Recovery after valve surgery may take a long time. During
this time, your activities will be limited, you will experience physical and
emotional changes, and you may have problems (such as chest pain or trouble
sleeping). You will also need medicines, good nutrition, and exercise.
After you return home from the hospital,
you will spend weeks to months recovering from your surgery. Full recovery time
varies for each person and is partially influenced by your age and overall
physical condition. It also depends on your motivation to work with the
While you are recovering, you will have to limit many of
your normal activities. On average, most people take 3 to 6 weeks off from
work. But this will depend on your physical condition and the type of work you
do. Talk to your doctor to find out when it is safe for you to return to work.
You will be advised not to drive for 3 to 6 weeks. Your
body needs time to regain its normal coordination and agility and to allow your
incision to heal.
To ensure proper healing, you
should specifically avoid applying direct pressure to your surgical wound and
lifting objects weighing more than
10 lb (4.5 kg) for at least 6
Recovery can be intensely painful and difficult at times,
due to both the operation and medicines you are given. You may have some
discomfort such as pain, swelling, or fatigue.
You may experience
bouts of depression. Some people experience depression as a natural result of
recovery from invasive surgery, which is a traumatic and weakening physical
experience. Other people become depressed because they may feel isolated or
inactive during recovery.
Although it may be difficult, remember
that these sensations and feelings are all normal reactions and are part of
your physical and emotional healing process. They should disappear over time.
If any of them concern you or especially cause you discomfort, discuss them
with your doctor.
What you need to watch for
Some physical symptoms
may indicate complications such as an infection. The table below notes symptoms
to be aware of and what they may mean. Notify your doctor immediately if you
experience any of them.
Possible symptoms after valve surgery
A fever especially during the first few days after you return home
Excessive draining, redness, or swelling of the incision
Sudden weight gain in the first
Swelling in ankles and hands
|Fluid retention, which could indicate a problem
with your circulation|
|Increasingly severe shortness of breath or
coughing||Problems with your heart or valve function or
fluid retention |
|Excessive fatigue, weakness, dizziness, or
fainting||Problems with blood circulation and oxygen supply
to your body parts or arrhythmia|
What you need to do