I have a question for the runners out there, how long did it take for your post surgery exercising heart rate to drop back to your pre-surgery level?
My heart rate is running high. I am running 9.5 min/mile pace at heart rate of 175 to 180 bpm. Before surgery I was running 8 minute miles and my heart rate was 165 bpm. My doctor said do not worry it will drop.
It has been three months since my open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. I have been doing well and things are on there way back to normal. I am only 39 years old, so that makes me one of the young ones in the community of open heart surgery. I am back to running I am going about 3 to 4 miles at a 9.5 min/mile pace and a heart rate of 175 to 180 bpm, three times a week. Two days a week I am doing body weight exercise, push-ups, pull-up, sit-ups dips etc. I am also back to mountain biking.
I did do cardiac therapy for about a month after surgery. They started me exercising with a max hart rate of 140. By the time of my last therapy session I was running on the treadmill and my max heart rate was raised to 180 bpm.
One thing I still notice is my heart rate is still running high. Before surgery I was running 8 minute miles and my heart rate was 165 bpm. My doctor said a 180+ heart rate is OK.
Sorry of not posting earlier but every time I got on the iPad I just fell asleep.
I am doing well. I almost got to go home yesterday, but a slight fever Saturday night meant I had to stay one more night. I was sent home with only pain killers. My issue is that I am competitive and everyone tells me is not to push too hard because you do not want to set yourself back.
At home today for my walks. I have been walking around the house. It was 111 today in Phoenix. I still need to find a good way to take naps and find a routine.
Hi, this is Lisa, Dave's wife. He asked that I provide updates in his journal until he is able to do them himself. Knowing Dave, that will be either today or tomorrow. :)
Surgery went GREAT! He was nervous, but in good spirits even before the drugs kicked in. They took him back into the OR around 9:00. At 10:00, the nurse came out to tell us that they were getting ready to start the incision. At 1:00 the nurse returned to let us know that Dave was doing great,the valve had been replaced and they were just finishing up the aortic graft. Next they would begin the process to warm his body back up, check for any leakage and close him back up. The nurse let us know that Dave got what he wanted...a biological valve.
The doctor came out to talk to us around 2:30 to let us know that it was a picture perfect surgery, not a single complication, not even any bleeding from the sutures. During the esophogial echo, they found that his valve was not as narrowed as originally thought, but was leaking more than they know...either way, it still needed to be replaced. They used a Medtronic Freestyle valve and they doctor implied that the aortic graft was small. No transfusions were needed and no meds were needed to get his heart going...just like we all wanted.
We were allowed back to see him around 4:00. The nurse said that he had opened his eyes and was aware of the breathing tube, but did not seem alarmed or bother by it, which was a concern of Dave's before hand. He opened his eyes slightly a few times and was aware that I was there. His oxygen was down to 70, from where he started at 100. The nurse let us know they would start weening him from sedation at 40 and then could test to see if the tube could be removed. He was able to communicate that he was not in too much pain. Since they have a time limit on visits for everyone, including spouses, I went home to see the girls for a little bit.
When I returned at 6:30, Dave looked even better than when I left. His eyes were a litlle more open and he kept them open longer. His oxygen was down to 40 and the nurse had received permission from the doctor to begin taking him off sedation. Since shift change was about to happen, she said she would update his night nurse and that she would be the one to decide when to start the process.
When I returned at 8:30, after shift change, Dave was no longer under sedation. He was wide awake. I was able to let him know how everything went. He was full of questions, tried air writing and hand signaling them to me. It was like a frustrating game of charades. :) The most repeated question was how long until the tube could come out. Everytime I asked if he was in pain, he shook his head no.
Around 9:30, the respiratory tech came in to see if he could breath on his own. He aced the tests and we were told if his blood work looked good in 30 minutes, the tube would come out. Sure enough, 30 minutes later, his bloodwork came back perfect and much to Dave's delight the tube was removed. I was able to stay with him a little while longer and answer as all of his questions and let hime know how great he did. When I left, he was in a little pain, mostly related to breathing on his own again.
When I called this morning to check on him, the nurse said that he wanted to talk to me. He sounded GREAT!
I had my chest and legs shaved and taken two shower since last night. My wife stayed with in the hospital we did not get much sleep. They should be coming to get me in about 20 min to move me to pre-op.
I'll be seeing my surgeon around 8:15am to go over my final decision for the valve. We have decide to replace it all (valve, root, and aorta) with a tissue valve. Given that I am only 38 this give me the best chance for not needing to do surgery in the next 15 plus year hopefully. There is more risk than just doing the aortic valve but less than a second surgery in 5 to 10 years.
Thank you everyone for the well wishes and prayers.
I'm just laying on my back waiting for the 4 hours to pass so I can get up. The surgeon said that my aorta is 4.2 and at 38 year old I should think about replacing it. He said there is a study that recomenend replacment for over 4 with bicopicid valve. I see the surgeon tomorrow morning before surgery.
It is going to be a sleepless night. Nurse came by with a list if thing that need to be done.
