So i just had open heart surgery

Three weeks ago rather. Had a faulty mitral valve that was not closing correctly. I’m 46.

Anyone care to share their open heart surgery experience and tell me how long it took before you felt 100%?


I did hydro PT with a lovely lady that had a double bypass, and she was in her 3d of 4th month post op and was just starting to feel more human, as she put it.

Apparently when they crack your chest, it takes a fairly long time to feel really solid again, because your breathing flexes your chest and it affects how you feel throughout the healing process.

I had my mitral valve repaired in Dec 08 after a bout with endocarditis. I was 46. Long recovery, but they had me up and around as soon as I was out of ICU. Your sternum will eventually heal.

I feel good. 30 minute walks are easy.

Sternum is still quite sore. I start Cardio rehab tomorrow.

Was your surgery on or off-pump?
I had a double-bypass two years ago, thread here.

It took around 6 months for me to feel 100%. Honestly, in some ways I’ll never be the way I was (I still have a numb area on my left pec, and some scarring that annoys me), but in all other ways I am much, much healthier than I was.

You are lucky that you are young - it’s a lot easier to recover from major surgery when you are young and otherwise healthy.

I’m having my surgery next month . . . replacement of the aortic valve (which I’ve known about for years), plus quadrupal bypass (which I just recently found out I need). I’m lucky I found out I need bypass surgery ahead of time, rather than as an emergency.

Strangely, I’m not feeling any anxiety or fear about the surgery itself, only about the risk of infection.

I hope you continue to improve. What kind of valve replacement are they doing these days? My mom had a faulty mitral valve since at least early childhood. Don’t know if it was from birth or was damaged by strep in the pre-penicillin days. She had a porcine valve put in when she was in her sixties, and it worked quite well for a number of years.

They were able to repair my valve. And I was on pump.

Please keep us apprised of your progress.

Oh, great. You don’t have to worry about a replacement wearing out.

What’s involved in cardio rehab?

And I don’t have to be on blood thinners for the rest of my life!

The main thing they do at first is have you exercise while monitoring your pulse. They are then able to provide you with a exercise program that allows you to work out without putting too much strain on your heart. I now know at what pace I can walk without putting too much stress on my heart.

When I go there again I will walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike while my pulse and blood pressure are monitored.

According to my cardiologist, mechanical valves last only about 5 years, but organic ones outlive the patient. I’ll be getting a bovine valve (from a cow), and I’ll never have to worry about it wearing out.

I was told that animal valves will outlive older patients but that at 46 it was doubtful that it would outlast me.

My mom’s porcine valve failed after several years. It was replaced by a mechanical one (I am not clear as to the reason why) and she died a few days later.