Mitral Valve Replacement

Care After

Refer 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 for pain, fever, or discomfort as directed by your caregiver.

  • Take your temperature every morning for the first week after surgery. Write these down.

  • Weigh yourself every morning for at least the first week after surgery and record.

  • Do not lift more than 10 lb (4.5 kg) until your breastbone (sternum) has healed. Avoid all activities which would place strain on your surgical cut (incision).

  • You may shower. Do not take baths until instructed by your surgeon. Pat incisions dry. Do not rub incisions with washcloth or towel.

  • Avoid driving for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery or as instructed.

  • Use your elastic stockings during the day. You should wear the stockings for at least 2 weeks after discharge or longer if your ankles are swollen. The stockings help blood flow and help reduce swelling in the legs. It is easiest to put the stockings on before you get out of bed in the morning. They should be snug.

  • Some individuals with a mitral valve replacement need to take antibiotics before having dental work or other surgical procedures. This is called prophylactic antibiotic treatment. These drugs help to prevent infective endocarditis. Antibiotics are only recommended for individuals with the highest risk for developing infective endocarditis. Let your dentist and your caregiver know if you have a history of any of the following so that the necessary precautions can be taken:

  • A VSD.

  • A repaired VSD.

  • Endocarditis in the past.

  • An artificial (prosthetic) heart valve.

Pain Control

  • You may feel some chest, shoulder, or abdominal discomfort. It is caused by the absorption of air through the chest wall.

  • If a prescription was given for a pain reliever, follow your surgeon's directions.

  • If the pain is not relieved by your medicine, becomes worse, or you have difficulty breathing, call your surgeon.

Activity

  • Take frequent rest periods throughout the day.

  • Wait 1 week before returning to strenuous activities such as heavy lifting (more than 10 pounds), pushing, or pulling.

  • Talk with your doctor about when you may return to work and your exercise routine.

  • Do not drive while taking prescription pain medication.

Nutrition

  • You may resume your normal diet as instructed.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet.

Elimination

Your normal bowel function should return. If constipation should occur, you may:

  • Take a mild laxative as directed by your caregiver.

  • Add fruit and bran to your diet.

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

  • Call your surgeon if constipation is not relieved.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

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

  • You develop shortness of breath or have difficulty breathing.

  • You develop a temperature over 102° F (38.9° C).

  • You have a sudden weight gain. Let your doctor know what the weight gain is.

  • You develop a rash.

  • You develop any reaction or side effects to medications given.

  • You have increased bleeding from wounds.

  • You see redness, swelling, or have increasing pain in wounds.

  • You have yellowish white fluid (pus) coming from your wound.

  • You feel lightheaded or feel faint.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) or throw up (vomit).