Mended Hearts Open Forum

sternasafe vs Cardiac pillow

  • 1.  sternasafe vs Cardiac pillow

    Posted 03-05-2020 17:36

    I have recently returned home after OHS for bicuspid aortic valve replacement and repair of my ascending aneurysm.  I will write an update on that experience separately.  Here I would like to discuss/compare the cardiac pillow vs the sternasafe corset.

    Before surgery I remember hearing about the existence of a corset that is available to be used post surgery in all situations that you would use a cardiac pillow for.  I remember reading/hearing that it was constricting and uncomfortable …  I started out using the cardiac pillow like everyone else.  I think it was a combination of things that led me to try the corset and give it a chance

    1.  I was having trouble with pain maintenance.  I was hallucinating.  I had them stop all narcotics for a period of time.  While that was going on I was still busy with the process of recovery.  This meant getting into bed by hugging the pillow, and leaning while a nurse guided part of me.  The pain was excruciating.  I didn't know what I was doing and they screwed up and didn't have the bed back at the right angle and I paid the price (multiple times)
    2.  One morning the surgeon came in and told me that the staff had thrown me under the bus about my reaction to excruciating pain.  This prompted a plan to get me on some pain meds again and the option of using the sternum corset.  I was desperate and said yes.
    3.  Without the pain meds I could feel a lot more support for my tender chest and back while putting myself into positions that would inevitably strain them .  So far, It surpassed the cardiac pillow by a great deal.
    4.  The corset turned out to be very functional.  It could be taken off and put on when you wanted.  It didn't restrict my breathing as I heard it might.  Its design allow for hand on or hands free use (very good feature).  It freed up a hand when sitting at the toilet.  My first experience with sitting at the toilet with the cardiac pillow is that my urine sprayed all over the floor because I didn't have a hand free to point my penis down into the bowl.  Now with the corset I could avoid that little embarrassment a second time while still supporting me chest
    5. When it came time to have my first BM I needed to bear down and push. All the while trying to protect my ribs/sternum.  This corset worked like a charm and each successive BM became easier without adding discomfort.

    What has been your experience with the sternal corset?

    Mike M
    Halfmoon, NY
    Bi-Cuspid Aortic Valve w/ Moderate/Severe Leak
    Aortic Aneurysm