procedure, that's the most important question to ask!
You can get a huge amount of information right here on Adam's blog, and I can recommend another place to learn about mitral valve repair and replacement:
As Nancy said (and she knows!!), this has become a routine surgery. Not for us, of course, who are having our hearts repaired, but for the docs who do this every day.