What to Expect After Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery

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After minimally invasive valve surgery, you will be moved to the intensive care unit (ICU). You will remain in the ICU overnight while we monitor your heart function and other vital signs. In most cases, we are able to remove the breathing tube within six to eight hours of surgery.
The next morning, you will be moved to a regular hospital room. Most patients are able to go home two to three days after surgery.
For three months after surgery, you will take blood-thinning medications to reduce the risk of stroke. If your valve was replaced, you will need to take these blood thinners for the rest of your life to reduce the risk of blood clots.
Once you are home, we advise you to eat a heart-healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight and quit smoking. You will be able to walk, and you are expected to walk at least a mile each day for the first month after surgery.
If you have another invasive procedure after surgery, such as dental work or a colonoscopy, you must notify your doctor beforehand. Your doctor will prescribe preventive antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection while the valve heals.
You will return to the surgery clinic for follow-up four to six weeks after surgery. If your valve is functioning correctly at that time, no further surgery follow-ups are needed. You will still need to have periodic checkups with your cardiologist.