It has been a while since I wrote an update on my husband's aortic valve surgery on September 25th. We were discharged from the hospital on October 1 and the few days we were home did not go well at all. We ended up back at the hospital 2 days later for chest pains in which it was discovered that he strained to much and caused pain in the chest area. We came back home with little strength and no appetite whatsoever. On October 6 he was flown to a hospital 5 hours from home with a blood clot to the right leg that was found to be from his ankle to his abdomen. That night he went through a 4 hour procedure to have the clots removed and a filter placed to keep the pieces from going to major organs.. His platelets were extremely low at this point so he was given transfusions. In the early morning hours after this procedure the doctor noted that he was more sleepy than normal and performed a CT scan. This revealed a cerebellum brain bleed and he was transferred to the ICU to be monitored and tested for the next week. It was discovered that during his heart valve replacement Heparin that is routinely given to patients was not his friend. He developed a rare allergy to the Heparin. His platelets were being destroyed by antibodies that were produced to fight the heparin. This is called ( HIT )Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia. He has also developed more clots in the leg that cannot be treated with blood thinners because his brain will bleed more. It takes about 3 weeks for the Heparin to clear the body in order for this thing to begin to turn around. In the meantime he is on tube feedings due to nausea and vomiting from the brain bleed which has now stopped and is healing but that takes months for the brain to reabsorb the blood, and fluid. Because of where the bleed is located, (in the back of the head down near the neck area, there is very little room for anything to expand. We were told yesterday that he has a bleeding problem and a clotting problem both at the same time and it would be dangerous to treat either one at this time. So it is a waiting game for the platelets to reach some kind of normal so he can be started on blood thinners to dissolve the clots in his leg. Everyone wants to find someone to blame for this horrific nightmare but it all boils down to this. Very few people will ever develop this "allergy" to Heparin so it is not something that they test for. It did not happen because surgeons "messed up". This was a reaction in his body to Heparin. The good news is that he has not had any deficits from the brain bleed except he feels "seasick" a lot but they started him on a medication yesterday that has helped tremendously. Today we are waiting on the platelet count and like yesterday hope that it is going upward. He will attempt some food today so they can stop the tube feedings and he walked yesterday without nausea or vomiting. Oh and as for the aortic valve replacement..it was a success. Now we have to get through this in order to use it for the next 5 or 10 or however many years he is meant to live. I can tell you this. my husband is 79 years old and even though this thing has kicked his butt he is one tough man. He wanted to give up so many times but we've gotten this far and things are starting to turn around. Hope everyone is well. Tammy
We have been home for 2 days and this is harder than anticipated. We've had to deal with multiple setbacks and I know it takes time but my husband is getting very discouraged. He is very weak and tells me he is so tired. Is this normal for 8 days out of surgery. When does it start getting better?? We have been back to his PCP and have talked to cardiac nurses who tell us this is normal and it will take time. Can anyone weigh in on this and let me know if you experienced a real bad week or 2 and any advice is welcomed. Thank you.
We are day 2 post op. This is an amazing man. His walking goal was 6 laps and he did 15. He's eating well.. taking Tylenol for pain which has been 3 and below. Everything is working well. I attribute his quick recovery to a positive attitude and a sense of humor. I'm so glad it is over and I would like to thank everyone for your support and kindness. When I felt so alone I logged into this site and read the comments and felt so much better. I Love this site and I have been telling everyone about it. Doc says we will probably go home on Saturday. We are both excited about that. Thank you again. Tammy and Bob.
My husband is doing well. He is in ICU for the night. He already has his breathing tube out and now they are trying to find the right combination of pain medication. He has already told the staff his best joke so I know his recovery will go very well. He has a positive attitude and a great sense of humor. Thanks to all of you for you support. I hope everyone is doing well.
The nurse just called from the OR and said that my husband's new valve is in and working well. They are taking him off the heart/lung machine and closing. Doc will come and talk to me. I think I'm going to cry..
Just 3 more days until my husband's aortic valve replacement surgery. We leave home Monday morning to travel to Missoula, Montana for a preop morning of education and tests then surgery on Tuesday morning. We are both full of anxiety and apprehension but we also know that this surgery cannot be avoided any longer. As we read all of your success stories we are filled with encouragement. Thank you to everyone for our support.
HI. My husband is scheduled to have aortic heart valve replacement on September 25th. We are both a little ( no alot) nervous about this. I have been getting as much information on the "mini sternotomy" that he will be having. He is in pretty good health for a 79 year old man and he is definitely not a "hospital" person. Hates them as a matter of fact. I was just wondering if every patient has to have the central line for heart surgery and will he wake up with the ventilator still attached?