Tammi, I understand the feeling of wierdness-the anesthesia and the surgery effects take awhile to get out of your system-your body has gone through a major event needless to say. The doctors don't always tell you this.I went back to my cardiologist and family doctor a few times to see if my heart was ok. It was but after this surgery I wanted to be sure-don't be afraid to ask your doctors any questions or concerns you may have-that's what they are there for. Nothing is to silly to ask about. Prayers for you,Candy C.
Hi, It does get better! I had a bovine valve on Aug.4rth 2009. My Mom kept saying in a year it will be so much better or sooner than that even. Long story short I am so much better now-After surgery you do wonder if you'll ever feel human again-Hang in there. I was 54 At the time. I had heart surgery also when I was 2 years old. Sending prayers your way--Candy C.
Any chance you could be anemic? Even after a transfusion of one unit post op, I was still anemic and took iron every day for 2 months until my hemoglobin levels were back to normal. That could account for the fatigue, also if you have an infection, as slight as it could be. Either or both of those conditions could be detected by a simple blood test (CBC). Dehydration can also wreck havoc with our bodies, so, drink plenty of water. You might want to ask if you could take something as simple as Tylenol PM for sleep (1 may even work). It's hard to heal and feel better if you're not getting adequate sleep. Be positive and know this won't last forever.
I am six months out from my AVR. Yes you will feel all sorts of pops and aches for the next few weeks. The connective tissues are reconnecting and you have nerves that may be compressed and they are 'firing' back to life. Stay ahead of the pain, do your spirometer and make sure you walk a little everyday. I am not a doctor but it helped me get back to work in two weeks. GOOD LUCK!
Surgery is over and you are back home! You will be surprised at your progress as the next few weeks pass by. I am now one year post a mitral valve replacement with a porcine valve. My surgery was performed at the
Cleveland Clinic where I had a very positive experience. Having gone through heart surgery at age 5 for a congenital defect, it made last year's surgery number 2. I was 51 at the time of surgery, but felt blessed because my mitral valve far outlasted physician's predictions that it would need to be replaced by the time I reached age 20.
I selected the tissue valve with the hope of getting off coumadin. I have had atrial fibrillation but pray the Maze procedure done at the time of surgery has remedied that issue. Dealing with the Afib has been very disconcerting. It has reared its ugly head on every vacation that I've taken over the past 5 years. I am now off the Afib drugs but will remain on the blood thinner for a few months to be sure the Afib does not reoccur. I am anxious to get off the coumadin.
As others have said in their posts, my surgery and recovery were not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. I know I can handle a 3rd open heart surgery if it is needed in 15 years:)
I saw a significant decrease in discomfort and increased energy levels between weeks 2 and 3. I encourage you to rest; continue the breathing exercises; listen to your body; take medication for pain especially to get a good nights sleep (you will know when to taper off the pain meds); enjoy a good book, movies and quiet activities with your children;
wouldn't be without a zipfront sports bra 24/7- support reduced pulling at the incision; move- continue walking daily; accept the help of others; participate in a cardiac rehab program; be positive - you will be fine. My husband says he doesn't know how he is going to keep up with me now that all my cylinders are working properly! At week 6, I was walking 2 miles. 6 weeks post surgery I returned to work part-time for 2 weeks and then at week 8 went full-time while attending cardiac rehab 3 mornings per week. Seven months following my surgery my husband and I backpacked in Yellowstone National Park. The technology today is truly amazing. My mother at age 73 just underwent a triple bypass in November and is doing remarkably well.
I am sending positive thoughts and prayers your way.
From another Pennsylvanian and Heart Valve Recipient,
Cedar Run, PA in the beautiful Pine Creek Valley
My surgery is scheduled for April. I am hoping for a repair, but we're not 100% sure because it is anterior leaflet and badly damanged. Soooooo...... If my valve has to be replaced I will opt for a tissue (animal) valve even though I realize I would probably require another surgery in the future if/when that one wears out. Who knows? Maybe it won't. My reasoning is that I may develop a problem in the future an need some kind of surgery and I wouldn't want to be on blood thinners and risk excessive bleeding during a surgery or an injury. That's MY rationale, for what it's worth. I would suggest that you go on some big hospital websites and research mechanical valves vs animal valves before you make a decision. Best wishes to you.
You didn't sign the guestbook, but I'm assuming the note was from you. Yes, the feelings do lessen. I can tell you this: 29 years ago I almost died from a gigantic tumor on my kidney. The surgery done at that time was unheard of and to make matters worse, was done as an emergency at a hospital with a terrible reputation. Yet not only did I survive, but doctors now tell me that what was done that day was truly revolutionary. I've been through both kidney surgery and heart surgery. I realize procedures have gotten better, but from my point of view, the kidney surgery was much worse.
Ruth Howell's journal today tells of a man my age who thought of the heart surgery as a trip to the spa. I wouldn't go that far, but certainly it's not hardly as bad an experience as some would have you believe. Sure there will be days when you just put one foot in front of another and just go on. Sure there will be days when you take painkillers and wonder when you'll be able to stop them. Sure there will be ups and downs, but overall, looking back you'll hardly remember any of it. It's only 4 months for me, but I can hardly bring back an image of the first few days after the surgery in the hospital. Once I used to look at my kidney scar which goes halfway around my body--from naval to spine--and wonder how I could have lived through it. But within a short time it became a non-issue. Now I don't even think about it.
