Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection

My heart problems started back in 1995. I had what was called a ross procedure. That's when they removed the left ventricle valve replace it with the right ventricle valve. Put in a new human cadaver valve. Everything was going great. Then when I was doing my yearly visits. My cartiologist notice that my aorta was growing. So 5 weeks ago I had to have my aorta root replaced. Then we replaced the aorta valve with a mechanical one. I was under for 8 hours. Everything went fine and then my heart stopped, and they had to perform bypass surgery. And now it's been 6 weeks. I'm recovering well. I have a lot of shoulder and neck pain. Any advice out there with my shoulders let me know. I had some cortisone shots that helped. Thanks for listening.
Jay from New York

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Hi Jay,

 

It's good news that you are recovering well from your operation.  I had a type A dissection last year and suffered from neck and shoulder pain afterwards for several months.  I had a frozen shoulder as a result of my surgery which I guess didn't help as I was very stiff in one shoulder. I put the aches and pains down to hunching my shoulders against the pain in my sternum as it healed. I tried to relax my shoulders whenever I realised that I was hunching them up which helped but ultimately time and pain killers did the job.  Not sure if this will help you but I wish you well anyway.

Nicola

Hi Andra,

Good to hear from you! You had the same type of dissection as me.  My heart sounds a lot louder than it used to, apparently this can be either because you are more aware of it (I guess that's true to a certain extenet but mine is definitely louder too), or because the lining around the heart is opened during surgery and not closed as it isn't needed.  Either way mine is louder/harder still, I am nearly 1 year post dissection.  I am used to it now though.  Re the heart beats, mine skipped and I also get 'ectopic' beats where you get one hard 'thump' then a faint beat soon after.  This is normal and I still get them occasionally but am used to them now.  My cardiologist told me that unless I am feeling light headed during them or they last continuously for 1/2 hour not to worry.  Easy to say but not to do, however I am used to them now and they don't worry me.  You are only 4 weeks post a major heart op and your heart/aorta will be healing for a while.  If you are worried though see your doctor, and they can putyour mind at rest.  I don't have a new valve so can't help you with that, sorry.

Take care,

Nicola

Nicola, Andra, Jay

Nicola - you are spot on re the heartbeat being louder/more noticible post the op.. The pericardium (the tough membrane around the heart) is not sewn up again after the op as you can live perfectly normally without it..  and as my surgeon said it's like trying to sew up tissue paper .. ?? :-) By not having your heart contained within it (so I am told..) your heart moves closer towards the front of your chest/chestbone and vibrates agains your ribs more.. it gets even more interesting with a mechanical heart valve ..

Andra yes to all you have said.. my advice is to get a small pillow or a largish rolled up towel and hold it against your chest whilst in bed as it muffles the sound and feeling quite a lot .. 9 years on i still sleep with a small pillow against my chest when sleeping on my side (I have never been able to sleep on my back since the op as heartbeat and valve noise too loud! )

Jay, yes you will have neck pain.. I eventually got rid of mine a year on with physio as it was deduced that when walking/sitting I was hunching over in a reflex action to protect my chest..that made my neck and spine very stiff .. the physio sorted it however wihtin 8 weeks.. worth a thought? 

cheers

Graeme

 

 

HI Jay,

 

Sounds like you have been through the mill. I have had double Aortic surgery over the past 6 six years, so appreciate what you going through. My shoulder has never been the same since my surgery & I am still healing a year on, the shoulder pain is still there, but gradually diminishing.

What’s helped? I initially started using a Tens machine when the pain got really bad, normally after any physical work. I also started a short course of physio, both have helped. I am now using light weights to try & rebuild the wasted muscle which is common after surgery.

Hope this helps & good luck

Harry

HI Jay,

 

Sounds like you have been through the mill. I have had double Aortic surgery over the past 6 six years, so appreciate what you going through. My shoulder has never been the same since my surgery & I am still healing a year on, the shoulder pain is still there, but gradually diminishing.

What’s helped? I initially started using a Tens machine when the pain got really bad, normally after any physical work. I also started a short course of physio, both have helped. I am now using light weights to try & rebuild the wasted muscle which is common after surgery.

Hope this helps & good luck

Harry

Hi Jason,

I have had chronic pain for 27 years due to a fall that broke two vertebrae and crushed a disc in my upper back. After many years of suffering one of my doctors prescribed a TENS Unit. Insurance will pay for them with a scrip from your doctor. If you are not familiar with a TENS unit it is a little pocket sized device that comes with four electrodes that you attach to the areas of pain. Turn the dial to desired setting and 'viola'. The electrical impulses block the pain. Actually, the impulses fatigue the muscle so the muscle relaxes and you feel relief from the pain. It is my 'go to' instead of pain pills that don't work for me. Let me know if you have any luck.

Warm Regards,

Deborah

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