I am 84 years old and am to have my aortic valve replaced along with some bypass surgery within the next two weeks, and I wonder if someone can give me an idea of the recovery process. How long in the hospital, how long before I will be able to climb the stairs to my bedroom? How long might I need to have someone stay with me atter I return home?. My wife recently passed away, and I am alone. Thanks for your input! Tricky Duck
This is a very big surgery. Heart valve replacement is very complex. Are all your organs in perfect condition lungs, kidneys, liver and have no diabetes? You could be in the hospital a very long time weeks to months. You may never be able to climb stairs again so be prepared for that. My experience waiting in the hospital after my mom had her valve surgery and did not survive at age 70 was that the people coming out of surgery in the 80's were usually not conscious for 2 to 5 days. After that they had a rough time getting going eating and such. Make sure that you have a living will in place. My Mom was not breathing after surgery and could not tell us what she wanted. It is very difficult for family to know when the pain is just too much. Most likely being that you live alone, the hospital will send you to a nursing home until you can return home. This is best so that they can watch for blood clots, medication change adjustment, etc. You do not want to go home too early as to end up back in the hospital again. Do as much research as you can before surgery. Make sure that you have the best surgeon. I do not want to scare you, but I do want to prepare you for what you are in for. Good luck! Hope you feel better.
It is my understanding that a surgeon will be adverse to operating on anyone over the age of 80 unless it is a matter of life or death circumstances. It is difficult to assess your prognosis as there is no information regarding your physical condition, prior medical history, etc. There are social and medical help available for home bound patients as well as supervised cardiac recovery programs that is covered by medical insurance...if you live in community that provides this service (usually larger cities)..
Some people are genearlly in good health and recover normally, others not so well. I'm not as old as you are, but my furture may be the same as your present circumstances. My doctor comments to me an operation at the present time (I have no symptoms and feel well) could possibly cause a condition substandard to what I am presently experiencing...situation has been going on for the past 5 years, and the doctor always asks if I am experiencing any shortness of breath, etc. as well as a 6 month test (echo, CT scan, stress test).
I had my aortic valve replaced and it was no big deal. I was home in three days with very little pain. Of course I was younger than you.... 48. The by pass I don't know about but I've never heard anybody talking about it being a brutal surgery. Just take it as it comes and deal with whatever happens. You'll do fine.
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