In my opinion you're making the correct decision about going with a tissue valve. I don't have the right to advise you, but I can be quite optimistic about the technology improving so much that if you ever do need to have it replaced, it won't be such a big deal then.
Best of luck, and keep posting. This web site is very helpful.
Welcome to HVJ. You will be able to find a lot of info here on our experiences, but it will not always make your decsion easier. Choosing the valve is one of the most difficult things you will face. You just need to make a list of pros and cons and what you are willing to deall with for the future.
I had Aortic valve replacement in May 2010 at the Cleveland Clinic at 49 years old. I had years to prepare for my surgery and decided long ago to go with a tissue(bovine) valve. My cardiologist was very pro Mechanical, my surgeon was very pro tissue; but that was one of the reasons I had picked Cleveland Clinic, along with their reputation.
I know I will have to face this surgery, (or likley a less invasive replacement) at least once and maybe two times in my life; but for me the advantages of tissue with my lifestyle made the choice easy. I have no desire to deal with Coumadin and having been through the surgery I know I can get through that again in the future. Weighing all the risks it was the right choice for me.
I also had an aortic anuerysm, so a minimally invasive approacjh was not an options so i ended up with a median sternotomy. As bad as you can imagine the surgery will be to deal with; it will not live up to your imagination. This was my first ever major surgery, so I was biting a big bullet knowing I might possibly deal with it multiple times; but in my case I had a great recovery and have no regrets with my choice.
Physically I had no real contributory problems for coumadin therapy, I just did not want to deal with the downside risks and restrictions it held for a lifetime.
The reality is it is very likely my next valve replacement will be through a catherter in the femoral artery, and not the median sternotomy I faced in May, which will be great.
I wish you the best in making your choice, but do what is best for you and ultimately what you are comfortable with for your life style.
Bovine Valve vs. Mechanical(Pros and Cons):
• Give up Physical Job or Activity:
• I want to be able to work on Tree Farm, yard, etc.
• Go Deer Hunting/perhaps fishing one day
• Football officiating maybe?
• Do all this without my wife worrying about me bleeding to death.
• I can hurt myself somewhat quite often…….
• 1 of 100 on cumiden can have stroke/bleeding
• Chance of stroke less with tissue vs. mechanical
• Monthly blood test
• Cost of medicine/forget to take medicine
• Bleeding while shaving, etc
• Major accident: friend's mother on cumiden that bleed to death.
• Future Elective Surgeries/Dental work
• Past History of Ulcer
-Fellow worker had mechanical valve (16years) still had replacement done.
• Probably gets a trip to Vegas is he “sells” 5 mechanical valves:
• I really think the cardiologist is ok with any decision I make (I was unsure before Secretary call today).
• He was “stand backish” during Surgeons visit, but walked in on the conversation.
• Did not communicate strong opinion back to me via secretary. She stated it was up to the surgeon to discuss questions, etc.
• Stating in initial visit that the “Surgery was not a big deal”…( so therefore I can do it twice)
• Gave me choice
• If it happened to him……. His choice is bovine. He would go through the Surgery twice, no question.
• His face, when discussing that the cardiologist had talked about Mechanical exclusively.
• Video from Hospital, about his parents.
• Cleveland Clinic, in 2009 performed 1,613 aortic replacement procedures, 85% were biological
• Study on biologic valves show, in 40 year old, these valves have a 50% chance of lasting 15 years or longer without decline in function. (I am a little older so that might be a small plus?)
• In discussion on internet, Dr. Gillivov, Cleveland clinic, states that “advances in preservation of tissue valves where they could last 20 years, some do, but count of 10-15 years”; in conversation with 65 year old man, that is replacing valve after 10 years: leaves the option open for Mechanical valve at that age of 65.
-My overall health forward (quit my vices):
-Future surgical procedures for an easy fix, or future of biologic valves longevity.
- Fellow Worker stated “Put a God made valve in”
• Does not have to be replaced: Maybe…………..
• Get Mechanical the 2nd time, if advancements are made in blood thinner/valve
• Some clicking sound
The technology for heart valve replacement is advancing very rapidly. My guess is that in the next 10 years most of the valves will be replaced without cracking open the chest. If you go to this web site, you'll see some of the remarkable procedures they're experimenting with. Here's the website: http://www.edwards.com/default.htm. You can also read in my journal about my friend's 92 year old father who is part of this study. They're not doing this on young people YET! They are perfecting the technique on very old people who are near death while they perfect the procedure, and when they all survive the process, they'll move on to younger people.
Nobody can make the decision about what kind of valve you need except you, but the new tissue valves are expected to last 20 years or so, and in that time maybe the science of heart valve surgery will be so improved it won't matter if you need to have it redone.
Is your cardiologist the type of person you can talk to about this? Did the surgeon say that a tissue valve is an option for you?
I can well understand your fear about the anemia. You will have to go on some sort of blood thinner-- temporarily-- for a few weeks no matter which procedure, but I have a bovine valve, and when I got anemic in 3 weeks, they switched me to aspirin.
Whatever you decide, do it from the "heart" that is your personal belief in what's best for you. No matter what you decide, you'll be giving your children many years for you to nurture them and have them grow up.
My warmest sympathies and prayers to you. My own heart goes out to you--the repaired one and the psychological one.
My personal belief is that