I think the amount of fluid you gain depends on your body size. I am about 6'-3" and weighed around 195 when I had the surgery. The other person I mentioned is about 6'-2" and weighed around 210 pounds. I doubt that you are that size and would not expect you to gain as much as we did; so you can probably wear regular clothes when you leave the hospital. Considering your location and the time of year, that is a good thing.
Relax as best as you can, and get as much rest as you can, I know that is difficult with the impending surgery. Just remember that it is for your good and that you will be better off afterwards.
I also gained about 15 pounds as a result of my mitral valve surgery, which involved an open chest procedure. I was back to my pre-surgery weight in 12 days. The fluid was distributed throughout my body. I was on lasix most of that time.
I know another mitral valve surgery patient who also gained about 15 pounds. He had an open chest procedure as well.
The weight gain is totally normal and NOT permanent. Like Chris mentioned, it is due to the blood being diluted by the bypass machine. I gained ten pounds during surgery, but it was gone by day 5. They give lasix every day and you just pee it out.
Go to the top of the Heart Valve Journal page and click on ADAM'S BLOG. Then click on "Previous Entries" at the bottom of the page until you get to an entry dated October 14, 2011. It answers your question about fluid weight gain. When I had my mitral valve repaired robotically, I gained 8-10 lbs from the saline fluid used in the heart lung machine. It was spread out over my body (face, legs and arms looked a little puffy). They gave me meds to eliminate the excess fluid and it was gone in about 4 days.
The breathing exercises I mentioned earlier are done with a spirometer. You'll receive one after surgery. It's used to get your lungs active again post surgery and to keep them clear of fluids. Not the most comfortable thing to do right after surgery but the more you do it the better you'll feel.
Everyone will recover differently and a lot depends upon the skill of the surgeon and what he/she finds once they get in to do the repair. In my case though, the surgery itself and the recovery went much better than I could have imagined. Certainly less pain and discomfort than I imagined, especially after I came home from the hospital. I got home on a Wednesday I think and by the next Monday my wife was back to work and I was on my own at home. It was fine, but remember, I didn't have A-fib or flutter or any other issues after surgery. I'm sure that helped a lot.
Of course every situation is different, but I would think that if all goes as planned with the surgery, you should be fine for some family time at Xmas dinner. For the most part, I felt good during the first couple of weeks after surgery. I didn't have any pain, just some soreness. Mornings were toughest as sleeping was not going well. But once I was showered and dressed I felt better. I would take the kids to school in the morning and then do some walking or run errands with my wife. By the afternoon though I would be tired. That didn't get better until about week 4 for me.
I don't think you're being too optimistic. I would suggest 2 things to help you feel better more quickly after the surgery. First, get up and start walking in the hospital as soon as possible. Second, make sure you're doing the breathing exercises. These 2 things will go a long way in helping you feel better faster.
No, I didn't develop A-Fib after my surgery but I do know a couple of people who did. It seems to be a hit or miss thing, no real rhyme or reason as to who gets it.
The most noticeable change that I've experienced is in my resting heart rate. Prior to surgery my resting rate was around 78 beats per minute. Now my resting rate is around 100. I've read that an increase in heart rate after surgery is fairly common and will most times return to "normal" on it's own. I hope so. (I think exercise at rehab will help this as well).
For a few months before surgery I was taking 2.5 mg of Lisinopril each day. This just helped my heart to not work so hard because it was compensating for the leak and working harder to pump blood to my body. After surgery, I took a protonix tablet each day for a week or so and a low dose (81mg) aspirin. I think most everyone gets the protonix as it prevents stomach ulcers after surgery. Today, all I take is the low dose aspirin.
Hope that answers your questions. Let me know if you have more.
