Post-AVR swelling: Hi all, I am On day... - British Heart Fou...

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Post-AVR swelling


Hi all,

I am

On day 4 post AVR surgery, had some issues when I came out of surgery and they had to take me back in within 45 mins to open me up again and drains again. Unfortunately, ever sincer I remember that bloody evening as I remember then taking out my oxygen tubes and discussing my case, which was scary but they put me to sleep after.

To be honest, I was in ICU for 2 days after and was more or less out of it, threw up everything I ever ate, was in a ridiculous amount of pain, can’t remember much, all the fun stuff, but I started getting better yesterday in HDU. Managed to have a quarter of my meals without throwing up - yay for me!

Now I know this is a little issue compared to the op, but when did other people’s swelling started going down? I can’t recognise my elbows and knees and legs and fingers and anything and I am walking funny because of it and even if I am losing loads of liquids and drink loads and they give me loads of electrolytes apparently it will still take a while, and right now it freaks me out because I am completely deformed and can’t reslly move - even as little as I have to - the way I know.

Thanks for the feedback!!


4 Replies

Hi Cristina, firstly I'm sorry that you've had such a horrible time and I hope you start feeling much better soon.

I'm still in the 'we're going to operate but we don't know when stage ' for a leaky mitral valve, but I've read a lot about valve surgery, because I like to know everything!

Fluid retention seems to be a common problem after valve surgery; once your heart starts pumping properly it will improve and they will probably give you diuretics so you'll be weeing for England. I've seen reports of weight increases of 21 lbs! As to when it will go I think that's the how long is a piece of string question and everyone is different.

I've had some fluid retention after other surgeries so I know it's really uncomfortable.

Do make sure you have some loose clothes and shoes to go home in!

This answer may not be much help, but hopefully at least provides some moral support!

cristinap in reply to marypw

Hi Mary,

I had an increase of almost 30 lbs, I couldn’t even distinguish my knees from the rest of the leg which turned from very funny to very worrying very quickly! Thank you for the reassuring message, I did see the doctor this morning and he mentioned they will keeps on giving me meds to help release the fluids so fingers crossed :)

Thanks again!


Mary_Janet in reply to cristinap

Hi Mary,

I had AVR last May , I did not have the surgical complications that you did but as I had endocarditis my recovery was much slower than people having more routine surgery.

I , like you gained a massive amount of fluid, and was glad I had been advised to take off my wedding ring. I gained at least 6 kg of fluid and remember being very puffy and swollen. My sister did not recognise me three days post op my daughter reckons that I looked like her granny!

I remember being on large dosage of medicines and the fluid gradually left. It is really important that the fluid comes off slowly as it is dangerous if it comes off too quickly. I also remember being on daily weights for sometime. As well as giving you diuretic tablets to help remove the water at the same time you will loose important electrolytes like potassium which needs to be replaced. It's a very fine balancing act that is important to correct safely. As your condition improves and your heart pumps more strongly the fluid levels will gradually go. Moving around however slowly helps. You will get there but I am afraid it will take time. As you have had two major operations try not to compare your progress with people who come in and don't have the problems that you have had. The sickness is horrid and again will pass. Small meals and try having wee snacks in between, as your visitors to bring in snacks that you like.

Recovery is a marathon not a sprint and you will get there.


cristinap in reply to marypw

Just an update 2 weeks after my AVR, happy to say that I lost all the extra fluid gained in over a week from the surgery so now I don’t have to take the water tablets! Yay!

Thank you for the lovely messages and the support!


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