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Suzette, December 29,  2018  11:08am EST

Fast Heart Rate After Mitral Valve Repair

Hi Everyone,

Has anyone here experienced a higher/faster heart rate after surgery? I am 3 weeks post op and from what I see online, it's common to last a few months.

My cardiologist has been monitoring it & ruled out PE. I still have some fluid around my right right lung, which has gone down significantly, & my cardiologist is happy about that. (Me too!)

If anyone could share their experience with elevated post op heart rate, I would appreciate it!

Thank you!💖

6 Replies
  • AmbassadorDN
    AmbassadorDN, December 29,  2018  2:18pm EST

    Yes, I have had an elevated heart rate after each of my valve surgeries. My surgeon says that it’s like getting the engine in your car worked on; you’ll run at a high RPM after the work-up. (My surgeon likes using car analogies. He even joked about me returning to the “service bay” when he had to do my re-op last year.)

    I’m glad that you are working together with your cardio. I hope you have a good relationship with him or her because that is so important. Keep an eye on things and communicate with your doctor if you feel that things don’t seem right. You know your body best. 

    Keep us posted with your recovery!

    To Heart and Soul Health,


  • Suzette
    Suzette, December 29,  2018  2:25pm EST

    Oh thank you so much! Now I think I remember you posting about that! Sorry my brain is still a bit fuzzy too!

    Thanks again..altho all of our recoveries are individual & unique, it eases my mind to know what's "normal" or that other people experienced it too.💖

  • AmbassadorDN
    AmbassadorDN, December 29,  2018  3:39pm EST

    Since you mentioned the brain fuzzies, Suzette, I’m including a link above to Postperfusion Syndrome, commonly known among us heart surgery survivors as “Pumphead.” I’m not usually a big fan of Wikipedia as a reliable source, but it does offer some information on the subject. 

    Basically, and I can attest to this, our brains go a bit “wack-a-doodle” from the heart-lung machine. Some doctors don’t believe in “pumphead,” and others do. There is even a group on Facebook (not sure if you are on FB) that is dedicated to this subject, called Postperfusion Syndrome. The woman who runs this page has a son who is a congenital heart defect warrior and has done extensive research on pumphead. She suggests—and funny, since my neurologist suggested the same for me when I was in the throes of major depression after my most recent surgery—a series of brain exercises. You can start small at 10 minutes each and then work your way to 30 minutes each, depending on what your schedule allows, but you do one set of brain games (crossword puzzles, word search, games on your phone), reading and/or journaling (I even grabbed a few vocab books I used with my students because I found that I struggled with aphasia), and another set of coloring. Not even kidding on the last one. I recaptured my childhood with coloring! You can play some soft music while you exercise your brain. This is why I now let my students listen to music while they work on their essays in class, LOL! All these combined can help with the pumpheadedness many of us experience after surgery.

    Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions. 

  • THoMC
    THoMC, January 1,  2019  2:45pm EST

    This may not be related... my condition overall improved at about 5 weeks. I think the heart takes about that long to be repaired from the surgery cutting and so forth.

    From my readings, I think quirks are common and often nothing to worry about. The body is kind of quirky. As long as your doctor is informed and you are on top of it, I would not worry.

    I did have a couple brief episodes of fast heart rate during the first two weeks. Months after surgery, I did have one, only one, episode of a fast heart rate that, to me, was just like what anyone else gets not often but normal I believe from time to time at least for me.

    Do plan a long-term exercise program if you do not have one already. Walking, steady (non-sudden) elevated heart rate into you safe exercise zone, exercise with the knowledge of your care team, etc... higher intensity is appropriate for me being well past my surgery and my desiring building the heart muscle... exercise under the care of a care team. I am not an expert or professional, to be clear.

  • Sheilaella63
    Sheilaella63, January 9,  2019  6:23pm EST

    Hi .. it's been sense Nov 12-2018 sense I had 2 heat vaul replacements and my heart rate is still 120 a min. Trying to get it down but so far nothing. So yes to your question. 

  • CMary
    CMary, January 19,  2019  8:09pm EST

    I had this too after my mitral valve surgery 2 years ago. I was told it’s normal but was still concerned. But it all ended up fine. It was often around 100. Even Higher in the morning. But now it’s usually in the 80s. I also take thyroid medication and about a year after the surgery I adjusted my dose and that seemed to help too. 

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