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what to expect
hello i am 14 week out from valves surgery . Question is it normal for the top of incision to feel diifferent? has bump but when i am sitting it has a pulling sensation.
* how are you suppose to feel at three months?
I am doing cardiac rehab. did I pull something?
worry wart here
Catty350, August 17, 2019 5:43pm EST
Before anything else, I would definitely discuss this with your surgeon or cardiologist for piece of mind. I am 13 months post surgery for a mitral valve repair. I had a large lump at the top of my incision, like a man’s Adam’s apple. I was told it was normal after open heart surgery and would go away. It did. I also had a pulling feeling and achiness in my chest, like I had a pulled muscle. That also disappeared over time. The pulling could also be the scarring, depending if you have a problem with keloidal scarring. I also experienced a-fib and arrhythmia on occasion, during the first eight months after surgery. I haven’t had any episodes of either in the last 5 months. I’m doing great, now, but during the early months of recovery I thought every ache and pain I experienced was my heart giving out. The body needs time to fully recover from this traumatic surgery. The mind also needs time to recover. Good luck and be well!
Coolmom, August 17, 2019 8:24pm EST
thank you for replying, this really helps. when did that pulling feeling stop?
The cardiologist is going to do a cat scan to be sure. I might have pulled a muscle because i am also doing pysical thereapy for my neck. slept wrong during recovery. Those excercise also uses chest muscles.
the incision looks great and is closed. I think we are going thru the same thing.
Once again thank you!!!
Catty350, August 17, 2019 9:26pm EST
I am happy to know you will be having a ct scan to make sure everything is perfect. It was about 6 months post surgery before the aching and pulling in my chest finally disappeared. I saw my cardiologist because of it but he didn’t have any concerns. The dr. visit helped relieve my anxiety, though. I see him again this month for a regular checkup and echocardiogram and I can’t wait to tell him how amazing I feel. I should also let you know that I sought help for depression and anxiety after this surgery. I am not sure why this type of surgery makes patients more prone to this, but it can be all consuming and debilitating. Therapy really helped me get my life back on an even keel. Again, good luck and be well.
AmbassadorC, August 21, 2019 10:23pm EST
Good evening Coolmom and congratulations on your recovery. I too had a repair to my mitral valve and experienced the same symptoms that you mentioned re the scar as well as the pulling sensation. I found that it was very difficult for me to regain my upper body strength, as women tend to not have as much upper body strength as men. That said, I found that right after surgery, it was hard for me to open heavy doors in department stores or even my train while commutting when I returned 8 weeks later.
You ask how one is suppose to feel at a certain bench mark. What I found is that every "body" is different in terms of recovery. For me, it took a good 6 months or so before that pulling sensation began to diminsih. I will also forewarn you, that if you begin exercising again after cardiac rehab, you will need to be cautious of those upper body exercises, as even now, 6 years post surgery, I will occassionally feel a "pull" across one of my chest muscles. I am super cautious of the entire sternal area, and for obvious reasons. I would also mention your concerns to your cardio as well. It's always best to communicate anything that doesn't feel right as an abundance of caution.
If you have not already, I would invite you to explore the AHA Heart Valve Education center. There are some wonderful downloadable PDF's that can assist you with tracking the rest of your progress. Recovery from heart surgery and milestones Please feel free to reach out with any addtional questions or concerns. The very best to you and continued heart health!
Renok75, August 30, 2019 1:04pm EST
Hi. I am a 64 year old woman who is 10 month post AVR (bovine). Once I got off the beta-blocker two weeks ago I have had much more energy, and want to do more. I was born with a congenital heart defect and had coarctation of aorta surgery at age 18. The surgeon told me then that when I was "old" I may need surgery again due to my bi-cuspid aortic valve, and wouldn't you know it, at age 62, I started getting short of breath and lack of energy. So last fall, I had surgery to replace the aortic valve and repair the severe stenosis.
I had some pains but the cardiologist was not at all concerned. I had an Echocardiogram done two weeks ago as well and doc says heart is working good. My scar has a bump in it, maybe fluid under the scar, but while not pretty, it is fine.
My biggest concern is that while I don;t have to use warafarin like I would with a mechanical valve, that my bovine valve may wear out in 12-20 years. I am very aware that I don't have that many years left so i want to do more now before my valve wears out! A little anxious for that, - not that I fear death (I know where I am going), but that I won't feel up to doing all I would like to do.