Hello Raman, welcome to HVJ! I feel sort of stupid myself "advising" an anesthesiologist about open heart surgery. You know all of the "ins and outs" of anesthesia, by-pass, surgery, etc., BUT maybe not recovery from aortic valve replacement. So..with a little hesitation but complete confidence, let me say...for me it was much easier than I had anticipated. The biggest issue I had was shoulder discomfort for several weeks, apparently from the position you are in on the table? Many "valvers" seem to experience this shoulder discomfort, for me it wasn't painful per se, more of a nuisance. I am sure with your experience you have chosen a center of excellence for your surgery, experience of the surgeon being the key. The breathing tube is, I think, the most dreaded part of this for most, for me, I remember it, was prepared for it being there, but it was removed very quickly (at least that's what I remember, lol). Maybe you won't get nervous at all, I was at first, but once I met Dr. Gillinov my "fears" gave way to a feeling of calmness and confidence. My advice for your preparation would be: 1) if you don't already have one, purchase/rent a recliner and 2) also get a travel pillow to help support your head and neck, helps with the shoulder discomfort. Good luck and welcome to the club!
Linda Dixon, AVR 3/13/12
Hi Raman, Welcome to HVJ. You are in the right place. I think people dont understand being scared. You have been in medicine for a long time and probably have seen it all. With all of that why would you be scared. You might get a little nervous later but that is natural. This time it is you on stage, but you will be fine. They say knowledge is power. I will follow you and good luck to you.
For the long haul