8 weeks off work and now nervous abou... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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8 weeks off work and now nervous about surgery!


Hi everyone,

Hope you are all okay? I have now been off work for 8 weeks with extreme breathlessness, tiredness and chest pain. Finally after a barrage of tests my team have decided that my Mitral Valve needs replacing with a mechanical one.

I have an appointment at the hospital tomorrow and then hopefully surgery in the next 2 weeks.

Although I know I need the surgery doing and part of me wants it so I can get back to living life I am feeling incredibly anxious about it. I am worried about how they will get back in through the metal wire and scar tissue of my previous surgery, I'm worried that my heart might not restart again after bypass, worried that I might reject the valve and worried about how the mechanical valve will sound and feel.

Does anyone here have a metal valve that they can hear? I was told that I might be able to hear it all the time and that other people might be able to hear it as well....? Can you feel it working or is it just like a normal valve that works without us noticing?

I am hoping someone will have answers for me as it is so much better hearing it from someone who has gone through the same thing.

Thanks in advance

Sarah x

4 Replies

Hi Sarah

I had a mechanical aortic valve inserted last November. I haven’t heard of anyone having a problem with rejection after the op. I can’t speak for a mitral valve but I can’t feel the aortic one at all. I can hear it clicking at night when it is very quiet, but I don’t find it intrusive and most of the time it isn’t noticeable. My husband hasn’t heard it at all. I know some people have struggled with the clicking noise but if anything’s no I find it reassuring.

My surgery was a redo, as I had a tissue valve in 2011, so they had to cut through the previous wires in my breastbone but they did a great job of going down the same line as my previous scar, so isn’t any worse than last time. It’s quite normal to be worried about having open heart surgery, I doubt there is anyone on here who wasn’t worried before their op, it’s normal.

There are plenty of us on here who’ve had aortic or mitral valve surgery, some both, so please ask any questions you have, between us we should be able to help you through this.

Best wishes


SarahNeale in reply to Fredders

Thank you so much Wendy.

It’s really good to hear your experiences. I hope that you are doing okay now?

I’m glad to know that they easily cut through the wires in the breast bone. I was worrying about that.

It’s good to think of the clicking sound as reassuring. I hadn’t thought of that. As long as it’s clicking then it’s working. That changes the perspective on it doesn’t it.

Thank you so much for your reply and your support I really appreciate it.

Sarah x

Praying. I’ve had replacement valves often but always a tissue valve. It’s never a nice surgery but worth it.

HI Sarah,

My sister is awaiting mitral valve replacement any day now and we were told today she's on the list,usually within 48 hours as she's had a heparin infusion today and now stopped.I am feeling like you do for my sister and worried sick,I could post when she's had it if it will help,there is a gentleman on her ward who has had aortic valve replaced and I've listened to it,it sounds like a ticking clock,I hope you are doing ok,you can message me anytime I'm looking for the best way to deal with it,we are devastated xx

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