Aortic Valve Replacement

Care After

ExitCare ImageRefer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your caregiver may also give you specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your caregiver if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your caregiver.

  • Take your temperature every morning for the first 7 days after surgery. Write these down. Call your caregiver if your temperature stays above 100° F (37.8° C) for more than a day.  

  • Weigh yourself every morning for at least 7 days after surgery. Write your weight down to monitor any weight increase.

  • Wear elastic stockings during the day for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Use them longer if your ankles are swollen. The stockings help blood flow and help reduce swelling in the legs. 

  • Take frequent naps or rest often throughout the day.

  • Avoid lifting over 10 lbs (4.5 kg) or pushing or pulling things with your arms for 6–8 weeks or as directed by your caregiver.

  • Avoid driving or airplane travel for 4–6 weeks after surgery or as directed. If you are riding in a car for an extended period, stop every 1–2 hours to stretch your legs. Keep a record of your medicines and medical history with you when traveling.

  • Do not cross your legs.

  • Do not take baths for 4–6 weeks after surgery. Take showers once your caregiver approves. Pat incisions dry. Do not rub incisions with a washcloth or towel.

  • Avoid climbing stairs and using the handrail to pull yourself up for the first 2–3 weeks after surgery.

  • Return to work as directed by your caregiver.

  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Do not strain to have a bowel movement. Eat high-fiber foods if you become constipated. You may also take a medicine to help you have a bowel movement (laxative) as directed by your caregiver.

  • Resume sexual activity as directed by your caregiver. Men should not use medicines for erectile dysfunction until their doctor says it is okay.

  • If you had a certain type of heart condition in the past, you may need to take antibiotic medicine before having dental work or surgery. Let your dentist and caregivers know if you had one or more of the following:

  • Previous endocarditis.

  • An artificial (prosthetic) heart valve.

  • Congenital heart disease.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop a skin rash.  

  • Your weight is increasing each day over 2–3 days, or you have a sudden weight gain.

  • Your weight increases by 2 or more pounds (1 kg or more) in a single day.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop chest pain that is not coming from your incision.  

  • You develop shortness of breath or have difficulty breathing.  

  • You have a fever.  

  • You have increased bleeding from your wounds.  

  • You have increasing wound pain.  

  • You have redness or swelling around your wounds

  • You have pus coming from your wound.  

  • You develop lightheadedness.  

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these directions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.