Post Heart surgery Hallucinations
by jojo660, Mar 05, 2008
2 weeks ago my father had surgery.  He had a valve replacement and one bypass.   Today he is having Hallucinations.  He knows they are not real but he sees animals, bugs, etc.  with eyes open or shut.  Nurse assured this sometimes happens.  Has anyone heard of this before?  How long will it potentially last?

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Member Comments (5)
by tinkinthehouse, Mar 06, 2008
My husband had hallucinations after valve replacement....lasted about 12-14 hours.....no one seemed concerned...he's is fully recovered and doing great.
by preacher30143, May 10, 2009
I am home now from by-pass surgery -- about two weeks.  My experience with post-op halluncinations were horrible!  Like many stories I have seen on the internet, my hallucinations included huge ****-roaches, rats, and demons.

This lasted for two consecutive nights.  The second night was the worse because I was, by then, sleep deprived.  I did not want to close my eyes because when I did I would fall into this state of psuedo-sleep accompanied by these hallucinations.  And so I would wake up with a start realizing that my eyes had only been closed for a minute or two.  I would desperately not want to close my eyes but could not resist.  This went on all night!  Horrible, horrible experience.

It was difficult to seperate reality from fantasy, but I could with intense effort.

I did not want to tell anyone for fear that they would think me crazy.  But I resolved that I must have faith in the medical personnel taking care of me.

To my horror, no one really took me seriously.  One nurse even suggested that I let her call in a psychiatrist.

I resolved that I was going to have to fix this myself.  The only thing that I could imagine was bringing on the hallucinations were my pain meds and/or sleep aid meds.  I told the staff to discontinue giving me any narcotic of any sort.  The only med I willing to take for pain and discomfort was Tylenol (and that did not include Tylenol PM).

I don't know if it was the discontinuations of the meds or the the side-effects of anesthesia finally getting out of my system, but by the third night the hallucinations subsided.  Thank God!  This was one of the worse experiences of my life.

I think the medical community does not take this phenomenon seriously because they have never personally experienced it.  But it can be a horrible side effect of surgery and should be taken very seriously.

I don't know if it is caused by the pain meds, the anesthesia, or what (one article blames the hallucinations on a common drug called Metoprolol).  I don't know but somebody in the medical field needs to do some serious research around this and raise the awareness level of the medical community.

The most horrible part were the two days of hallucinations.  The second most horrible part was not being taken seriously by the medical personnel attending to me.

I wonder if anyone else has a comment or can add to this.

Frank F. Wilson
Jasper, Georgia
by Hetty426, Jul 16, 2009
I am in full sympathy, having had mitral valve repair in April. The hallucinations went on for at least six days and mostly were of red liquid flowing along channels of different sorts and textures, as if my brain had "looked" inside the heart/lung machine as the blood was swirling around it. The images morphed constantly, changing each time I blinked.  At night the images changed to bodies piled on top of each other, not much fun to see, esp. since I couldn't sleep well. The images normally disappeared as soon as I opened my eyes, except  one night when I looked at the church across the street in front of the hospital and "saw" its front covered by a basket weave pattern. Even weirder were the "fireworks" and "snow falling" in the distance. It was a relief when the images ended. At the same time I was fascinated and would like to know what caused it. Morphine? The heart/lung machine?  I wasn't "on" anything unusual at the time, the morphine having been discontinued two days after surgery.

Has anyone out there had problems with restless leg syndrome since valve surgery?? It is driving me bananas. Don't sleep before 2am, then am wide awake again and twitching at 3.30am. Can't get through the day without an afternoon nap. Am doing everything that's recommended, including tests for iron, etc. Am even walking 4 1/2 miles a day, which doesn't help me sleep but at least keeps my legs from completely unmaking the bed over the course of the night.

Despite this, the surgery was brilliant. I breathe better, have more energy (good thing, since I don't get much sleep!), and no chest conjestion.

Hope you are mending well,
Hetty Tye
Cornwall UK
by fedup100, Jul 16, 2009
Are you low on magnesium?
by kimaesha, Aug 11, 2009
Hi. I heard some issues same as with you. But I don't know much of the details. Below this is a link where you can ask professionals about your concern. They may help you.

by ruzzel01, Aug 11, 2009
If, for some reason, a patient has a valve that is not functioning the way it should, a heart valve repair surgery may be indicated. For example, someone suffering from mitral valve regurgitation may need to have a heart valve repair to keep blood from flowing backwards inside of the heart. The mitral valve prolapsed can cause leaks that must be repaired. Valvualr stenosis (http://doctorfinders.com/hvr.php) can cause problems when the valve stiffens.


One method used in heart valve repair is a valvuoplasty. This technique can use a balloon catheter, or even a scalpel, to free leaflets in the valve. When these leaflets do not close properly, the blood can back up into the atrium. This type of heart valve repair may not even require open surgery, as the "commissurotomy" version of the procedure can be done entirely with a catheter that has been threaded into the heart via the femoral artery.

An annuloplasty is another method used for heart valve repair. This type of procedure attempts to repair damaged tissue at the base of the valve. This area is called the annulus, and it can become enlarged. The result is that blood backs up into the atrium. Doctors can sometimes fix this problem by decreasing the size of the opening with the use of strategically places sutures. This type of heart valve repair may also implement the implantation of a device called an annuloplasty ring. In addition to making the opening smaller, it can also provide extra support for the valve and for other repair techniques that are being used.


Patients who have undergone heart valve repair will need to remain in the hospital for several days. It takes about four to six weeks for most patients to return to work. There are some long-term precautions that must be taken after a heart valve repair. For example, doctors may prescribe a regular regiment of blood thinners
by NickNick911, Oct 18, 2009
Have you had any symptoms of burning sensation in arms or legs since your heart bypass surgery, or IF ANYONE ELSE out there has, please reply... My father is having this often and we dont know what it is that is causing this sensation...
by kath58, Oct 22, 2009
yep those hallucinations are funny hey.. i was totally convinced the guy in the room next to me was a terrorist and tried to get my husband to call the police, then one day i told the nurse how much i had enjoyed the music they played each night..yep thats right..no music,,i was lucky mine werent bad but my dad had pretty bad ones when he had his heart done and his knee done, saw rats everywhere,  thought he was being totured and tried to get out of bed and run away, etc. pretty scary for a couple of days but its just the morphine i think.