Ivana, I really hope you get the robotic procedure but please be prepared for a sternotomy just in case. I REALLY didn't want a sternotomy and pursued the robotic approach avidly. It was one of the reasons I went to Cleveland. They did 2 days of pre-op testing and I qualified- I was sooo happy and not nervous about the surgery at all. I went into the OR with a 95% chance of completing the surgery robotically, but I woke up with a sternotomy because I have a previously unknown connective tissue disorder (Barlow's disease) that made my femoral arteries weak and unsuitable for the heart/lung bypass tubing. I had been so intent on the robotic approach that I failed to ask questions about the sternotomy and wasn't prepared for the bad news. All my confidence and cheer vanished when I heard the words "you had a sternotomy." I guess I sort of gave up, and got very depressed. It made my recovery harder than it needed to be. So my advice is learn all you can about the sternal approach, have a plan for both, so you won't be left high and dry if things don't work out. On the bright side, the surgeon was able to repair my valve, but he told me that if I had gone anywhere else, I would have a replacement (my valve was more damaged than we thought), so my choice of going to Cleveland paid off in that way after all.
Hi Ivana, Your situation sounds very similar to mine. My surgeon recommended a biological valve if necessary (it wasn't, for me) because of my age (59) and lifetime coumadin with the mechanical valve. This surprised me since another surgeon I initially talked to recommended the mechanical valve, so I asked my surgeon about the discrepancy. He told me that although the Academy of Cardiac Surgeons still officially recommends mechanical valves for patients under 65, data at Cleveland Clinic indicate that biological valves are lasting longer as techniques improve- perhaps 20 years, not that different from mechanical valves. If reoperation is at some point necessary, he was pretty confident that a catheter approach will be available by that time. I think the catheter route would aply whether it's a replacement valve or native valve that needs repair. Hopefully neither of us will ever need that, but it's comforting to know.
I was thinking of you last night when I could not fall asleep. I too keep feeling my pounding heart. I am trying not to let awful thoughts take over. I seem to be better during the day. I have my angio tomorrow and my surgery on Monday Dec. 5. I hope we both reach a level of comfort before the surgery. Looking forward to looking back on this. Grateful we live in a time when surgery is an option.
You asked about rehab. Even though I was in pretty good shape and the surgery was minimally invasive, my surgeon, cardiologist and wife (who is a cardiac nurse) all recommended rehab. I think there are many benefits to it, not all of them physical. I've read about cardiac depression and think it is a fairly common problem for people like us going through life saving surgery, especially for those patients that experience post-operative complications. Just like reading these journals, I enjoy talking to the heart patients and nurses at rehab, sharing stories and learning from their experiences. I realize how lucky I am to have had a successful surgery and complication free recovery. Of course the physical benefits are great too. I'm sure I'll end rehab in better shape than I was in before the surgery.
As for my condition before surgery, I had severe regurgitation from a prolapsing leaflet. My left ventricle and atrium were starting to enlarge. It was funny because I felt fine, but like you had a whopper of a murmur. During the surgery they also found that I had ruptured chords on my valve so they constructed a couple of new chords, reshaped the valve and added an annuloplasty ring for added support. Before surgery the surgeon said there was a better than 95% chance he could repair the valve, but we had to discuss what kind of of valve to go with in case they had to replace it. His recommendation (and I agreed) was a tissue valve. Being as active as I am and given my age, I didn't want to go with a mechanical valve and be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. The drawback to the tissue valve of course is that it may need to be replaced again in 12 - 15 years. I really believe that within that time frame they will be inserting those through a catheter process and no "surgery" will be required. I believe some countries are doing this right now and it is being tested in the US. It's amazing the things they can do.
Keep thinking positive thoughts and try not to worry ( I know, easier said than done). A day will come when you suddenly feel ready and at peace with what's going on. You'll do great.
I actually live in Tennessee now, but the winters here are mild compared to those in Canada. I have relatives in Ontario who send me pictures and tell me about the winters there. I might enjoy a visit in the winter but I don't think I would not want to stay there very long.
