Living with a Mechanical Heart Valve: Click.Tick.Thump. Love It!

Support Group for Mechanical & Artificial Heart Valve Surgery & Using Warfarin

Hello All, 

     Glad to be back on the forums! This is my first post since undergoing the Bentall procedure with a St. Jude aortic valve (29 year old leaky bicuspid valve with gnarly aneurysm). I was postponed about 4 times, like many of you, and I had a couple of re-admits after surgery due to a fever and a devilishly wild INR. Other than those two bumps, my recovery has gone smoothly. I'm back in the gym about 4 times a week (jogging, elliptical, cycling, keeping my heart rate under 130-140bpm with a Timex Ironman monitor) and hope to be lifting weights in a few weeks. 

     Recently, I've developed some interesting, infrequent symptoms. I had a conversation with my doctor (via email) and he doesn't seem to be very alarmed. We're going to talk about it in greater detail during my next followup but he said not to worry unless it gets worse.

     I'm interested to know if anyone has felt the same symptoms between 4-10 weeks of recovery  (I take 9mg of Warfarin once a week and 7mg every other day):

1) Dull pain in the kidney area, shoulder/trap area and forearm to hand

       - Strange, dull, cramp-like pain. The pain comes in waves and lasts for about 15 minutes. Doesn't seem to be muscle related or triggered by any apparent catalyst.  

2) Numbness/pins and needles in finger tips and face

        - Numb feeling on fingertips or random spots on my hands. Same feeling on my face. Usually concentrated around my lips.  

3) Brief light dizzy spells/vertigo

        - Only encountered two of these so far. They lasted about 5-10 minutes. Not accompanied by any other issues (no nausea, light headedness, tunnel vision).

4) Frequent visual disturbances optical/occular migraines (painless)   

         - I've always had optical migraines but now I have them much more frequently and they come and go much faster than usual. They start as a small flashing disturbance in my field of view and grow over time until they suddenly disappear. 

Looking forward to your insight.

 

 

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Hi I had my aortic valve etc done nearly 5 months ago and I am back training fully - had to start afresh but thats all part of the challenge! I did experience the latter symtons - a bit light headedness and the visual stuff, I think it's down to getting your breathing right and remembering that the heart muscle is stil recovering from the truma. These have now faded - sometimes if I jump up to quickly I do get little of the light headedness but I am banking on this fading in time.

 

I can't remember getting the cramp or numbness but your body is recovering from a pretty big shock so aches and pains can't be a big surprise.

 

Good Luck

Hello,

Interesting to hear about your symptoms..I haven't had my op yet but I sometimes get these symptoms from time to time..especially the optical migraine and the dull cramp like pain..which happens mainly in my back arms and legs!

Sorry I have no answers but maybe it'll help a little knowing that there are others too that feel the same?

Best wishes for you recovery,

Neil



Mark Logan said:

Hi I had my aortic valve etc done nearly 5 months ago and I am back training fully - had to start afresh but thats all part of the challenge! I did experience the latter symtons - a bit light headedness and the visual stuff, I think it's down to getting your breathing right and remembering that the heart muscle is stil recovering from the truma. These have now faded - sometimes if I jump up to quickly I do get little of the light headedness but I am banking on this fading in time.

 

I can't remember getting the cramp or numbness but your body is recovering from a pretty big shock so aches and pains can't be a big surprise.

 

Good Luck

Hi bobby,

I too, had the Bentalls procedure and replacement aortic valve 3 weeks ago & so far I've been ok apart from going back in to hospital with an irregular heart rate last week, but was in & out on the same day (missed the Olympics closing ceremony though!)

Overall it's a pretty stressful situation to be in but after what we've been through, the only way is up, surely!

I think I might be overdoing it a bit, as at times I feel really good but then go out walking about 3km and climbing lots of stairs etc, and feel wiped out with some pains & general fatigue. From what I know from reading this site I think these are the sort of symptoms I should expect & need to slow down a bit. 

I too have been getting the visual disturbances for years. I used to get them about 3 times a year but since the endocarditis in may & finding out about all this they have been more frequent, about once a week. I told my doctor & he recommended to see an optician. The optician said my eyes were fine apart from a small resolving haemorrhage (a symptom of heart problems!) and said it was most likely visual migraines. 

I am also getting pains in my upper back & traps. All sound familiar?!

I'm also certainly getting dizzy & lightheaded, although they've doubled my beta blocker due to the irregular heart rate last week & I'm also on a blood pressure lowering med as well so i was just advised to drink lots to keep my BP up until my body adjusts or the cardiologist tells me can maybe reduce some of my meds. 

Keep well,

Ross
Hi, I'm pre op but I've experienced light headedness and visual disturbances, I also get all sorts of aches in my chest area and also in my triceps ( I wouldn't go as far as call them pains ).
I put the light headedness down the Lisinopril that I'm on.
Gary
Ross - the ache's and pains you are getting are common post op and are down to the fact you have been on the operating table and pushed and pulled all over the place as part of the procedure. These go away in time. I used to get a trapped nerve feeling in my neck but after 2-3 months that went away completely.

You might start to get a tingling sensation in your chest around the scar at about 6 weeks. That is when the nerve endings start to reconnect and recover so nothing to worry about but is a bit of a shock the first time it happens. That too goes away.

Take it easy.

Hi there, I have had these symptoms come and go as well, have had all the tests known to mankind, TOE echo, EPS study, stress echo, etc and found nothing.  I had my medtronic hall valve implanted 13years ago when I was 25yo.  To date I run half marathons and participate in Olympic distance triathlons.  My HR ranges from 140 to 160BPM during these events which is 70-85% MHR, havent had any issues whatsoever.  Re the dizzy spells they occur now and then, my cardiologist only said he needs to intervene if I actually pass out, that hasnt happen so he isn't overly concerned.  The concerning part is it the dizzy spells happen when I am driving!  They usually last for a couple of seconds and when I am over-tired so this shouldnt occur when driving anyway.  I have lost peripheral vision in my left eye as a result of a small fibrous clot the opthamologist said probably was a result of the valve.  My vision has adapted to this and my central vision has not been impacted, was a lucky escape there.  My cardiologist advised me to ensure my INR is between 3.0-3.5 now instead of 2.5-3.5 as it did go low (2.0) on occasions.  I self manage my INR at home with a Coaguchek and test every week to ensure the range is maintained.  The end of the day I live life as I wish however always listen to my body and if I feel if any symptoms needs follow up I raise these with my cardiologist at our annual reviews.  I am sure you will have a long, healthy and happy life ahead!  Cheers

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