palpitations 2 weeks post op - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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palpitations 2 weeks post op


Hello, I am new here. My husband had open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve two weeks ago. He came home after 5 days and he is progressing nicely. Our only slight concern is the occasional bouts of irregular heart rhythm he experiences. They don't last long and they are not very often but they are still a bit unnerving. Is this a normal side effect after this procedure? Many thanks.

12 Replies
MichaelJHHeart Star

Hello and welcome to the forum! Atrail Fibrillation occurs in a number of cases post OHS. As it is getting late I would ring 111 for advice to be on the safe side.

I had occasional palpitations after my AVR ops, guess it’s not surprising when you think what the heart has been through. If they carry on give the cardio ward a ring. Mine were very helpful if I had any queries.


I was prescribed Amiodarone after heart surgery to normalise an occasional uneven heart beat. I understand it's very common after heart surgery, but generally disappears after a few weeks. I was initially quite concerned as Atrial Fibrillation can mean a higher risk of a stroke, but time and the medication did their stuff and the problems disappeared.

If you're anxious at all I wouldn't hesitate to seek advice, there's no shortage of possible solutions for this in the medical tool box.

All the best!

Thank you for your replies. We are not too anxious and my husband feels well generally. We will keep a note of how often this happens and when, but feel better knowing that this can happen.

Handel in reply to Lupin62

Hubby had atrial fibrillation and like Chappychap, was given a course of Amiodarone (1 3times a day for a week, 1 twice a day for a week and just one a day thereafter. I guess he's on these until his 6 week review but a cardio nurse checked on him and is pulse rate is now strong and steady.

Contact the cardio unit to get this sorted out. Good luck and all the best xxx

I had arrhythmia 5 weeks after OHS diagnosed with paroxysmal Af. Which I did not have before. Medication sorted it please see a doctor.

Irregular heart rhythm could be atrial fibrillation. Presumably you were either given a number to call or a health visitor will be scheduled to visit you. I would certainly bring this to their attention. It can be corrected either with drugs or with surgical procedures. Best to mention it now though. If concerned about anything, the doctors expect to hear from you. Don’t worry alone.

I had AVR 7 weeks ago and on day 3 or 4 had palpitations and SVT. I was told it happens in about a third of patients as the heart doesn’t like being handled! I was put on Amiodorone eventually for a four weeks (it’s not a nice drug) but it did the trick. It takes a few weeks for everything to settle down but I would definitely let your husbands team know.

Good luck - it all takes time to settle!


Lupin62 in reply to Alison1960

Thanks Alison, that reminds me. Hubby was told that when he had an episode 3 days post op.

granniea in reply to Alison1960

Thanks for this Alison. My husband is due to have his Aortic valve replacement in the next month or so. I am terribly nervous about it all. What side effects did you have with your medication?

My hubby developed AF after his surgery. Please seek medical advice ASAP. AF allows blood to pool in the chambers and form clots which then can lead to a stroke. Easy solution to prevent this a blood thinner that your doc should prescribe.

If AF persists there is medication to help. Amiodarone is one but it has some nasty side effects if used long term. There are some new drugs that are available that are safer. Your doc will know. Other procedures are CardioVersion which is fairly non invasive - paddles to the heart to shock it back into rhythm. Not always successful for the long term. Ablation which has a very high degree of success but typically requires 2 procedure. The good news is AF won’t kill you unless you are not on a blood thinner. It will make you very tired in that when you are in AF it’s like you are running a sprint or a 24/7 marathon if it’s persistent AF. It’s also good news that your husband can identify that his heart is racing. Some AF patients have no symptoms. My hubby had the later and it was only picked up at cardio rehab. The ultimate solution for my husband was a pacemaker but if you once are diagnosed with AF you will be on a blood thinner for life. My hubby due to his CHF is on warfarin which needs INR monitoring but the newer drugs don’t require monitoring.

Also, caffeine and alcohol can aggravate or even jump start the AF.

All the Best from Across the Pond

Thank you all. Well, hubby had a two very short bouts of chest pain in the night so I called an ambulance. Paramedic noted AF briefly, but nothing since. This happened once shortly after his op too. Taken to hospital and all the checks showed that the heart was good and strong. They think the pain, (short and sharp) was probably caused by the op. ECG's and Echo's all good. One problem is his BP which is low since the op. They were happy for him to come home and the GP will review BP and meds on Monday. Hubby feels well and the AF has been noted but they are not worried at the moment.

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