Heart Valve Surgery Recovery & Healing

By Adam Pick - Patient, Author & HeartValveSurgery.com Founder

One of the big questions I had specific to heart valve surgery was, “How long will it take to recover from heart valve surgery?”

Patients ask this question for several different reasons.  Some patients want to know how long they will need to be away from their work. Some patients want to know how long they will need medical care when they return from the hospital.  Other patients want to know how long they might be in physical discomfort as a result of the surgery. 

The first time I searched the Internet, looking for answers to this question, I found several resources which stated that the average recovery time from heart valve surgery was eight to twelve weeks.

That seemed like a pretty significant amount of time.

So, I decided to double-check with my surgeon. When I asked Dr. Vaughn Starnes, he said, “Adam, you’re a young guy. I think you are going to 'snap back' in no time from your aortic valve replacement.”

While that response made me feel good, Dr. Starnes did not fully answer the question. So, I did some more digging and interviewed former patients to better understand my future recovery.

Interestingly enough, I was very confused by the variance in recovery times. Some patients were back at work in five weeks.  Other patients were out of work for several months.

 



As you will see throughout this website, my recovery from cardiac surgery did not occur in eight to twelve weeks. I did not ‘snap back' during my recovery.  Rather, recovering from heart valve surgery was a very challenging process that involved several mental and physical obstacles.

I am telling you this now, as you start asking questions about the recovery from heart surgery, to emphasize this overlooked and mismanaged element of cardiac surgery recovery.



Everyone recovers from heart valve surgery at different rates.  There is no pre-defined recovery time. 

 

Since my surgery... While preparing the research for this website and my book, I have interviewed thousands of heart valve repair and heart valve replacement patients to better understand patient recovery from cardiac surgery.  In hearing their stories, I learned many details about heart valve surgery recovery that I did not know. 

In addition, I interviewed world-renown surgeons to get their feedback to help the patients in our community.  In this video, Dr. David Adams, the Surgeon-in-Chief of Mount Sinai Health System, provides several great comments and guidelines about the time it takes to recover from heart surgery. 

 

 

While Dr. Adams provides excellent guidelines for patient recovery, I encourage you to remember that you are unique. That said, your healing will be unique as well. 

One of the biggest mistakes that patients make during their recovery is not signing up for cardiac rehabilitation classes. The benefits of these classes include physical, mental and social benefits. Please take the time to sign up for a cardiac rehabilitation program to ensure your recovery stays on track.  

 

You Might Also Like

To help you learn more about the recovery from heart surgery, you may also like: 

 

Page last updated: January 21, 2019

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.