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

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

Is it ever! - But I love it! YOUR thoughts and experiences in this discussion..how it affects you, your partner, sleeping with a mechanical heart valve, questions - any other points? Put it all down here!

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Hey Karen

too funny! If the noise really gets to him i suggest you get a memory foam topper for your mattress (we have a a 2 inch version) as it blots up a lot of the vibration/sound of the tick click thump and my wife hardly hears a thing now... but as we say 'if it's a tickin' alls well with the world..

cheers

Graeme

karen berriman said:
my husband has now started useing headphones to sleep if anything it has made me laugh so much it does not bother me anymore at first i wasnt to sure but i find it relaxing my husband said i sound like a time bomb cheers my dear i tell him .
to me it kinda is noisy now that it is in place, but no one else hears it.

but its like a watch ticking so it's actually bearable and from what others said I wont always hear it as i will get used to it being there.

Surgery was October 20, 2010 at 7:22am
ok so it's been almost a month since surgery and there are times I hear the valve and others I don't.... even in dead silence... so I am getting used to it.

If anything at all it sounds more like one of those finely tuned Swiss analog watches ticking away with precision and authority. The times I really notice it ticking is when my heart is beating hard.. Like when you first wake up and your blood is thicker from dehydration while sleeping, or a stressful situation.

some of the tone levels in the music I listen to ( a little of everything except rap and country) block the sound out as well so I can manage that lol

~ Jonathan
Hi Folks. Reading this section has given me great comfort. I hear the ticking sound from the valve a lot. In bed obviously but at other times when it gets a bit quiet. I was convinced it was my imagination that it was louder when I lay on one side than the other. Reading the comments from others it may well not be imagination. I am ten weeks from the operation so there is time to get used to the noise. Alex
I found this site looking for some information about the experience of others to help me cope with occasional, mainly night time, sensations of my heart beating - not so much the noise of clicking as a sensation in my chest and throat. I had my new valve fitted in August. It has been fitted well and a 24 hour tape check and the echos indicate that my heart is functioning well. But I was getting unnerved by the night time sensations. Reading all the comments on this thread has been enormously reassuring and I'm sure I'm going to get better at living with it. Thanks, guys and to Graeme for setting up this group. A technique I use is to lie on my back and practise a Yoga Savasana relaxation technique which takes my mind off the beating sensation and - usually - allows me to turn back on my side and fall asleep.
Hey John

the tip on using Yoga is great..In the early days I used the Alexander technique and had a good degree of success with it.. I guess now after 7 going on 8 years I have become a bit inured to it all..but still have the wheat pack for my chest in bed and the 2 inch miracle foam topper on our mattress.. works wonders.. I know what you mean about the sensation in your throat.. sometimes after heavy lifting/exercise (ie after just shovelled about a tonne of snow off the parking area in front of our barn) it really gets a thump! thump! up... Used to scare the hell out of me in the early days but now i know its just the result of good exercise!

take care

Graeme


John Walters said:
I found this site looking for some information about the experience of others to help me cope with occasional, mainly night time, sensations of my heart beating - not so much the noise of clicking as a sensation in my chest and throat. I had my new valve fitted in August. It has been fitted well and a 24 hour tape check and the echos indicate that my heart is functioning well. But I was getting unnerved by the night time sensations. Reading all the comments on this thread has been enormously reassuring and I'm sure I'm going to get better at living with it. Thanks, guys and to Graeme for setting up this group. A technique I use is to lie on my back and practise a Yoga Savasana relaxation technique which takes my mind off the beating sensation and - usually - allows me to turn back on my side and fall asleep.
I've just re-read all the posts on this thread and am enormously reassured.  Intellectually I know that the night time thumping is OK but that doesn't always help when I wake in the night and feel the thumps. Thanks to all those who have posted about this.
Hello, John.  On February 5, 2011, it will be one year after my "re-birth" experience (i.e. my open heart surgery to fix my aortic aneurysm and replace my aortic valve with a St. Jude one).   Although I have gotten used to the "sound" and the "thumps", they are clearly there ALL THE TIME and sometimes people around me clearly hear the noise.  I do not have problems getting to sleep, though. I did buy a white noise machine that is now part of our nightly routine.  Life is better today than a year ago, basically because I appreciate it much, much more.  Take care, John, and go on living with your "thumps".  Best. Joaquín Cabrera.

John Walters said:
I've just re-read all the posts on this thread and am enormously reassured.  Intellectually I know that the night time thumping is OK but that doesn't always help when I wake in the night and feel the thumps. Thanks to all those who have posted about this.

The 20th of January was 3 months post Open Heart Surgery for Aortic Valve Replacement for me. I still hear the ticking just not as loud as when I first awoke from surgery but I know it is there. Some sounds block it out like tv and back ground music, even loud music. I have not noticed it going at the same rate as the music, at least not yet, but will see how I do at bars and clubs with friends soon enough. Although I still will not be drinking any alcoholic beverages anytime soon.

 

I did go searching for the model number of my valve on one of the St. Judes Sites and this is what I came up with for the valve.

 

http://www.sjmprofessional.com/Products/US/Heart-Valve-Replacement/...

 

I got my model number off the registration card I received in the mail. Still kind of wondering what it is fully made of and why it makes the "pocket watch analog" ticking sound.

