Daily Living – Heart Valve Replacement Heart Valve Disease
Having a heart valve replaced may cause you to think that you need to greatly change your lifestyle. Instead, you will probably feel much better physically with continued improvement several weeks or months after your surgery. As you feel better, you may want to discuss some of this information further with your doctor.
Ask your doctor about what kinds of activities and sports you should avoid. Report any falls, blows to the body or head, or other injuries to your doctor right away.
After you've recovered, you should be able to enjoy traveling to all the places you did before your surgery. Remember, however, that certain destinations may harbor bacteria and other microbes that could be dangerous for your heart. Talk with your doctor if you're planning a trip to an exotic or tropical destination.
It's a good idea to carry a form of identification (a card, necklace, or bracelet) that says you have an artificial heart valve, in case of emergency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all mechanical heart valves be registered. Medtronic offers free registration service to all heart valve patients regardless of what type of heart valve replacement they have. You can register online or call Medtronic LifeLine at (800) 551-5544.
After you register, you'll get a free identification card that tells other people you are someone with an implanted device. This can be important information for medical personnel in case of an emergency.
Tell your dentist or other doctors that care for you about your heart valve surgery. You may have to take antibiotics before getting dental work or even routine cleanings. This is because bacteria can be dislodged from your teeth and travel to your heart valve, causing an infection.
If you're on anti-coagulant (anti-clotting) medication, take special care when shaving and when brushing and flossing your teeth. Use only a soft toothbrush and floss very gently. Use an electric razor rather than a blade.
Your new heart valve is safe with cell phones, electric toothbrushes, and magnets. None of these items will cause problems with your heart valve product.
All our heart valves are safe with x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations. Contact Medtronic LifeLine Cardiovascular Technical Support for more detailed information.
It's also safe to go through airport security after your heart valve replacement. Airport security systems have no effect on our heart valves. They should not activate airport security alarms, depending on the sensitivity of the security system setting.
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.