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Please tell me all you know about open heart surgery - worried DFIL

(8 Posts)
nowit Fri 05-Oct-12 14:34:39

Hi all,

We have finally had the date for DFIL's replacement heart valve OP.

He is 78 and fairly active but a smoker and in the early stages of Kidney failure and so will be in the ICU for up to two weeks after his op on dialysis - this we know but what else do we need to know?

My DMIL is a wreck already and getting more nervous by the minute. DH is sooo laid back, it's a front but he doesn't really want to talk about it.

I want to arm us all, what do we need to know? Anyone have any experience?

graciesmall09 Fri 05-Oct-12 17:53:38


My mum had an aortic valve replacement almost 10 years ago when she was 68. My mum actually found the operation no problem. She went to ICU for a few hours and then spent one night in the high dependency unit where they then walked her to the main ward. She was in hospital for about a week and then opted to go to a convalescent home for 2 weeks as I had 2 very small children at the time and the hospital thought it may be too much for her. She recovered relatively quickly and stayed with me for another couple of weeks. She said she had very little pain and only found the tiredness a problem.

My mum had a mechanical heart valve so is on daily Warfarin but so far so good she has had no problems.

I hope your DFIL's operation goes ok. As your DFIL is fairly active this should help with his recovery, my mum was/is a bit of a couch potato. If you can think of anything specific you want to know, pm me and I will try to help.

NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Fri 05-Oct-12 19:22:29

My mum had an aortic valve replacement 4 years ago at the age of 72. She did take longer to recover as her scar got infected and she got a couple of lung infections, but this might have been caused by being on steroids at the time because she had only been diagnosed with Rheumotoid Arthritis a few weeks before the heart surgery.
My mum had a bovine valve replacement so doesn't have to take warfarin.

These days it is a very routine operation and there was a lady on my mum's ward that was 82.

nowit Fri 05-Oct-12 20:05:15

Thank you so so much for the replies. DFIL is having the bovine replacement too.

DMIL is a bit of a wreck, is there anything practical I can get her doing?

If he's in there for a while, they will need clothes, snacks etc etc.
They are both technophobes so nothing like an iPad, puzzle books etc?

nowit Fri 05-Oct-12 21:00:47


nowit Fri 05-Oct-12 21:44:35


graciesmall09 Fri 05-Oct-12 21:51:10

Your DFIL may not really feel like doing anything. He will need plenty of rest so perhaps just the daily paper for him, crosswords if he likes them and plenty of fluids. It may not be open visiting as it is usually restricted in cardiac wards so you DMIL may not get to spend all day there. I would keep her busy during the operation to try and keep her mind occupied as the op can take many hours.

sashh Sat 06-Oct-12 00:54:58

Buy hi a teady bear - a bigish one. After surgery the phisios will have him coughing, sometimes they put a sheet around the chest, sometimes they get the patient to hug a pillow - a teady is just as good and is personal.

Is this an aortic valve? There are two ways to replace an aortic valve, one is open heart, the other is less invvasive but does not work as well, it is done when people may not survive the open heart surgery so the fact your FIL is having open heart means his doctors think he is fit and well enough.

No one looks good in ICU - remember that when you go to see him. He will probably not be allowed flowers in ICU, and visiting will be restricted.

Does MIL cook? Get her cooking things for the freezer now so that when he is in hospital she doesn't have to think about meals.

Good luck to you all.

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