 

Others have been able to hear it as well, sitting near me and even standing close to 8 feet away, but we were in rather extremely quiet rooms or situations. I have noticed if I cup my upper chest I can kind of hear it myself on the outside and same goes for if I am chest against a wall or door... don't ask just know that I like the cold wall and door on me from time to time when I feel like I am burning up...  One friend in particular said she doesn't mind the ticking and that she has kind f gotten used to it and likes it. I tend to find it re-assuring from time to time as I know I am alive if I can hear it lol

I have one pillow in particular that I still hug getting in and out of bed most of the time and some times snuggle with at night to help support me a bit as I am not fully able to lay on my chest/stomach yet. It seems to quiet the ticking some as well from the outside. Not sure on if I had thumps and most of my anxiety has seem to fade away.

 

Slowly I am getting back to normal and actually am now beyond where I was 3-4 months ago even 7 months to a year ago. PT/Cardiac rehab is helping and in theory I can start drawing my Bow by the middle to end of next month.

 

I have made a game of things with the ticking sound and try to watch the second hand on clocks or the seconds go by on digital devices and try to match the ticking between them. Helps me pass some of the time while at home and even in pt. Oddly I have gotten my pulse to lower from time to time trying to do this while on the bike or treadmill and exercising. I will try to explain more in a blog later.

 

Hope this helps in some way

 

~ Jonathan

 

Hi Jonathan

I had my emergency surgery 5 years ago and the ticking of the valve does take a bit of getting used to, both by me and my wife. But my wife said it was reassuring to know I was still alive as she could listen for it at night without having to put the light on to check that I was ok. When she puts her head on my chest and opens her mouth her vocal chord takes up the tick!  For me took a bit of getting used to when you lie in bed at night listening FOR it to tick. But like most of us we have asked professional advice, and been told there is nothing to worry about. Regarding exercise, it does get faster and louder. This is normal too.

I live on the Isle of Man and there is an annual walking event The Parish Walk, an 87 mile walk visiting all the churches in each parish. A friend and I decided to do this challenge for charity (Heart Foundation & Cancer research). The challenge was to make it to Peel 32 miles. Anyone who knows the Isle of Man it isn't the flattest of places. So on the uphill bits the valve was ticking well and loud.

By the way we have raised £1250 to be split between the two charities.

I hope this reassures you and any body who is concerned.

Richard

  
Jonathan F Bushey said:

The 20th of January was 3 months post Open Heart Surgery for Aortic Valve Replacement for me. I still hear the ticking just not as loud as when I first awoke from surgery but I know it is there. Some sounds block it out like tv and back ground music, even loud music. I have not noticed it going at the same rate as the music, at least not yet, but will see how I do at bars and clubs with friends soon enough. Although I still will not be drinking any alcoholic beverages anytime soon.

 

I did go searching for the model number of my valve on one of the St. Judes Sites and this is what I came up with for the valve.

 

http://www.sjmprofessional.com/Products/US/Heart-Valve-Replacement/...

 

I got my model number off the registration card I received in the mail. Still kind of wondering what it is fully made of and why it makes the "pocket watch analog" ticking sound.

 

Others have been able to hear it as well, sitting near me and even standing close to 8 feet away, but we were in rather extremely quiet rooms or situations. I have noticed if I cup my upper chest I can kind of hear it myself on the outside and same goes for if I am chest against a wall or door... don't ask just know that I like the cold wall and door on me from time to time when I feel like I am burning up...  One friend in particular said she doesn't mind the ticking and that she has kind f gotten used to it and likes it. I tend to find it re-assuring from time to time as I know I am alive if I can hear it lol

I have one pillow in particular that I still hug getting in and out of bed most of the time and some times snuggle with at night to help support me a bit as I am not fully able to lay on my chest/stomach yet. It seems to quiet the ticking some as well from the outside. Not sure on if I had thumps and most of my anxiety has seem to fade away.

 

Slowly I am getting back to normal and actually am now beyond where I was 3-4 months ago even 7 months to a year ago. PT/Cardiac rehab is helping and in theory I can start drawing my Bow by the middle to end of next month.

 

I have made a game of things with the ticking sound and try to watch the second hand on clocks or the seconds go by on digital devices and try to match the ticking between them. Helps me pass some of the time while at home and even in pt. Oddly I have gotten my pulse to lower from time to time trying to do this while on the bike or treadmill and exercising. I will try to explain more in a blog later.

 

Hope this helps in some way

 

~ Jonathan

I have to sleep with a pillow over top of my head to drown out the noise..Only one person that is familiar with the MHV sound could hear it..I guess everyone just thinks they are hearing the ticking of a clock in the room!! I have to take something to sleep as I cannot sleep at all with the pounding of my heart..It seems like such a strong heart beat and that is taking some getting used to!!Time , I suppose!!

Its getting on 4 months since my op and I'm starting to not notice it very much at all. During the day I am almost unaware of it unless i do some physical activity, but even a strenuous walk of an hour in the gym doesn't necessarily mean I notice it. I am aware of my heart beating, but then I've always been aware of my heart beat after exercise even before the addition of a mechanical object, that's living!

 

I am still aware of it at night and early on I have to admit it was keeping me awake, or hearing/feeling it when I woke up in the night. However I play some music quietly when I go to sleep and it  just isn't a problem.

 

Yesterday at the heart specialist with my shirt off , when I am usually more aware of the ticking and I didn't hear a thing, The Doc commented that it was very quiet... very strange! Like every time you go to the docs the symptoms just disappear! lol

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