Hi everyone! Doing well at 10 weeks post-op after replacing my bicuspid aortic valve with the Trifecta tissue valve--but wanted to see if anyone had issues with occasional irregular heartbeat. At 5 1/2 weeks post-op, I had issues with my hemoglobin and hematocrit being too low and had some early beats and a little atrial fib, but once I started taking my iron supplement, everything was great. At 10-weeks, I began getting a few early beats when I am resting. Rhythm is perfect while I am exercising (at cardiac rehab.) I am not taking any medications except for baby aspirin (81 mg), iron glycinate and my K2 supplement (as well as my probiotic supplements)--and was told that it takes time for the heart rate to even out after having open heart surgery. They said that the younger you are, the longer this can take. I am not on a beta blocker, so that may be part of it, too. I see my cardiologist in a couple of weeks--and her office didn't seem to be concerned about the irregular heart beats. Anyone else dealt with this? My sternum seems to be healing well--but definitely get sore muscles across my chest when I do too much. They say you can water ski at 3 months post-op, but I think it would take longer than that! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Hope everyone who reads this is doing well! I am now 7-weeks post op today after having my bicuspid aortic valve replaced with a prosthetic (bovine) valve. I feel like I have come a long way--and wanted to give an update! Per my 6-week follow up with my surgeon, I have been cleared to lift up to 20 lbs.--and allowed to drive with caution. The surgeon said that there is more risk for the first 3 months following a full sternotomy, so I am still limiting my driving. I am also attending cardiac rehab, which from what I can tell is monitored exercise. I am looking forward to getting back to kick boxing--and of course, hiking outside as it gets warmer. I already try to adhere to a no wheat, dairy, egg, corn or soy dietary regime due to food allergies/sensitivities--and honestly, some of the recommendations at rehab seem to be a bit outdated. I am a huge fan of coconut and its health properties--it is a good fat, so I encourage everyone to research this on their own. There are also plenty of studies on Vitamin K2 (not K1)--that are very encouraging for heart patients. Of course, i am still sore, but getting better everyday. Had a some issues with anemia following my surgery, but my iron glycinate supplement is working like a charm--and my heartrate has consistently been regular now. Just taking a baby aspirin--and hope to avoid a beta blocker as long as my heartrate continues to regulate (to a slower pace). Because I am 46--I do worry about the valve wearing out sooner, but am still thankful that something could be done--and that I went with a prosthetic valve. I am also thankful for my wonderful family and friends who have supported me throughout this journey--and of course, the expertise of my surgeon, Dr. Petracek at Vanderbilt. I pray for those of you in this patient community who are recovering, as well as those who are in the process of making decisions. Just know that you are not alone!!!
Well, it's Friday, December 13--and I'm still happy to be home despite a few ups and downs following my BAV replacement. I think I am doing really well, however, and just have to remember to take it one day at at time. I am scheduled for cardiac rehab next week, so am excited to get out of the house--and be able to exercise under controlled conditions. It's been so cold outside, that I've been walking circles on the first floor of our house--which our dog isn't quite sure about--I've asked her to "walk" with me--but she keeps going to the front door, LOL, and only did one or two laps with me! My sternum seems to get quite sore when I wake up in the morning--and then in the afternoon when my pain medication has worn off. Just trying to take Tylenol during the day--and one painkiller at bedtime. I guess it's all part of the healing process--and my incision seems to be healing fine, just a little bumpy and bruised at the top where it is still swollen. It's great not to feel "symptomatic"--the surgeon didn't take a picture of my valve, but said it definitely needed to be replaced. Thankfully, I didn't have symptoms until right before surgery. Can't wait to feel 100% and looking forward to having a valve that works right! I told my husband, I got a "Mercedes" valve just in time for Christmas! Good luck to those awaiting surgery--and my prayers go out to you and those recovering!
Good afternoon! Finally updating my blog, and I am pleased to announce that I am now home from Vanderbilt University Hospital following a bicuspid aortic valve replacement! I had surgery on Wednesday morning (the 27th)and was able to come home Sunday afternoon. They would have let me go home earlier, but my surgeon requires at least 4 days post-op. We had a few bumps in the road, of course, and the biggest scare was me having such low blood pressure while I was in ICU which would cause me to be sick (enough said there...) Thankfully, we had an amazing nurse (Jeremy) on the night shift, who was able to help us out and got my blood pressure up enough to send me to CICU on Thanksgiving! I wouldn't choose to be in the hospital on Thanksgiving if I didn't have to, but we were so relieved and thankful beyond belief. The prayers and support of friends, family--and this heart community--were overwhelming. Again, there is no place like home--and was so happy to take a shower, drink a cup of herbal tea--AND feel like eating when I arrived home! I didn't do so well with hospital food--and am able to eat organic and healthy food, now which tastes amazing. Additionally, I am very thankful to only be on a baby aspirin for life and didn't even have to do short-term coumadin! I have a other meds to take over the next month, but nothing major!!! My husband and boys were troopers through all of this--and for that I am eternally grateful!!!!! Prayers to those beginning the journey--and continued prayers for those now recovering like myself!
As I'm preparing for my surgery tomorrow, I just want to thank the Heart Community for all your comments and support. Will try to update everyone when I can. The day went by so quickly--and I still feel like I have more to do,but realize it's time to focus and get packed. Thanksgiving Blessings to all!
This is a question that I keep asking myself--"Do I really need to do this now?" Of course, one opinion from the Cleveland Clinic--and my now surgeon at Vanderbilt--both confirmed "yes"--it's time to move forward. Was relieved to make it through the cardiac cath this week which I was very apprehensive about--but they were able to go in through my wrist--and other than some swelling, bruising and minor discomfort, I am healing up from that. My stenosis of the aortic valve area was .80 cm according to the cath, but still close to the .67 cm recorded on the echo several months back. My arteries look great, so should just be a valve replacement when they go in there. Part of me can't believe that I will be having surgery next week, but when I wake up on Thanksgiving, I hope to have a new valve that is working properly and celebrate my extended life with my wonderful family. I have been truly blessed and know the support and prayers of friends and family will see me through. Even though I am getting "cold feet", it's time to buckle up and get ready for the ride...
Well, my upcoming surgery is finally at hand--preoperative tests next week--and then surgery to replace my bicuspid aortic valve the day before Thanksgiving! I'm still a little worried about having a cardiac catheterization, especially since I haven't had any other heart issues (thankfully)--but I do understand why they want to do this before performing open heart surgery. After much deliberation and research, we have chosen Dr. Michael Petracek at Vanderbilt to perform the surgery. He is one of the top surgeons in his field and chief of surgery at Vanderbilt, so the decision to stay close to home and family made sense. However, we are still thankful that we also got a second opinion from the Cleveland Clinic. (Both doctors were on the same page.) Still in the process of trying to get everything in order, but taking one step at a time as this journey continues. Very thankful for a supportive husband, sons, family and friends! Opted for a tissue valve even though I know I'll need a re-op at some point, but feel like this is the better choice for me. More updates to come...