Post-Op Care Immediately after treatment

Immediately after treatment for heart valve disease, people are usually practicing very basic self-care and are soon encouraged to get up, to breathe deeply, and to resume eating, drinking and walking.

Days and weeks following your treatment

During this phase, people can expect to gradually regain energy and return to their normal activity level. After about 3 weeks you should be able to walk for about 10 minutes a few times a day, and by week 6 you should comfortably be able to walk for 30 minutes.

Follow-up care

You will most likely be checked within 4 to 6 weeks following treatment for a postoperative visit. After that, it is critical to get regular check-ups by a heart specialist or your GP. Clarify with your healthcare provider what symptoms would warrant a phone call or an additional re-check. Whenever you have concerns, or if you experience any unusual symptoms and changes in your overall health, it never hurts to call and ask.

How can diet and exercise help in my recovery?

3 important parts of recovery and continuing health are a good diet and a regular exercise routine.

  • If your doctor has recommended a particular diet, it’s important that you follow it. If a special diet has not been recommended, balanced and heart-healthy nutrition can speed the healing process and lessen fatigue. Weight control is also important for your heart health; excess weight increases the work of the heart and slows recovery.
  • During recovery and beyond, make sure to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, breads, lean meats including fish and low-fat dairy products. Foods that are high in saturated fats, sugar, salt, and sodium should be limited. Processed meats should be avoided. In general, a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fibre diet is best.
  • After a heart valve replacement, do not use supplemental calcium without approval from your healthcare provider.

Patient Story: Ian

“Since leaving hospital on the 25th of June, all has gone well, I’m pleased to be home. My pre-arranged appointment with my GP on the 4th July was however somewhat disappointing, so much, as my GP was not even aware of me having had my operation, despite the hospital discharge letter having been hand delivered to the surgery on the day I came home.”

Read Ian’s story in full…