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81 Year old having aortic valve replaced/triple bypass

Dad is 81 and having aortic valve replacement/ triple bypass surgery and Atrial Fibrillation repair (NOT Maze). He has one of the best surgeons in the field at the Cleveland Clinic, but I'm uneasy about what will follow.

Only heart issue was an episode of Atrial Fibrillation 18 months ago, which did not cause permanent heart damage. He had a mini-stoke at that time, but made a full recovery. He had one stint put in during his A-fib episode, which will be bypassed. He is thin, quit smoking in his 40s, very active/agile and is NOT diabetic.  He was successfully treated for prostate cancer and melanoma in his early 70s.

Three months ago he had a small stroke, a result of an episode of A-fib, due the aortic valve disease and he was only on Plavix at the time, but was put back on Coumadin after his stoke and taken off Plavix. About six months ago he was hospitalized for low hemoglobin and that is when he was taken off Coumadin.

He has recovered from the recent stroke, other than some minor recall issues with speech and has recovered nearly 100 percent use of his right side. The aortic valve issue is the most critical and those blockages are not an immediate concern. However, because of this, he will have a full sternum break as opposed to the minimally invasive procedure they thought may be possible for the valve replacement.

Will he be on a heart/lung machine for the entire duration of surgery? What are the side effects of this machine?

We understand the risk factors of surgery and I understand he will be heavily medicated, but does that mean non-responsive post-op? How many days does that generally last if all goes well during surgery?

Will he be able to walk stairs? What sort of preparations should be made at home? He does have a bed that can elevate his head, but will he have lower extremity edema? I've read that often people spend a significant amount of time in a recliner, even to sleep. Any advice welcome.

Thank you. Dee




1 Responses
290386 tn?1193630481
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Open heart surgery does have some complications and it is natural  for you to be to be anxious about it.He will be on the bypass machine and some (not all) people do get some memory and confusion problems from it. The edema and need to elevate the head of the bed or sleep on a recliner happens in patients with heart failure. If his heart function is normal prior to surgery he may not have any such problems.
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