Mitral valve replacement recovery begins in the hospital immediately after the procedure is complete. The breathing tube inserted for the surgery will remain in place for several hours, and the patient will be closely monitored for any signs of developing complications. Pain medications and antibiotics are administered as necessary by the nursing staff, and additional drugs may be used to help the heart function more effectively during the healing process. Post-operative mitral valve replacement recovery instructions will be issued before the patient leaves the hospital and include activity limitations as well as warning signs that should prompt a call to the supervising physician. Blood-thinning medications will be needed for the remainder of the life of the patient, and antibiotics will need to be taken before dental procedures or surgery.
While a patient is in the hospital, mitral valve replacement recovery is closely supervised by the medical staff. The patient will normally stay in the intensive care unit for a couple of days and then be moved to a regular room for a few more days. During this observation period, blood pressure levels and overall heart function will be checked on a periodic basis, and the staff will look for complications, such as abnormal bleeding or signs of infection. Someone should be available to drive the patient home from the hospital, as driving is not allowed for several weeks following the surgery.
Once back at home, mitral valve replacement recovery involves rest and the proper use of any prescribed medications. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled so the doctor can monitor the progress of the recovery. If any questions arise before the follow-up visit, the doctor's office should be called for further instructions. Physical activity may be restricted for several weeks or months, and it is important to carefully follow the directions of the supervising physician.
As the mitral valve replacement recovery period continues, many doctors will refer the patient to a physical therapist. A safe exercise program will be developed to meet individual needs and improve overall heart health. Antibiotics must be taken before dental work or any other medical procedures take place because the medications used to thin the blood may increase the risks of infection. The mitral valve may need to be replaced periodically, so any new or bothersome symptoms should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation. Chest pain, fatigue, or other signs of valve failure should be discussed with a medical professional right away.