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open heart surgery

(11 Posts)
wickedfairy Sun 10-Jul-16 18:18:07

Has anyone had open heart surgery? How did you find the recovery?
Has it made a difference to your life afterwards?

Thanks in advance!

DelphiniumBlue Sun 10-Jul-16 18:27:55

My son had it at 21. 3 days in ICU,drugged up to the eyeballs, he can't remember my h about it. Then 4 days in hcu, home after a week. Slept a lot for a few weeks, able to go on on short walks the second week. Couldn't swim for 6 months. Was given a drug which turns you blue in sunlight ( apparently permanently) so had to avoid sun for about 3 months. He thought he'd be back at uni studying for finals after a few weeks, but that was over ambitious, and he needed mollycoddling at home for about 3 months - was very tired. He's fine now ( 2 years later) but it much more traumatic than he'd anticipated.
Make sure you have plenty of help lined up- if its you having the op you won't be able to lift children ( or even a kettle to start with).

LavenderRains Sun 10-Jul-16 23:13:29

Dad had OHS 4 months ago. He's in his 70's
He doesn't remember the first few days. Lots of drugs, oxygen, wires etc. He came home after 8 days. He was extremely tired and had no appetite and couldn't get comfy in bed.
He took things slowly, walking round the garden, then to the shop etc.
Now, 4 months later he does most things, appetite is back, although he still gets tired and has some sleepless nights, but there's been much improvement.
Best wishesflowers

wickedfairy Tue 12-Jul-16 22:38:57

Thank you both! Yes, it's me who will had the surgery. I am around 40, 3 kids under 10, our parents and my husband will be around to help in the beginning.

It's a bit scary and have read the BHF booklets re what to expect / now I just have to wait until I get the appointment for the surgery....

LavenderRains Wed 13-Jul-16 12:26:05

Do you mind saying what you will have done? Dad had a new valve and double bypass so quite a bit for his age I think, I wont say it wasn't tough at first but now 4 months on he is feeling good, looks well and the scars had faded a lot,
I think tiredness was the worst for him, he had a transfusion and is still low in iron, but he had no pain at all afterwards

Sounds like you have a lot of help around, it will be tough with young children but it's only for a few weeks thanks

mumblesdad Wed 13-Jul-16 12:54:07

I had open heart surgery 7 years ago to repair my mitral valve which had been leaking unknowingly for many years. I was in hospital after the op for about 8 days and only released once they were sure I could walk unaided up and down the hospital corridors.
Once home I was quite weak and though it was essential to move regularly it was quite tough to do it. Sleeping was really tough as I was under instruction to sleep upright. The pain from having your chest cracked open is painful for a while and for me was much worse than any pain from the heart..
I thought I would recover quicker than the doctors said but in the end it probably took 4 months to be ok and 6 months to really feel that I had got back to pre - op fitness.
It also became a springboard to changing my life and over the following couple of years lost 10 stone and generally got much fitter..
I would add that I changed mentally and became far more sensitive to other people's problems than I used to be, and generally more prone to emotion than I ever was.
I was 49 when I had my heart attacks and was operated on within a couple of weeks.

Hope all goes well, don't try to be to quick to recover as this can set you back

ChunkyMonkey4321 Wed 13-Jul-16 13:05:39

My son had it at 2 years old. ICU for a night, high dependency for 2 nights then he was out of the hospital in a week. Apparently children recover quicker than adults cos they have no fear and don't worry about things hurting, but I think the recovery is a lot quicker than people imagine.

You say your DC are under 10 but maybe not too young? You shouldn't pick them up for about 6 weeks afterwards which would be difficult with a baby but not so much a 10 year old. My son was doing regular activities straight after coming out of hospital, just take plenty of pain killers and extra care. Good luck

ChunkyMonkey4321 Wed 13-Jul-16 13:07:03

And I mean, you shouldn't pick anything heavy up - When I read it back it sounded weird

wickedfairy Thu 21-Jul-16 22:09:23

Hello all, apologies for not revisiting this thread until now!

It is my mitral valve that needs replacing due to severe regurgitation. I haven't heard anything yet re the op, my cardiologist said he would refer me and get me on the waiting list. I am hoping that recovery is ok, although I am sure it will be difficult....

I have heard that you can't lift anything heavy and that recovery can be painful, slow and hard work. I get breathless now although I try to still do exercise.

Thank you all for sharing your experiences, it is reassuring to hear from others.

Princessdebthe1st Thu 21-Jul-16 22:22:35

Dear OP,
You can expect to feel pretty much like you've been run over by a truck for the first couple of days but effective pain relief will get you up in your feet quicker than you think. Without any complications you can expect to be in hospital for 5-7 days following your surgery. This might be longer if you need to be on an anti-coagulant (blood thinner) as they will need to get your levels right. Once home you need to avoid lifting anything heavy (approx 10lb which is roughly the weight of a full kettle) so definitely no lifting the kids, no hoovering or heavy house work for a couple of months. You should expect your activity levels to increase slowly, some days you might feel like you can climb Mount Everest and some days where getting out of bed feels like you have climbed a mountain! You will need to rest as well as do regular gentle activity, aiming to walk a mile within six weeks is reasonable but remember that is a gradual increase not a route march. You will probably surprised at how quickly you feel a lot better. Good luck x

wickedfairy Fri 22-Jul-16 10:18:41

Thank you. I will need blood thinners for life as it will be an artificial valve, so will have to ensure levels are correct.

I just wish it would hurry up and get it over with. After my summer holiday I hope things start moving with pre-op tests, etc.

Thanks again everyone!

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