Mitral Valve Replacement

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Mitral Valve Replacement (Discharge Care) Care Guide

Mitral valve replacement is open heart surgery to replace all or part of the mitral valve. The mitral valve normally opens and closes to let blood pass through the heart. If your mitral valve does not open or close correctly, blood may not flow as it should through your heart.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Antiplatelets help prevent blood clots. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.

  • Anticoagulants are a type of blood thinner medicine that helps prevent clots. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. These medicines may cause you to bleed or bruise more easily.

    • Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth and a soft toothbrush. If you shave, use an electric razor. Avoid activities that can cause bruising or bleeding.

    • Tell your caregiver about all medicines you take because many medicines cannot be used with anticoagulants. Do not start or stop any medicines unless your caregiver tells you to. Tell your dentist and other caregivers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.

    • You will need regular blood tests so your caregiver can decide how much medicine you need. Take anticoagulants exactly as directed. Tell your caregiver right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.

    • If you take warfarin, some foods can change how your blood clots. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, grapes, and other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you take warfarin.

  • Heart medicine: This medicine is given to strengthen or regulate your heartbeat.

  • Blood pressure medicine: This is given to lower your blood pressure.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine may be given to help prevent or treat infection caused by bacteria.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your cardiologist or heart surgeon as directed:

You may need to return for blood tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Pat the area dry. Put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.

Cardiac rehabilitation:

Your cardiologist or heart surgeon may recommend that you attend cardiac rehabilitation (rehab). This is a program run by specialists who will help you safely strengthen your heart and prevent more heart disease. The plan includes exercise, relaxation, stress management, and heart-healthy nutrition. Caregivers will also check to make sure any medicines you are taking are working. The plan may also include instructions for when you can drive, return to work, and do other normal daily activities.

Self-care:

  • Care for your teeth and gums: Brush and floss your teeth, and see your dentist regularly. This may help prevent an infection. Tell your dentist that you have had heart valve surgery.

  • Eat heart healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Eat foods that contain healthy fats, such as walnuts, salmon, and canola and soybean oils. Fruits and vegetables, nuts, and fiber may help to protect the heart. Ask if you need to be on a low-sodium (salt) or low-fat diet.

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Ask your primary healthcare provider or cardiologist how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking can make your symptoms worse or increase the risk that you may need surgery again. Ask for information if you need help quitting.

Contact your cardiologist or heart surgeon if:

  • You have a fever.

  • Your hands, ankles, or feet are swollen.

  • You urinate less, or not at all.

  • You feel extremely tired or weak.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your wound area is painful, red, or is oozing fluid.

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

  • You have blood in your urine or bowel movement.

  • You bleed from your nose, mouth, or wound.

  • You have weakness or numbness in your arm, leg, or face.

  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

  • You have dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss.

  • You are confused or have problems speaking or understanding speech.

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded or have trouble breathing.

  • You have pain that spreads to your arm, jaw, or back, or sudden back pain.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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