Aortic Stenosis Surgery: I was... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Aortic Stenosis Surgery


I was diagnosed with Aortic Stenosis 6 months ago and 3 weeks ago I underwent open heart surgery to replace my damaged valve, I was so anxious before surgery ,but it all went well. I am now home and not feeling too great. I became very anaemic and my blood pressure has been very low, I am struggling with lack of energy and shortness of breath when I go for a very short walk!

I would really like to connect to people who have had the same surgery as me and share your feelings.

I am 74, non smoker and non drinker. Thank you

11 Replies

I've been informed I have 'trivial' scarring on my aortic valve and will likely be needing a replacement in ten or so years (I'm 63) - I've saved your post to follow and am replying only to urge you to ring round to either your cardiac nurse or the GP first thing tomorrow morning. They need to know three weeks on you're having the difficulties you're having.

All the very best to you for a better recovery!

Hi I had aortic regurgitation and had a mechanical valve nearly three years ago. In the early days after my op I was up and down with my energy levels. I was told to ring the cardiac ward if I had any concerns. I assume you have been to your GP since you know you are anaemia, but would suggest that you ring the cardiac unit too, as they are obviously more used to dealing with post operative issues than you doctor will be.

I still struggle with breathlessness at times, but that is more to do with my fitness levels than anything else. Unfortunately I also have back and hip problems which makes exercising painful, although I am trying to do some on my good days.

Hope you start to feel better soon, remember it’s a big operation you’ve been through and it will take a while to recover, I know my chest muscles took ages to feel better.


Hidden in reply to Fredders

Hi Wendy,

Thank you for your reply it was very much appreciated and comforting.

I will contact the hospital tomorrow

Kind regards.


francesw47 in reply to Hidden

Hello Drumbeat45

Great name!

I have also had aortic valve replacement and it does take time to fully recover. Be gentle with yourself, but please do go and see your GP if you are not feeling too good. Low blood pressure can make you feel pretty grim (I had low BP for some time post surgery) and should not be taken lightly. Anaemia will also make you feel breathless and the combination of the two may make you feel lightheaded/fatigued. Not an ideal combination for the work of recovery.

Were you asked by the hospital to go and see your GP? The surgery should accommodate a request to be seen, given the nature of the surgery you have had.

We all recover in different ways and take different lengths of time to feel better - cardiac rehab was a welcome diversion and great fun and really helped me to focus on how to get better healthily.

Let us know how you are getting on as you progress, but tomorrow please phone the surgery and make that apt.

3 weeks after they got the medics got their hands on you , they sawed up your breastbone, shoved your collapsed lungs out of the way, hooked you up to a an external pump, stopped your heart and carefully placed a new valve in and then reversed the whole process.

I am 74 and had a valve repair and my heart remodelled when I was 69. After 3 weeks I could walk around the house but not much else. Nice and easy does it, If you work on 3 months to a full recovery you will be about right. I measured my initial recovery in terms of driveways and lampposts and got to know all my neighbours quite well as I continued my slow and gradual recovery.

It takes about ten weeks for your breastbone to recover and knit itself together, and you will then be invited to join a rehab program where the will do a beep test to asses your current fitness and then work you into their fitness program.

If you look under the TOPICS heading on the right hand side of the site you will find more information under the RECOVERY sub heading, so plan on recovering slowly and gently.

Good morning! At least I hope you’re having a good morning but those recovering hearties of us know each day can be so different. I had aortic valve replacement at the end of March after being diagnosed with aortic stenosis. I’m 68 and like you a non smoker and drink very little alcohol. So I’m five months post surgery and am still very aware I am in recovery. My cardiologist told me to allow myself a year for a complete recovery. I have really good days but then my recovery seems to fall flat on its face and I’m back to feeling exhausted and weak the next day. I always try to stay positive as I can see how far I’ve come but when I do get a breathless feeling or am without energy I quickly move into the - oh my god why am I feeling like this syndrome! Gently does it I would say and don’t expect too much of yourself or your poor drained body. But also be a pest to your GP and make sure you get answers to why your feeling like this just in case there is something else they can do to support you. Let us know how you are doing this forum can be a huge help and best of luck.

Hidden in reply to TMeditation

Thank you so much for the repli

Hi I had my aortic valve replacement 2 weeks ago. I’m also anaemic and having a few dizzy spells. I’ve quartered my pain management already and im moving around well but sleeping is not good. I’m off to my gp today to find out what’s going on and will update you later. From what I’ve been told this can be normal. Remember we’ve been through a lot and try not to worry

A little late as I have been away for a few days.

Please don’t worry and stress yourself. I’m 77, a non-smoker and drink very little. I had my aortic valve replaced, with a bovine tissue valve, and a double bypass in May of last year. There were some initial complications which were attended to quickly, but once home things gradually improved.

You do have to listen to your body as everyone says and take things at your own pace, but believe me things will get better. Things do seem to take a bit longer at our age, but a positive attitude helps enormously.

Keep smiling!

Hidden in reply to JayceeW

Hi Joyce,

Thank you so much for your reply,very assuring and appreciated.


Hey Drumbeat45. Congratulations! I'm 51 and had an AVR last December (tissue Edwards Inspiris) and luckily too everything was very straightforward and I'm now very well. Three weeks post-op is still very early - I was in a fog of tiredness for about six or seven though physically (though sore and weak) things just gradually improved. It's not a competition and your body has been through a massive trauma so it will take time. Also the lungs take a battering and so reflating them and getting the airways back to normal can also take time (and even gentle walking will helo but don't overdo it). But if you're concerned perhaps speak to your GP or contact one of the BHF nurses (believe you can do it via this forum)? Very happy to try and help with any specific questions you may have! Good luck with the recovery. Nic xxx

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