Aortic valve replacement: I had AVR... - British Heart Fou...

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Aortic valve replacement


I had AVR 3 weeks ago and I am having problems with taste, anything I eat tastes rotten and have no appetite. my op was 10 hours I had an AVR done 6 years ago in Spain and was a complete mess, hence the 10 hour op to redo.

Has any one else had this problem with taste and appetite, how long dose it last, really getting me down.

10 Replies

Hi there Benson,

That sounds like your operation was a marathon. I too have had an AVR, I had mine last May. My condition was complex as I had endocarditis ,my treatment included eight weeks of antibiotics. A mixture of infection, surgery and antibiotics meant that I had limited appetite and most food tasted like cotton wool. By the time I was eventually discharged I had lost two stone in weight. My hospital stay was nine weeks in total.

I found that breakfast was my best meal, I normally just eat cereal and fruit but added in a roll and jam. I was only able to eat small meals. I remember looking at the food and just picking at it, I normally hate food waste and love food.

I had to really work hard to eat anything at all. Breakfast seemed to be my best meal so I added a roll to my usual cereal. If I had had the option I would of lived on fruit. Try serving your meals on small plates, have a wee portion and don't worry if you don't finish it, but if you are hungry you can have more. Try splitting your meal ie at lunchtime have your first course at 1 pm and your pudding at 3pm. Also eat smart, eat every couple of hours eg a slice of toast with peanut butter, an egg, a handful of nuts. Make sure that you drink and don't get dehydrated. I could not take my normal tea but managed peppermint tea or juices .

I am sure your appetite will come back but you will have to work at it. Having a bad taste is horrid , check that you tongue is not coated, if it is you may have thrush.

When you are recovering from such a major operation you really feel that eating is so important and everyone worries if you are not eating but you will get there. If someone is going for you ask for anything that you fancy .

Good luck and hope this helps a wee bit.

Best wishes


im 12 weeks after my avr and still not much of a appetite ive been like it since the operation


Hello there - usually issues with your taste buds are to do with taking new medications after surgery rather than the surgery itself. It might be worth chatting to your GP or pharmacist about which drugs could be causing this and if there are any alternatives

Hi I’m 7months Post op from my AVR and my taste buds have changed, things I use to love like green beans, broccoli, taste so bitter now. For the first few weeks after my op I lived on ice cream. Don’t worry 😉 some of my taste buds have returned and chocolate still on the list 😂 wishing you a speedy recovery.


I had mitral valve 4 weeks ago things still taste weird but beginning to get my appetite back a little. Lost 8lbs while in hospital and just recovering from a chest infection which has put me back a little so hoping over time things will pick up

I’ve had two AVR operations and both times I found food tasteless and went off shay used to be my favourite foods. I was told that the anaesthetic can affect your tastebuds for several months afterwards and I think last time it took about six months for me, I am only three months in this time and I still can’t eat much in one go and am still off my old favourites. It will get better.


Loss of appetite is actually quite common. Post op, I think many of us eat because we know we have to rather than because it tastes great. For me the whole thing lasted about a week - so a lot less than your current 3. I guess this is something that varies a bit between individuals. The drugs may also be having an impact. You should be able to find out if any of your meds are associated with reports of taste issues (this is one of the few areas where I'd recommend Google to do some research). If you find anything in that, then go and see your GP.

Coming back to my experience, I found I needed something fairly spicy to kick start my taste buds - I went for a favourite almost because it gave me a frame of reference (i.e. I knew what it should taste like).

Keep with it, and keep trying things. It'll all come back eventually.


in reply to stevejb1810

I agree, I couldn't eat a thing in hospital because I couldn't taste and it looks like I've got to go through it all again.

I totally went off food after my avr. I am seven weeks post op and only just beginning to taste food. I lost so much weight I was put on a disgusting thickening powder and a fork mashable diet.

I lived on weetabix and tinned fruit. Not the best diet.

Still have a small Appetite but went out with friends and managed a starter and a sweet.

So it does get better. My food at home is still quite bland but I am sure you will find an improvement as time goes on.

I really want a Chinese or a curry. But from now on it is healthy eating

start of week 4, very tired today and find that I feel a bit breathless in the evening when i'm tired, how long before I start feeling a bit more normal.

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