I had mitral valve prolapse which was repaired. The surgeon said that he had to use every trick in his arsenal to do the repair. He put in a ring to reduce the size of the opening, and trimmed one of the leaflets if I remember correctly.
He recommended a biological valve as a replacement valve rather than a mechanical valve, since a mechanical valve would require high doses of coumadin due to its small size and I was not on coumadin prior to the surgery. I was concerned about taking anti-rejection medication and he said that would not be necessary due to the current treatments used used to prepare biological replacement valves.
In my case, the breathing tube was removed before I regained consciousness. The day after surgery was a bit uncomfortable until they got the pain medications worked out. After that, I just had to take it slowly.
Back to bed now to try and get some more sleep before I go to rehab.
Again, best wishes for your surgery and recovery!!
I had my aorta vavlve replaced five months ago. The first few days of recovery were a bit tough, but it was totally manageable. I was very worried about the breathing tube issue, but I was so drugged up I didn't remember any of it very much.
You've probably heard this a million times, but it is so true: the waiting is the worst part. There is a lot of stress before the surgery, but once it's over, the recovery takes its own path. Just take it slowly and it will all turn out great.
This is one time you really have to trust in the expertise of some very well trained surgeons. They are so good at there job. I pretended that it really wasn't happening to me and tried to tell as few people as possible. The night before the operation was definitely the most fearful. They will give you sleeping pills if you need them. The two days in ICU are something you will manage as everyone is managing you and you will be in the best of care. After that I was amazed at how quickly things progressed. I can't wait to get my full strength to put my new working valve through its paces.
I had my mitral valve repaired robotically 9 weeks ago by Dr. Marc Gillinov at the Cleveland Clinic. I'm 42 years old and like you, really had no symptoms. The whole thing went much better than I could have imagined. I too was concerned about pain, the ICU etc. The surgery was performed on a Thursday morning. When I woke up in the ICU later that day I had some pain/discomfort but once we found the right meds (some made me nauseous) it was managed very well by the nurses. My breathing tube was already out. I didn't really have any pain from the incision, it was mostly from the single chest tube. The chest tube was removed on Friday before I left the ICU. It stung a bit when they took it out, but felt so much better afterwards. After that I didn't have much pain, just some soreness from how they position your body on the table for the surgery. I took a couple of percocet tabs for the first week or so to help sleep at night. Sleeping was definitely the biggest challenge the first week or two after surgery. I'm a stomach sleeper so sleeping on my back was rough.
I was discharged after 4 days and flew back to our home in Wisconsin. I didn't have any restrictions as I was told there was nothing structural to aggravate (like a cut sternum). I was driving right away (as long as I didn't take pain meds) and really felt pretty good. I tried to walk as much as I could and kept up with the breathing exercises. My only complaint would be that my energy level took some time to return but that is to be expected I think. During the first few weeks post-op I would be quite tired by the afternoon. By the fourth week or so that got better, especially after I started cardiac rehab classes.
The best advice I can give is to be informed. Do the research (condition, doctors, procedures), read Adam's book, and utilize the knowledge and experience of others on this site. The Cleveland Clinic website has a ton of info as well as videos on minimally invasive techniques. I found it very comforting to read stories and talk to those who had already experienced what I was preparing for. After I did this I was much more at ease with the whole thing.
Fear not, our minds make things out to be much worse than they actually are. You will do great I'm sure. Don't hesitate to ask any specific questions if you have them.
Ivana...I was where you are just a couple months ago. The waiting is the worst part. My experience...my first memory after the surgery was in ICU, around midnight and my breathing tube was already out. I recall being so, so happy the surgery was over and I was fine. My sternum hurt but it was very manageable. I was in a great mood and was talking to my nurses all night, munching on ice. My chest tubes were removed while in ICU and really did not hurt, just felt a little weird.
So my ICU experience was one of feeling such joy and happiness, not much pain. You will do just fine.