Mended Hearts Open Forum

pain, clicking and anxiety 9months after aortic valve replacement and sternotomy

  • 1.  pain, clicking and anxiety 9months after aortic valve replacement and sternotomy

    Posted 23 days ago
    I'm so happy to have found a support group where people can express how they feeling pre- and post-heart surgery.

    I am 11 months past my aortic valve replacement.  All went well.  The first 3 months I healed quickly and easily.  I started to do exercise which included swimming after 3 months.  And then I noticed a popping sound in the lower part of my sternum.  Luckily, I had no pain associated with this.  I saw my surgeon and with a cat scan he was sure that my sternum had separated and that I would have to go on post operative protocol (no lifting, driving, etc) for 6 months.  Well six months has passed and I was very religious about following his insturctions, but the clicking/popping has gotten worse.  Very often when I roll over in bed, get up from a prone posiition, I will hear a clicking/popping.  I am also getting much discomfort/ low-end of pain in my chest (separate from sternum) and in the area just under my lower ribs.

    The last time I saw my surgeon, I found him very unhelpful and he suggested that I was fine ( he touched my chest while I breathed and coughed) there was no more need for the basic protocols and I could start to go about my life normally.  And that he thought my pain was a result of anxiety and depression.  I am not by  nature someone with a lot of anxiety, but not knowing  and understanding the state of my sternum has caused anxiety.

    One of my main questions is, is this normal 11 months after surgery.  And are there diagnostic tools that my surgeon can use to assess the state of my sternum and not just rely on feeling my chest when I breathe and cough.

    Thanks for reading this long diatribe.  If you have any experience that might help, please do share.


    Lorne in Vancouver

    Lorne Berkovitz
    Vancouver BC