Newbie to the world of Aortic Root Re... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Newbie to the world of Aortic Root Replacement


Soon to be 50 I have just been diagnosed with a diluted aortic root and ascending aorta and is at a level where I have been recommended surgery. So I am to have an aortic root replacement with mechanical valve and a hemiarch replacement. This to take place in 4 weeks time. Holy moly what a great start to my 50th year! It has been a complete shock as I am normally fit and healthy and this was only diagnosed after my GP discovered an irregular heartbeat and sent me for a scan ‘just to be on the safe side’. Anyway thank god for that GP. I am now an emotional wreck, up and down like a yo-yo but optimistic for a healthy future ahead, despite the having to take warfarin for the rest of my life.

I wandered firstly is there any tips on what I should take into hospital with me and how to prepare for coming home. Would love your advice.

4 Replies

Hi, welcome to our world!!! I had my first heart surgery at 52 - AVR and aortic root wrap. My first step was to get hold of the BHF booklets on heart valves and surgery, I found them very helpful.

As far as stuff to take in, nightwear, washing stuff, comfy clothes (they’ll have you out of bed the day after surgery and it’s nice to get into normal clothes), I had loose t-shirts and leisure bottoms. Earplugs - some hospitals do offer them to patients, but I took my own in and found them essential for having a fighting chance of getting any sleep, just warn the night shift nurses 😜. If you’re a woman (sorry, not sure from your post) get some comfortable unwired bras.

I took in my Kindle and some puzzle books, but you may find immediately after your op that your concentration is shot, don’t worry it does improve.

As far as coming home is concerned, you will need someone with you for the first week. Get a v-shaped pillow for your bed, helps replicate the hospital bed, as lying flat is uncomfortable to start with. Take naps when you need them. Also no heroics, take the painkillers as you won’t want to do the necessary moving if you’re in pain, you can reduce them as you recover.

I had my second AVR last year and now have a mechanical valve too. Check with your clinic whether they support home testing, much easier than having to go to the clinic, particularly if you work. I had to buy my machine, lancets and testing strips but it is a bit of a postcode lottery whether you can get any help with the cost of them.

Please ask any questions you have as there are plenty of us on here who’ve been through the surgery and come out the other side. Also scroll through the posts and you’ll find a lot of useful tips.


pointer68 in reply to Fredders

Thank you so much for your swift reply and kind words of advice. There is so much to take in and to get organised. There is lots of info on here so I am pleased to have joined this community. It’s good to talk to people who have gone through the same procedure so thank you again and I’ll keep posting my progress.

Catherine (pointer was the breed of my dog 😁)

Hey Pointer68. Just to say welcome! I'm 50, congenital aortic stenosis and due for AVR in November (going tissue I think) so can't give much practical advice beyond Wendy's excellent suggestions. But use this site. It's really helpful. It is all scary and shite but is what it is. For AVR check out ticktock61. He's just been through and is recovering and did a really helpful blow by blow account. But good luck. The shock does get easier. But hope it all works out for you. Nic

pointer68 in reply to Nic25

Thanks for your kind words Nic. Hope everything goes well for you too. I will keep an eye out for your progress and I’ll check out ticktock61. Thank you Catherine

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