Three days until surgery. Heart catheterization on Tuesday and surgery Wednesday morning. I took Friday off work and I am also taking Monday off. The cardiologist office called last week to go over things before the heart cath. The PA ask if I was getting excited. I reply that excited is what happens before going to Disneyland panicked and terrified is what happens before open heart surgery.She laughed and said it will all be OK. Also got a call from the Hospital on Friday they want me to pre-pay for the heart cath and someone will call me on Monday to pre-pay for my surgery. My wife commented what are they thinking it is not like you are going to run out of the hospital after surgery and stiff them. It is good that we can laugh at things.
Two weeks from today on Auguest 7th I will be checking in to the hospital for heart catheterization and my surgery will follow the next day. There is not much left for us to do just a few little things. I am trying to make sure everything is done around the house so that it will not have to be done when I am down. I have also stop drinking caffeine and alcohol. I am still working out running about 2 miles a day on the treadmill at a 10 minute mile pace with a heart rate of 145 bpm. I feel good and everyone I talk to cannot believe that I am going to have open heart surgery but I am ready.
My oldest daughter, who will be 6 at the end of October, says she does not want to see me in the hospital because she is scared. We are planning on taking her to the hospital before my surgery, there is a big kids play area at the hospital. We hope this might help. Has anyone had a similar issue or have any suggestions?
I got a call back from my surgeon on my CT results. I had an option to meet with him in his office to discuss the results or I could discuss it with him in the hospital before my surgery. I opted for the discussion at the hospital. All I know is there is some enlargement of my aorta. We already discuss the what ifs before I had my CT so I did not see much to gain by an office visit.
My wife and I picked up the recliner last week. I have not used it much. My wife has been using it most of the time she said it is great for feeding the bady and we should have gotten one before Katie was born back in June.
My parents and brother have made their plans to come out for my surgery.
I am now less than one month out from surgery. My wife and I went to look at recliners this weekend and I am going to pick up a La-Z-Boy this week. Also I am waiting on a call on my CT results to find out the size of my aorta and if it will need to be replaced.
Spent some time reading about the Medtronic Freestyle Heart Valve on there web site. I guess that I am trying to relieve any concern that I am making the right valve decision. This valve can be installed in parts or complete depending on the patients needs root, aorta, and/or valve. Any one know what the difference between subcoronary, total root, and root inclusion is?
I mentioned earlier that I use to be big in to Crossfit. I love the high intensity workouts for time, I am a competitive person. I have not been able to do this type of workout since being put on heart rate restrictions back in October. I am hoping that I get back to this after my valve replacement.
Lots of waiting. The hardest time is when I am alone with time the think about kids, family, and life.
I am going in for my CT tomorrow. Then I find out for sure if I need my ascending aorta and root replaced in addition to my aortic valve. I already expect that I will need the aorta replaced because my last ECO shows it is 4.6cm, but my last ECO report said the root was normal.
If my aorta needs replacement then my surgeon is recommending the Medtronic Freestyle Heart Valve which is a pig valve with the aorta attached. With this valve I could still have another valve replacement by a minimally invasive surgery in the future because it will not have the fabric ring around the valve. If the aorta does not need replacing then there is one bovine heart valve that does not have the fabric ring around the valve.
I met my surgeon on Monday. If everything works with his schedule I will have surgery the week of August 6th. I need to get a cat scan of my heart before surgery. They need to look at my aorta and root. From my last full ECO my root is normal but my aorta is enlarged which according to my surgeon is normal for a bicuspid aortic valve. Back in October my aorta was almost at a level that would need replacement. If my aorta needs replacement then a pig valve with the aorta is what my surgeon is recommending. With this valve I could still have another valve replacement by a minimally invasive surgery in the future because it will not have the fabric ring around the valve.
Well it has been a little over a month. Things have been busy. My wife's due date is less than three weeks away. However, my second daughter will probably come early. Our first daughter Alexis came 4 days early.
My surgery is tentatively scheduled for the week of August 6th at Banner Desert in Mesa, AZ. I am scheduled to meet with the surgeon on June 11. Base on that appointment we will firm up the date.
I am still exercising, lifting weights, running, and biking on a trainer that a friend loaned me. Keeping my heart rate low around 145 bpm. It has been hard to keep up my motivation. For a time I was big in to CrossFit workouts and before when I was not motivated I would go back to CrossFit but I cannot do that now.
I will update again next week after my appointment with the surgeon.
I had an appointment with my Cardiologist on Monday for a stress test with echo and to measure gradient before (at rest) and after the stress test. Based on the test results I was told thatI have two choices stop being so active, no running, no biking or have my aortic valve replaced. I have decided to have my valve replaced with a tissue valve. I have gotten a 2nd opinion from another doctor and friend of the family and he agreed that the valve needs to be replaced.
I have a wonderful wife that has been very supporting. We have a daughter who is 5 and our second daughter is due in June. We have chosen to wait until after our daughter has been born to do the surgery. I have an appointment in July with my Cardiologist to schedule the surgery. My cardiologist gave me the name of two surgeons.
My wife bought the book The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and is currently reading it.