Your recovery will happen gradually. Realize that everyone is different and your recovery may take longer than you expect it to. Enlist the help of a friend or loved one to assist you in the first several days following your discharge. They can help you manage medications, prepare meals and do light housework, run errands, drive, and attend follow-up doctor visits. Below is important information you should know for your recovery.
A Change in Your Condition
- It is important to talk with your heart team if you notice a change in the way you feel or if something does not feel right.
- Also, please have someone call the TAVR Program Team at 818.7001.5691 if you have to go to the emergency room or are admitted to the hospital within the first month following your procedure.
New Heart Valve Card
Following your procedure, you will be given temporary copies of the “New Heart Valve” card.
- Keep one in your wallet, put one on the refrigerator (this is an easy way for people to find information on you), and give one to a family member.
- A permanent card will be mailed to your home within a few weeks.
- You must keep this card with you at all times and show it to all of your health care providers at every appointment.
Prevent Valve Infections
People who have valve replacements are at risk for developing infective endocarditis (IE), a deadly infection that affects the valves of the heart. To protect your new valve and prevent IE, you will need to:
- Take good care of your teeth and gums.
- Possibly take an antibiotic before you have certain procedures, such as surgery, invasive procedures, and dental work.
- Treat infections promptly.
- Talk to your doctor about preventive antibiotics and the risk of infection.
It is very important to make sure you follow-up with your health care providers after the TAVR procedure as part of your recovery. Some of your follow-up visits will be scheduled for you before you leave the hospital. Your heart team will check on your progress and ensure your heart is working as it should. Visits with your cardiologist should include:
- The first week after your procedure, the appointment is for incision/wound follow-up.
- Within 30 days of the procedure. This visit should include an echocardiogram, labs and a clinic visit. You will also meet with the TAVR Program Manager on this appointment day.
- One year after you get your new valve (or sooner, if your cardiologist recommends a sooner visit). The TAVR team will contact you for this appointment. You will have an echocardiogram, labs and a clinic visit.
Importance of a Heart Healthy Lifestyle
To get the best results from your TAVR procedure, you must commit to living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Your health care team can help you reach your goals, but it is up to you to take your medications as prescribed, make changes to your diet, quit smoking, get regular exercise, keep your follow-up appointments, and be an active member of your treatment team.
As you recover from your procedure, it is normal to feel a wide range of emotions. It can help to share with others about your experiences and how you are feeling. Find a friend or loved one who you are comfortable with and share how you are feeling. Go out socially, and visit friends when you feel ready. You might also look for local support groups where you can meet people who know what you are going through and help you talk about your emotions as you recover. The following resources may also be helpful:
Learn More About Heart Care At Northridge Hospital Medical Center
For more information about the TAVR procedure and our Cardiovascular Center, please call Program Manager Carlyn Fostakowski, NP, at 818.855.8500 ext. 5691.
This procedure is currently performed at Northridge Hospital by Dr. Jahandar Saleh, Dr. Aamer Jamali, and Dr. Vasim Lala.