How to Care for a Loved One After Heart Valve Repair or Replacement Surgery

Learn important tips for caring for your loved one after heart valve repair or replacement surgery. Once patients come home from the hospital, they will often require extra special care. Patients need to rest and not overly exert the breastbone until it is completely healed. These suggestions can help ease both the transition and the burden on caregivers.

  • Arrange for transportation. Patients recovering from valve surgery cannot drive until their breastbone is fully healed, usually six to eight weeks.
  • Be aware of possible emotional turmoil for patients and understand that an adjustment period is normal when the patient first returns home.
  • Don’t have your loved one do any heavy lifting. Your loved one can’t lift more than five pounds for about eight weeks after surgery.
  • Patients are often given a simple walking schedule to rebuild endurance and may need assistance in walking around the home or neighborhood.
  • Pitch in with housework and yard work. Vacuuming, heavy housecleaning and mowing the lawn will probably be too strenuous for several months.
  • Prepare meals that meet their dietary needs. Your loved one’s diet may need to be altered for a time to be low in fat, salt and cholesterol. Hospital discharge paperwork will have detailed information about any dietary changes or restrictions, as well as resources for recipes and shopping tips.
  • Take over or help do other activities that require endurance or physical stamina.

For More Information
To learn more about heart valve surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital, send us an email and a cardiac specialist will contact you directly. To learn more about valvular disease, visit Heart Valve Diseases in Adult Health.

Find a Heart Valve Surgeon in San Diego
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego heart valve surgeon or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.