Sore sternum 10 weeks post op - British Heart Fou...

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Sore sternum 10 weeks post op

Janemags profile image


I'm 10 weeks post heart op and my sternum still feels sore, especially at night, and my lung capacity still feels a lot less than it was. I will mention it at cardio rehab but wondered if I'm just being impatient to improve?! I've been walking a lot, which seems to make ribs worse, and I didn't think that would affect them. Any advice?

19 Replies

Hi Jane I'm 16 weeks post op and my sternum is still sore been advised to try bio oil. As for your breathing be patient you've just had major surgery.

Janemags profile image
Janemags in reply to Ravaging

Thanks, was thinking of getting bio oil anyway as it's supposed to help the scar become less obvious.

skid112 profile image
skid112Heart Star

Hi there, still early at ten weeks. The walking and the rehab will be helping and yes it could be a reason why it's worse as any exercise is likely to jar your whole body.

Try some breathing exercise, breathe in for say 3 seconds to start old it for 2 then breath out for 5 seconds, really try and empty your lungs. Do this sitting down a couple of times a week and gradually built the time up to 8 seconds in and 11 out, also gradually increase the number you do it but start slowly.

Good luck


Janemags profile image
Janemags in reply to skid112

Thanks Mark, will do!

Hi Jane, I am 19 weeks post bypass and still have some soreness especially if I lay on my right side at night. I like you want the pain and discomfort to go away but I think its a slow process and I read somewhere that it can take up to two years to feel perfectly 'normal'. Patience is not my thing! Have you seen your cardiologist? When I left hospital I had a certain amount of fluid on my lungs. I had an xray at around 8 weeks and my cardiologist said it was all now clear. The cardio rehab team should be able to advise. Best of luck x

Janemags profile image
Janemags in reply to wiltsgirl

Thanks Wiltsgirl, think I've just got to be patient for the sternum to get better. As far as the lungs are concerned, I did get sepsis after initial post surgery and had 1.5 litres of effusion drained from around my heart. Felt like my lungs were flat as pancakes and they still feel a little like that. I've had several scans since and it is clearing up. Don't start cardio rehab until 14th (GP surgery didn't pass my notes on, so fell through the net). I'm sure that will help, but trying to continue deep breathing and walking in the meantime.

wiltsgirl profile image
wiltsgirl in reply to Janemags

Sounds like you had a tough time, wishing you all the best and rehab hopefully will help,xx

Janemags profile image
Janemags in reply to wiltsgirl

Thanks for your kind words I'm sure cardio will make a big difference xx

Hi there

I done triple by pass operation 14 weeks ago but you believe me you will get better takes times I am returning work last week light duties another 3 months

Give a least 1 year you should get better

Good luck

Thank you - hope work's not wearing you out too much! I start back on light duties too, next week.

I am just doing office work at the moment or post inspection property. But very hot weather not good for us making me very quick tired. So watch hot weather and drink plenty of water.

I am also joined gym exercises good for you

I’ve never found any issues with walking a lot but my body is used to it even wen i get soreness or breathing issues. I can had issues wen chilling and wen walking before. As if it’s going to come wen it wants watever I’m doing.

Janemags profile image
Janemags in reply to gal4God

True, I had a day resting yesterday, and was just as sore as I was when walking a lot. Think I should just get back on full dose of paracetamol instead of just night an d morning and that'll help!

Good advice about taking deep breaths and a much walking as you can manage

Rehab will defo hep with giving you confidence knowing what you can and can’t do

I too had a few issues with my lungs and liver after AVR and bypass 4 months ago and lungs still feels a little crackly but now turned a corner and sternum has started to feel more normal as the swelling has gone down and scar is healing well and for the first time able to sleep on left side to painful on right coz of bypass

You’ll be amazed how as the weeks go by how you improve I thought at one stage it never was going too but

Onward and upwards and good luck

Janemags profile image
Janemags in reply to Wigg2

Thanks Wigg, that's encouraging to hear. Glad you're on the mend after your complications!

I am 10 werks after surgury too.sleeping is the big issue for me currently. If i get 4 hours in one go thats good, and very stiff when i wake up

I had first rehab last week and felt fine after but the next day was spent on sofa as no energy. My sick note runs out in 2 weeks so i think another 4 week block needed then back to work on hopefully reduced hours

Janemags profile image
Janemags in reply to gandrdixon

If it's any consolation I turned a corner a few weeks after posting that question. I guess time is the great healer, as they say. Still get a bit twingey but I suppose that'll pass in time too. My first rehab class wore me out too, and even yesterday I came home from rehab and slept for 3 hours! Guess I just needed it. Hope you get a decent sleep soon, just make sure you make yourself as comfy as possible. All the best!

Hidden profile image

I just posted this to someone else so will copy it here for you: -

Just as the other three responses, I had a triple heart bypass in June last year and my whole left breast area (sounds weird using that mane, but what can one do?) is quite numb - and I mean it feels like someone else's and am told it will not get better for behind that area is where one of the arteries were harvested from for the operation. It tingles, a cover of clothing can feel sensitive or uncomfortable. The area of the scar and below, especially right in the middle, can give an ache feeling especially if I do too much and look at it as my early warning to tell me not to be so stupid and slow down or to take two trips - I'm trying too hard! So your husband has nothing to worry about and looking forward, he should view his feelings as a "good to know" feeling and is telling us all to just take a minute, remember where we have been and to thank our God for being so good to us. I keep banging on about this but whilst in hospital did you not see British Heart Foundation booklets on "Before, During and After" heart surgery. These booklets go through everything one might need to know or ask about to alleviate all fears. All is not lost, when he begins his rehab sessions at the hospital, gather up the booklets and keep them - they are really worth their weight in gold and have referred to mine many times. I even believe they can be downloaded too. Good luck to hubby for the future - he is well on the road to recovery but he still cant do the hoovering! Thats a long job and could take years before he is fully recovered to be able to do that one. My wife is looking forward to that time - about 2026 I am hoping...................................:-)

Janemags profile image
Janemags in reply to Hidden

My right breast was completely numb for months too but is now completely normal. Unlike my right knee which has never recovered feeling from being numbed by those pesky hospital white socks! Good luck with your recovery, its slow process but you'll get there in the end.

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