British Heart Foundation
6,436 members4,018 posts

Hello all

Hi everyone, my name is Phil. I have signed up as I am due a valve replacement operation next week. Naturally I am petrified and have a lot of questions. Please bare with me. Thanks

34 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi Phil, welcome.

Completely understandable that you'd have fears and questions ahead of your op. Let us know if we can help at all - our team are here and know their stuff!

2 likes
Reply

Morning Phil, welcome to the forum, natural to be scared that is normal, lots of information here bhf.org.uk/heart-health/tre... and here, bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-ma...

Ask away, we have a lot of members with similar here, lots of practical and very helpful information

2 likes
Reply

Hi Phil, You are in good company here! I know how you are feeling as I'm having my mitral valve replaced/ repaired next week too! I go between laughing it off to absolute dread and wonder what I will be like in hospital beforehand. It's occupied my everyday for the last 10 months and although it will be great to get it done and move on I'm dreading the convalescence. I will be disappointed if I don't bounce back quickly and the thought of being depressed, which I understand can happen, worries me. I'm keeping myself very busy this week and avoiding people who will give me daft advice or say daft things. I'm thinking if I can go through the op I can do anything and as soon as I've recovered I jolly well will do!!!

5 likes
Reply

Shopgirl, you will be just fine, wander round the wards make a nuisance of yourself as most people in are too shy to even say hi, you'll be amazed at some of the characters. The nurses, most are great, the ancillary staff kept me in stitches and the doctors well, full of details, far too much in some cases!

3 likes
Reply

Thank you Skid! I will do. My biggest dread is having my sternum cut and that's my biggest fear and hard to talk about. It seems a bit brutal but I have been told it's not half as bad as my fears and this time next week it'll be done! I really do appreciate your advice and this forum as it's really kept me on the straight and narrow the last few weeks. X

Reply

I can't think of anything to say to allay that fear, mine was not waking up! if its any consolation I think my sternum looks better now than it did before, it looks and sounds far worse and from what I have seen and heard they do take care with the wound to avoid excess scarring

1 like
Reply

Yes I agree, I thought the scar would be horrendous, but I am quite proud of my war wound. They have done a fab job.

Hello Phil & Shopgirl. I know it is easy to say try not to worry now my bypass is over. But really I didn't tell anyone I was a bit frightened of the outcome.

I wasn't scared of not surviving the opp, I was scared of my sternum being ripped apart & the scar, but there wad no need.

Yes of course there was some discomfort, but it soon gets easier. And at the end of the day, it has got to give you a better outcome than you have today.

I wished I knew about this forum before my opp. I am sure it would have helped me relax more.

Thinking of you both, looking forward to hearing from both of you after your opps.

Hugs Jo 😆

2 likes
Reply

So I go in the Brompton on the 13th and op is on the 14th. I just don't know what to expect. I'm worried about the op, my family, my job.

Reply

Hi firstly the job can wait. You have to worry about yourself. Admission 13th, take something to read, maybe a tablet with a good film on it as im guessing you won't feel like sleep. Talk to the nurses and the doctors too, see if they can give you a sedative to help you. 14th will fly by you'll be out, woken and into recovery from there it gets better as will you. Its not easy but many will tell you, you will recover.

2 likes
Reply

Work is incidental, family have a great capacity to care and compensate and the operation is designed to improve the situation. The hardest thing we do is put our lives in the hands of others, Brompton is a great place and you will be in good hands.

1 like
Reply

Welcome, Phil, and well done for seeking the forum out, a great step towards preparing yourself for the operation. There are lots of folks around here who have been through something similar, who I'm sure will be more than happy to chat about any concerns you have over the next week or so. Wishing you luck and a speedy recovery when the time comes.

Reply

Thanks everyone. So does anyone know how long before family can see me after the operation?

Reply

In my case it was the same day, but I had triple bypass so they came the second day. I didn't want them to come and we discussed this with surgical team before hand.

Reply

In Aberdeen family are allowed to see you in intensive care, a matter of hours after the op. Both my husband and I have had valve replacements. In my case the family were there when I woke up. Very comforting! My husband didn't wake until well into the night, but we had been in while he was unconscious and returned next day.

Reply

My wife came the following evening, I have little but vague recollections of it.

Reply

How soon did any of you return to work? I'm office based and sometimes work from home which is handy.

Reply

12 weeks for me, office based as well, did a staggered return, over 7 or 8 weeks. Hours reduced, from an average of at least 12 to 9 and work from home at least once a week.

Reply

Thanks Skid, seems a daft question now to be honest but my mood swings are all over the place. Sorry.

Reply

No need to apologise, been there and still doing that with the mood swings. Most on here will have as well

Reply

Hi I've just joined, my name is Karen and 5 weeks ago tomorrow I had surgery to replace my aorta valve, never had any problems with my heart, so it was a great shock after passing out and the next day being sent for tests to be told I will need open heart surgery, it was nothing I'd done regarding my health a small birth defect, and 4 days before my 57th birthday it decided it had had enough lol. I wasn't allowed home and stayed in hospital for 2weeks having tests etc while I waited to be but on the list at Southampton hospital, on the 03/08/2017 I had my operation.

