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I have my heart surgery on Feb 22nd and I'm terrified. I feel so depressed right now, I think I'm making myself sick. I'm having MV replacement and all I can think about is how much pain I will be in after the surgery. Can someone tell me what to expect?
AHAModerator, February 17, 2021 9:22am EST
Thank you so much for reaching out to the Patient Support Network. I am so sorry to hear you are experiencing some nerves and fear before your surgery. I hope that you can find support and similar stories here to help ease some concerns. If it would be helpful, I'm going to share with you this resource on the Types of Valve Replacement Surgeries and this one about Heart Valve Disease Personal Stories.
Please keep us updated on how you are feeling!
AmbassadorDN, February 17, 2021 3:18pm EST
I have had three mitral valve surgeries so I can give you a bit of insight as to what to expect; however, my fellow Heart Valve Ambassador, Christine, has published a "what to expect" guide. Attached is a link to her story along with the three-part series that she wrote: "Operation Backward Blood": https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-valve-problems-and-disease/heart-valve-disease-personal-stories/meet-christine-rekash-aha-heart-valve-ambassador
Please know that pre-surgery anxiety is normal, and if you are able to (if you have not yet done so), please reach out to your cardiologist as well as your surgeon to address the fears and concerns you are experiencing.
Each person has a different surgical experience, but be sure to address any concerns you have post-op with your care team, as well as to address any pain management issues you may be having after surgery. In my experience, I had minimally-invasive mitral valve surgery for the first two surgeries, and my third-surgery involved a mini-sternotomy. To be honest, I had the worst pain experience after my second surgery, but my doctors were able to help me manage the pain.
I'm sure my fellow Heart Valve Ambassadors will be along soon to share their insights and experiences, but meanwhile please feel free to ask away! We are all here for you as you prepare for and recover from your surgery.
To Heart and Soul Health,
PK203, February 18, 2021 12:08pm EST
I underwent aortic valve replacement and aorta replacement surgery in July 2020. I am 56 and in relatively good heath. I had some pain the day after surgery. When in ICU, I was asleep most of the time. But by the 3 rd day, I did not have pain and was off pain medications. I was in the hospital for 5 days. While each of us will have different experiences, the key is to stay positive. Good luck.
AmbassadorJ, February 18, 2021 4:29pm EST
I have had two MV surgeries in the past 3 years so I can relate....granted, each of our situations are unique.
Pre-surgery anxiety is indeed common for many of us. My honest and open conversations with my cardiologist leading up to my surgery helped a lot. Also, I asked to see my surgeon just before surgery (literally, just before the operation). We only spent a couple of minutes talking. But, it helped me.
Equally important to me was to have faith. Faith in not just my surgeon but everyone else on the care team. And, for me, faith from 'up above' helped me too.
As for the post-op pain, its really true that it varies by person. And, as Ambassidor DN experienced it can vary between surgeries. In my case, the pain was mitigated by the health care team. They frequently asked about my pain level which told me that managing my pain level was a priority to them. Frankly, my memory is fuzzy from my time in the ICU. But, I was fortunate as I was off most meds in a few days. And today, I feel great!
One other 'tool' that helped me for a week or two following surgery was my heart pillow. Every so often you may cough or sneeze and holding a pillow close to my chest helped reduce the pain around the incision.
Most important is to communicate with your health care team for their guidance. Their guidance will be based on your unique situation.
Feel free to ask away with questions. We're here for you.
classic64, February 21, 2021 7:12pm EST
I had mitral valve repair surgery in November of 2018.
Let me first say that it is normal to feel a whole range of emotions prior to surgery. Most everyone does.
With regard to how much pain you will be in and what to expect, this varies with each person's individual experience. Some people have minimal pain and few, if any complications, while others endure quite a bit of pain and more complications. I fell in the latter category.
You really won't know how your body will respond until after you actually have the surgery. Hopefully you will have minimal pain and no complications.