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Mitral Valve Open Commissurotomy
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Mitral valve open commissurotomy is surgery to repair the mitral valve in your heart. You may need this valve fixed if you have mitral valve stenosis. This is when your mitral valve becomes narrow and cannot open all the way. 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.
- Antiplatelets help prevent blood clots. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Examples of blood thinners include heparin and warfarin. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin.
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. 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 and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- Heart medicine: This medicine is given to strengthen or regulate your heartbeat.
- Blood pressure medicine: This is given to lower your blood pressure. Take as directed.
- Diuretics: This medicine is given to decrease edema (excess fluid) that collects in a part of your body, such as your legs. Diuretics can also remove excess fluid from around your heart or lungs and decrease your blood pressure. It is often called water pills. You may urinate more often when you take this medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.
Do not take a bath or go swimming until the incision is healed. Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.
Weigh yourself daily:
Weigh yourself at the same time every morning after you urinate, but before you eat. Weight gain can be a sign of extra fluid in your body. Contact your cardiologist or cardiac surgeon if you have gained at least 2 pounds in a day, or 5 pounds in a week.
Heat may help to decrease pain and swelling. Apply heat on the area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for as many days as directed.
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. Healthcare providers 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.
- Prevent straining: High-fiber foods, extra liquids, and regular exercise can help you prevent constipation. Examples of high-fiber foods are fruit and bran. Prune juice and water are good liquids to drink. Regular exercise helps your digestive system work. Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Get plenty of rest: Rest as needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed. Tell your healthcare provider or cardiologist if you are having problems sleeping.
- Drink liquids as directed: Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prevent illness: Stay away from people who are sick. Ask if you need to be vaccinated for the flu (influenza) or pneumonia.
Prevent blood clots and swelling in your legs:
- Wear support socks.
- Do not cross your legs or ankles for long periods of time.
- Start walking as soon as possible after surgery.
- Stand and walk every 1 to 2 hours when you travel or sit for a long period of time.
- Do not wear tight garters or girdles. Do not wear pants that are too tight.
Talk to your healthcare provider or cardiologist if you want to become pregnant. Pregnancy causes increased demands on the heart and you may need special care while you are pregnant.
Contact your cardiologist or heart surgeon if:
- You have a fever, chills, or feel weak and achy.
- The skin around your stitches is red, swollen, or you have pus coming from the incision.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your stitches or staples come apart.
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
- You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
- You have pain or discomfort in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm.
- You have discomfort in your chest that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded or have trouble breathing.
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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.