I have recently had AVR replacement surgery with Dr. Conte at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I spent a total of 5 days in the hospital recovering and was released to go home on Labor Day. I think I went through all of the apprehension and trepidation regarding the surgical procedure but I can now say that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. I originaly started out with a planned minimally invasive approach but Dr. Conte told me that he need to convert to a full sternotomy due to my anatomy and other factors discovered during surgery.
The day after surgery I was up and walking a bit and I had a fair amount of discommfort in my right leg due to the cannula placement. My chest incision was sore but honestly my leg botherme more than my chest did! I continued to push though it in the hospital and walked as much as I could for the next few days until I was able to do 5 laps around the ward. This helped both my spirits and my leg.
I am now 2 weeks plus past surgery and I am feeling great the incisons are healing well and I am elated at how godd I actually feel I have been walking around the neigborhood and I will be returning to work and normal life activities soon. I am currently working with my PCP to get the Warfarin dosing right and after a month or so I will be eligible for home monitoring. Honestly, it's not that big of a deal and with the advent of the home testing and monitoring it is way more manageable than it used to be. After the procedure, I am glad that I chose the mechanical valve because of my age (45 years old) I would definately be looking at another procedure in 6-12 years. No thanks! One of these is enogh for me!
If you are facing this surgery please feel fre to reach out to me and I would be happy to share with you any of my expieriences. It is not easy but it is manageable. I think the most important thing is to choose you surgical team and facility very wisely and get to a place that performs a lot of these procedures on a regular basis.