Yes it is the most scared I've ever been, so much information to take in while still trying to get your head around it. But the staff and everyone involved were brilliant, I remember laughing as they took me down to theatre, those pre meds are great, the op took 7 hrs and I came round mid morning the next day, I felt great just really thirsty, they took the main drain out, fitted me with my posthorax vest, I was doing so well that I was moved straight to a ward, the next day I walked to the bathroom, on the 09/08/17 I went home. Home truths: keep the vest on, don't use your arms, sleep sitting up, you will feel depressed, find it hard to sleep, I got some sleeping tablets helped a lot, I've got a few issues, had chest infection, drainage hole won't heal, and I already had an under active thyroid which has gone a bit hay wire but it will all get sorted. The value was tissue which is brilliant no warfarin, and when it needs replacing in 15yrs or so time it's done by angiogram. After speaking with others it will take a good 12 months, there are times when you will feel like c**p and really low, but we are alive thanks to our brilliant NHS, amazing technology and research done by BHF.

So be brave, it's got to be done, don't loose your sense of humour that's what got me through it and family support. From someone who's just been there and got the tee shirt 👚 you will be fine.

,

1 like
Reply

Thanks for sharing Karen and welcome to the forum. Your issues will clear it still early days but seems like you've read a lot and spoken to a lot of people. Please keep us updated, start your own thread we all love to hear and love to offer our own experiences and advice

Take care

Reply

Hi Karen

Like you I had no idea I had a heart problem (I'm 66) until I went into hospital to have an operation on my hand six weeks ago and was told I had a heart murmur. I will probably need a repair or replacement mitral valve.

I had a TOE at Southampton General this week and am waiting for the results. Which doctor are you under?

Reply

Hi Sue I was under Mr Barlows team in Southampton,and Mr Steadman in Poole where i live.

Can't speak highly enough about Southampton.

I also had a operation on my Achilles in Feb 17, but my murmur was never pick up, and the Doctors can't understand how it was missed

As it was on the loud side.

Wishing you speedy recovery.

Reply

Thanks Karen. I'm not sure who I'll be seeing as I was referred by Dr Simpson at the Nuffield which was where I was supposed to be having my hand op done. I live on the Isle of Wight.

Reply

Useful info about what to expect post op. I'm anxious about my kids 7 and 9 seeing when I'm not feeling to chipper so wanting to know what coming so we can all be prepared!

Reply

Hi Patra yes you will feel low and tearful, but the difference is you know why you feel like that, which is different from feeling depressed and not knowing why, so you are able to cope with the feelings a lot better. Don't be hard on yourself and if you want to cry and be frustrated give into it, I found a good cry gave me the strength to pull myself together and I felt better. I explained to my family that if I'm a bit short with them or having a low day it's nothing they have done it's a side effect of what's happen, and a cuddle is sometimes all you need and being allowed to cry and vent your feelings, then it doesn't last for long

And you feel stronger and able to cope. So if you explain to your kids from the start in a way that they will understand that sometimes mommy will feel sad, but it's nothing for them to worry about it's just part of the healing and it won't last forever,and when you are fully recovered they will have a mommy with more energy, happy and well and a kiss and a cuddle from them on your low days will be better than any medicine. I wish you well, you will be fine take care

Reply

Hi.

I'm having heart surgery next week too. For an atrial septal defect. It was cancelled a couple of weeks ago.

I found a free app for my phone called headspace has helped me focus my anxieties about it into feeling more settled.

Give it ago!

I hope it goes well x

1 like
Reply

So just had my pre op angio thingy. Was not sure if it was going to happen as they picked up a chest infection yesterday. However it's done now. Surgery is booked for the 14 th but that now depends on the chest infection clearing. Fingers crossed

Reply

Hope it goes well

Reply

Sadly postponed

Reply

Sorry to hear that, have you got a new date?

Reply

Hi Phil! Welcome! It's only natural to be petrified. I was 28 when I had my aortic valve replaced (5yrs ago now) and I remember I wasn't too scared knowing I had to have it done because I was always told from baby it will need replacing so I knew it was coming. I went away the week before with my fiancé at the time. Then had it on the Monday I was first one down. I was sitting up that evening in intensive care. And never looked back, I've had a baby since and now pregnant with my 2nd due at Christmas. If I fell pregnant before I had it done I wouldn't be here now. Take each day as it comes, I remember being scared the night before and then right before and then. In no time I was awake with my family there staring at me lol! It really isn't as bad as you think it will be. Honestly you will be absolutely fine and your in great hands :-) report back once your feeling up for it. There's lots of people here to support you all the way :-). Good luck

1 like
Reply

what a fabulously happy tale, thank you for sharing

Reply

Thanks so much. Just waiting for the date now

Reply

You may also like...