Life After Heart Valve Surgery

You don't recover from heart surgery overnight, but you may be amazed by how quickly you feel better, return home, and start pursuing favorite activities. Checkups and monitoring will be part of your recovery. And you may also decide to make other lifestyle changes to improve your overall health.

Daily Living – Heart Valve Repair

Having a heart valve repaired may cause you to think that you need to greatly change your lifestyle. Instead, you will probably feel much better physically with continued improvement several weeks or months after your surgery. As you feel better, you may want to discuss some of this information further with your doctor.

Exercise

You and your doctor will determine which activities are safe for you and which foods and habits to avoid. Tell your doctor if you're experiencing pain or other symptoms.

Travel

After you've recovered, you should be able to enjoy travelling to many of the places you did before your surgery. Remember, however, that certain destinations may harbor bacteria and other microbes that could be dangerous for your heart. Talk with your doctor if you're planning a trip to an exotic or tropical destination.

If you've received an annuloplasty device, it's a good idea to register it. Only mechanical heart valves require registration, but Medtronic offers registration service to all heart valve device patients. After you register, you'll get a free identification card that can tell other people you are someone with an implanted device. This can be important information for medical personnel in case of an emergency.

Dental and Medical Procedures

Tell your dentist or other doctors that care for you about your heart valve surgery. You may have to take antibiotics before getting dental work or even routine cleanings. This is because bacteria can be dislodged from your teeth and travel to your heart valve, causing an infection.

Electromagnetic Compatibility

Your heart valve repair products are completely safe with cell phones, electric toothbrushes, and magnets. None of these items will cause problems with your heart valve repair product.

All heart valve repair products are completely safe with x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations.

It's also safe to go through airport security after your heart valve repair. Airport security systems have no effects on our heart valve repair products. They generally do not activate airport security alarms, depending on the sensitivity of the security system settings.

Daily Living – Heart Valve Replacement

Having a heart valve replaced may cause you to think that you need to greatly change your lifestyle. Instead, you will probably feel much better physically with continued improvement several weeks or months after your surgery. As you feel better, you may want to discuss some of this information further with your doctor.

Exercise

Ask your doctor about what kinds of activities and sports you should avoid. Report any falls, blows to the body or head, or other injuries to your doctor right away.

Travel

After you've recovered, you should be able to enjoy travelling to all the places you did before your surgery. Remember, however, that certain destinations may harbor bacteria and other microbes that could be dangerous for your heart. Talk with your doctor if you're planning a trip to an exotic or tropical destination.

It's a good idea to carry a form of identification (a card, necklace, or bracelet) that says you have an artificial heart valve, in case of emergency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all mechanical heart valves be registered. Medtronic offers free registration service to all heart valve patients regardless of what type of heart valve replacement they have. 

After you register, you'll get a free identification card that tells other people you are someone with an implanted device. This can be important information for medical personnel in case of an emergency.

Dental and Medical Procedures

Tell your dentist or other doctors that care for you about your heart valve surgery. You may have to take antibiotics before getting dental work or even routine cleanings. This is because bacteria can be dislodged from your teeth and travel to your heart valve, causing an infection.

If you're on anti-coagulant (anti-clotting) medication, take special care when shaving and when brushing and flossing your teeth. Use only a soft toothbrush and floss very gently. Use an electric razor rather than a blade.

Electromagnetic Compatibility

Your new heart valve is safe with cell phones, electric toothbrushes, and magnets. None of these items will cause problems with your heart valve product.

All our heart valves are safe with x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations.

It's also safe to go through airport security after your heart valve replacement. Airport security systems have no effect on our heart valves. They should not activate airport security alarms, depending on the sensitivity of the security system setting.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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