Following Mitral Valve and Bypass Surgery I was non responsive for 4 days. My Surgery was on Thursday and I did not awake until the following Monday. My wife told me that I never asked for any pain medication which is NOT like me. They could not get any response from me for 4 days and then on the 4th day I began to regain consciousness. I had no memory of even going into surgery. My last memory was being in the prep room and after being shaved the nurse said she was going to get my family. I don't remember anything for the next 4 days. When I woke up I did not know where I was or why I was there. Gradually I came around and recovered from surgery. I still have short term memory loss and now even a year later still feel tired all the time and periodic tightness in my chest more like scar tissue forming. I can take a pill and 5 minutes later not remembering if i took it or not. I have learned to write things down I want to remember. Social Security has approved me for disability. I am fearful that my memory loss will be progressive and also worried that the Mitral Valve surgery will need to be repeated. They also did one bypass due to a 75% blockage in one artery. They noted a 45% blockage in 2 other arteries that they did nothing with. Will I eventually need further surgery for the other arteries and eventually have the repaired Mitral Valve replaced? The memory loss is a concern
>>>>It is not unexpected to have memory and cognitive function. It seems cardiac surgery has damaging effects on the brain. There may be an age component as the majority of elderly patients undergoing open heart surgery suffer subtle cognitive difficulties for several months post-operatively.
An explanation from what I have read that during surgery the patient's body temperature is lowered, which allows the heart to remain stopped longer without damage. Lowering body temperature also has a protective benefit to the brain. Some researchers believe the brain's protection may be decreased if the body is warmed too quickly after heart surgery, placing sensitive brain tissue at risk for damage.
With cardiopulmonary bypass, a machine that oxygenates the blood and circulates it throughout the body during surgery, and it is not known for sure, but cognitive changes may be related to emboli (tiny particles, most commonly cholesterol or blood clots) that are dislodged when the heart-lung bypass machine is removed from the aorta.
Reduced blood flow to the brain, which can be further reduced in the setting of blockages of the brain arteries can also result in cognitive changes postoperatively. Often there is a return to better brain functions.
QUOTE: "They noted a 45% blockage in 2 other arteries that they did nothing with. Will I eventually need further surgery for the other arteries and eventually have the repaired Mitral Valve replaced?
There are guidelines by the medical community to not stent or bypass any occlusions less than 50% unless there are symptoms not effectively treated with mediation. The partially blocked vessels it may never progress any further with proper diet, exercise, medciation, etc. And if progression does occur there may be the stent option before another open heart surgery.
Sometimes heart valves can be repaired effectively treated wiithout open heart surgery.
Hope this helps, and if you have any followup questions you are welcome to ask. I wish you well.
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