What Can I Expect during Mitral Valve Repair Recovery?

Meshell Powell

Mitral valve repair recovery begins in the hospital immediately following the surgery and continues at home after the patient is released. Pain medications, antibiotics, and other drugs are often administered through a small catheter known as an IV that has been inserted into a vein. A hospital stay of about a week is standard so that the medical team can make sure the patient is stable and there are no complications such as infection, blood clots, or signs of valve failure. After release from the hospital, mitral valve repair recovery may include dietary and lifestyle modifications, prescription medications, and activity restrictions. Any questions about the process of mitral valve repair recovery should be discussed with the supervising physician or another member of the medical staff.

The mitral valve is located inside the heart between the atria and the ventricles.
The mitral valve is located inside the heart between the atria and the ventricles.

After the surgical procedure has been completed, the patient is normally moved to the intensive care area of the hospital to be closely monitored by the nursing staff. A day or two later, transfer to a regular room for a few days usually occurs. While in the hospital, mitral valve repair recovery includes the use of oral or intravenous antibiotics to prevent infection and pain medications designed to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. A clear liquid diet may be recommended for a few days before slowly transitioning to solid foods. Walking around the room may help speed up the healing process and prevent the development of blood clots.

Upon release from the hospital, the patient will be given instructions concerning the next phase of mitral valve repair recovery. Nausea is a frequent side effect of the procedure, and it may take a few days or weeks to regain a normal appetite. In order to prevent significant weight loss during this period, many doctors recommend eating small meals throughout the day and only taking the required medications after eating. Before any medical or dental procedures are performed in the future, antibiotics may need to be taken in order to prevent a potentially life-threatening infection from developing.

Dietary changes are often a key part of mitral valve repair recovery so that the heart is not unnecessarily strained. Specific orders by the supervising physician should be followed, but a low-fat, low-sodium diet is generally the recommendation. There will be activity restrictions concerning lifting, driving, and performing strenuous tasks during the mitral valve repair recovery process. Normal activities can usually be resumed a few weeks or months following the surgery.

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