Has anyone ever had Aortic valve replacement? If so, how was the procedure and recovery? I need to do it in the future and I want to know from someone so already did it
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I had an aortic tissue valve replacement and a triple bypass almost three years ago now. The operation went fine although it was longer than expected. The first few days can be bad although the pain killer helps. Within a week I was on my way home. It then takes time for your body to recover not just the physical side but the mental as well.
The first excersise taken makes you feel really old as you can only move slowly. I wanted to return to work as quickly as possible and I was told it would be a minimum of 12 weeks. Ireturned after 13 but made the mistake of going back full time instead of easing my way back in. The fist week I felt as tired as I did just after the op.
My scar still has not healed completely with some red swelling and the Doctor tells me everyone is different. I did not feel too bad before the op just breathless when going uphill.
Now I can tell the difference though. I feel fine!
There are 2 different methods Surgeons use to do this operation: open heart surgery/sternotomy or minimal invasive.
I can tell you my experience with the OHS. I had mitral-valve surgery in 2008 and sternal dehiscense op in 2009.
The operation itself takes about 3-5 hours to complete. Your sternum will be sawn open, pericardium cut to expose the heart. Then the heart-lung bypass takes over - circulate your blood and wash it and pumped back into body - the heart gets cooled down with ice and then stopped. Surgeon has to work on a heart that is not pumping. Valve gets resected, new valve sewn into place. Heart bypass stop, own heart starts working again or sometimes needs a shock. Sternum wires to reattach sternum and closed up. You'll wake up while still on Ventelator and as soon as lungs are functioning normally, weaned from that.
ICU and Hospital stay can be anything from 5-14 days. I was in ICU for 5 days and in normal ward for another 4. Stitches/clips gets removed on day 14. Cardio rehab is important part of recovery. Until 6 weeks post-op you can not pick anything up that is heavier than 2kg. Not allowed to drive. Should be able to go back to work after 6 weeks check-up and start driving again.
If you have a mechanical valve you will be on lifelong anticaulgulant/Warfarin. Due to the Warfarin treatment you need frequent INR bloodtests, but there are also INR-home kits available.
There is a high success rate with heart surgery and life afterwards is so much better. I am now almost 4 years post-op and my heart function is good, heart back to normal size and not in heart failure. All good :)
Hope that the info you get here will help you prepare for your upcoming surgery. All the best,
Thank you for your response about your Aortic tissue valve surgery. Do you mind if i ask how long the surgery was? I had valve surgery was i was born because it was tight ( i had Aortic Stenosis) but now i have Aortic Regurgitation so i need to eventually replace it but right now my valve is mild to moderate. Is it true that they only replace the valve when it gets severe?
Thanks for your response! What is sternal dehiscense op? i know op is operation, & sternal is the chest. I think its amazing that your surgery was about 3-5 hours to complete. I heard it can take like 10 hours (lol) when i was born i had Aortic Valve surgery because my Aortic Valve was tight (Aortic Stenosis) but now it leaks (aortic regurgitation). I discussed each procedure with my Cardiologist. I do like the mechanical valve because it has a longer lifespan but i don't like taken a blood thinner (anticoagulant). Did you receive a tissue valve? Or was your valve even replaced? I'm so glad that your surgery worked out well =)
I had a mitral valve repair done, i.e. I now have a ring around my valve. My heart was in bad shape when I went in and it took me about 2 years to get out of heart failure. Sternal dehiscense is when the sternum does not attach. I had a post-op infection and maybe that was the main cause. In 2009 I had my wiring redone.
Mild-moderate regurg should be monitored annually and you will become a surgical candidate when your heart function declines (EF lower than 40%), your heart enlarges or show signs of heart failure. The regurg also gets graded from 0-6. Moderate will be Grade 3-4 leak and severe being Grade 6+. You will be surprised how long the regurg can continue and you may never need a re-op. Let's hope for that :)
I think it must be hard to choose between the tissue or mechanical valve as both has it's pro's and con's.
I'm so glad your surgery worked out. I need to replace my Aortic Valve eventually but i been hanging onto it for 24 yrs now. You said you had mitral valve repair, so they didnt replace it? I think its great that they repaired it. What does the ring around your valve do? My valve was repaired as a baby but now it needs to be replaced. I heard it could take years and I'm hoping i never have to do it either. Thank you so much!
Sorry for all the questions =/ You don't need to answer if you dont want to, i'm just a concerned person lol
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