After Surgery – Heart Valve Replacement Heart Valve Disease
It is not unusual for you, your family, or your caregivers to have some concerns following heart valve replacement surgery. This may be especially true during the first 3 months with your new heart valve. Here's some information that may be helpful.
In the intensive care unit (ICU), the staff will keep a close watch on your heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and other vital body signs. You may feel a little uncomfortable because of all the monitoring equipment attached to you. The nurses will try to keep you as comfortable as possible. Friends and family are usually welcome to visit you.
When intensive care monitoring is no longer needed, you'll be moved to a regular hospital room. Typically, you may be in the hospital for 3 to 7 days, depending on how quickly you recover. Many patients are amazed at how much better they feel and how soon they can resume normal activities.
After you're released from the hospital, you will have to see your doctor for follow-up visits. During these visits, your doctor may order lab tests, such as an echocardiogram, an x-ray or an electrocardiogram, to make sure you are healing properly.
If you're taking anti-coagulants, you need to have regular blood tests to monitor your dosage. You'll usually go periodically to a hospital, doctor's office, or laboratory to have these tests done.
Make sure that your patient takes his or her medications exactly as prescribed by the doctor. Don't stop administering medications or skip a dose unless the doctor tells you to do so.
Some valve patients retain water even after successful surgery. Your patients may gain weight even though they're not over-eating. Tell the doctor if your patient experiences dramatic weight gain that you can't explain.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.