Aortic Valve Replacement and Your Hospital Stay
Based on the results of your daily tests, physical exam, and your reported feelings, your doctor will determine when you will be transferred out of the intensive care unit to another special hospital room. Generally, this room will be in a section of the hospital devoted to patients with heart problems. Here you will continue to be monitored for several more days, but not as "intensively."
Your family will be able to visit with you in your room.
Remember that your healthcare team wants you to recover without any problems. So be sure to report anything that does not feel normal or "right" after aortic valve replacement.
When you leave the hospital after aortic valve replacement surgery you will be given specific wound-care, dietary, and rehabilitation instructions, along with discharge instructions for driving, activity level, medication, and any further restrictions necessary. Your healthcare providers will also go over any symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
You will also be given pain medication, blood-thinning medication, possibly antibiotics, and any medicines you were taking prior to the surgery. You may also be placed on medication to:
- Make your heart work more effectively
- Control your blood pressure
- Reduce the stresses and strains on your heart.
It is also important that you plan on being driven home with the help of a relative or friend.
You should not:
- Drive until you return to see your doctor at your first follow-up visit
- Perform any lifting greater than 10 pounds for at least 4 to 6 weeks
- Participate in any strenuous physical exercises or activities during this time period.
The first follow-up visit with your doctor will be approximately 3 to 4 weeks after you leave the hospital. Other periodic visits with your physicians will continue until you have fully recovered.
After aortic valve replacement, you will have to take antibiotics when having certain medical or dental procedures that are performed for your health. This precaution is taken to prevent any infections from interfering with your new heart valve.