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Having a heart valve replaced may cause you to think that you need to greatly change your lifestyle. Instead, as your recovery progresses, 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 the following information 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. 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.
It's a good idea to carry a form of identification (a card, necklace, or bracelet) that states you have an artificial heart valve, in case of emergency. 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 877-526-7890.
After you register, you'll receive a free identification card that tells other people you have 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 performing 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 anticoagulant (anti-clotting) medication, take special care when shaving and when brushing and flossing your teeth. Use only a soft toothbrush and floss very gently. A general recommendation is to use an electric razor rather than a blade.
Your new heart valve can be used with cell phones, electric toothbrushes, and magnets. These items are not known to cause problems with Medtronic heart valves.
Medtronic heart valves are compatible with x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations under specific conditions. Contact Medtronic LifeLine Cardiovascular Technical Support for more detailed information.
You may go through airport security after your heart valve replacement. Your Medtronic heart valve products should not activate airport security alarms, depending on the sensitivity of the security system settings.