Patients who are preparing for a major surgery – like heart valve surgery – are often focused on their most important objective: life. The good news is that heart valve survival rates are incredibly high. If your doctor has recommended you have heart valve surgery, you can and should begin planning now for recovery and wellness after your surgery. Download our helpful checklist now and keep it handy during your preparation.
Here are some common recovery considerations, but of course you should always follow your individual healthcare provider’s instructions, which will be specifically tailored to your needs and precautions.
What should you bring to the hospital?
- Loose fitting pants or shorts. Why?
- They are easier to put on and take off.
- Loose, stretchy pants can accommodate a catheter if needed during recovery.
- Swelling can be common after surgery.
- Hospital gowns do not offer modesty protection and hall-walking is encouraged during recovery.
- Comfortable, slip-on shoes or slippers.
- Women may want to consider a special bra.
- Post surgery bras can be helpful, especially for women who usually need substantial support. Keep in mind that raising your arms overhead may not be permitted or comfortable so consider investing in a special bra with front or shoulder velcro tabs or hooks.
- Something loose and comfortable to wear when it’s time to go home.
- Use our checklist to help you think through:
- Managing home tasks
- Managing self care
- Managing family, work and even pet care routines
How long will my recovery take?
- That can depend; the timetable is unique for each person.
Here’s what one patient had to say about managing her expectations.
As a heart valve surgery patient, you truly do have every reason to be hopeful and positive about your recovery. Most people who have heart valve surgery can expect to return to a full and normal life. And you’re in good company, too.
TV personality Star Jones was shocked to learn in 2010 that she needed open heart surgery to repair a damaged aortic valve. Read her story.
Print our handy pre-surgery checklist: Facing and Recovering from Major Surgery
Additional resources from Adam Pick's blog:
- Traveling Timeline After Heart Surgery
- 5 Things to Do While Your Heart Mends (After Surgery)
- Guest Blog: Jim Talks About Pain, Cardiac Rehab & Mowing Lawns After Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery
This content was last reviewed on 11/15/13.