Emotional aftereffects of Open Heart Surgery?

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Hello all.  A little over 5 years ago I had triple bypass surgery.  At that time I was working at a local hospital and when I went back to work following the surgery I was talking to a nurse who asked me if I felt depressed.  Surprisingly enough she was right, I did feel depressed, and she proceeded to tell me that anyone who has open heart surgery experiences the emotional trauma similar to a broken heart.  I suffered greatly after the surgery and had to stay in the hospital twice as long as most patients due to complications.  The entire experience really rocked me to my core.  Now it's 5 years later and I'm still not over it.  Not only am I severely depressed I have gained about 50 lbs since having the surgery, which isn't a good thing to have when you have a heart condition.  So I'm wondering if anyone else who may be reading this that has had open heart surgery is experiencing anything similar?  I'd be interested in what you've been going through.  Thanks.

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  • Posted

    I had aortic valve replacement five years ago and had read of depression and memory problems from the gas. It did effect one of the others who had been in intensive care but I'm glad to say it did not have that effect on me. It did though leave me with atrial fibrillation and with other problems so I was in for eleven days rather than five or six. Thought why anyone would be depressed after a life saving operation escapes me. Without it we would not be here now.

    Having had depression for so long have you not been offered any therapy for it ?

     

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    • Posted

      I see your point.  Logic says we should be grateful to be alive, but it seems to be beyond my control.  I'm sure it's different for each individual, but I've just had a hard time with it.   Yes, I have been through therapy time and time again.  It helps a little, mostly just getting things off my chest (pardon the pun), which eases the burden somewhat.  They don't have all the answers, and believe me I've tried to figure it out for many years.  And part of the problem is I tend to feel things more deeply than most people.  In other words, things that may just roll off other people's back tend to affect me quite a bit.  So I think that is part of the problem.  I've learned to live with it, that's all I can do. 

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    • Posted

      It's a hard burden to bear for so long. I knew about the depression bit but nowhere did I read about 30% of patients going into AF after heart surgery.

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  • Posted

    Nothing as severe as open heart surgery, but I have had progressively worst Ventricular Tachycardia that has made me consider my empty life in which none of my hopes and dreams ever came to fruition, would soon be over.

    It was only two weeks ago following a 12 hour VT run that took me into hospital where I was succesfully diagnosed and ablated, but I am now in severe depression though other things have compounded it.

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    • Posted

      A couple of days after my open heart surgery I developed Atrial Fibrulation, which they said is not uncommon.  Apparently they damaged some nerves during the surgery.  My heart rate was about 150/min, ,which made me feel like I was running a marathon.  I was short of breath and even just walking to the bathroom was a major chore.  They gave me a choice of 2 procedures, one was a cardio-version, which is basically like a defibrulator (electric shock) they use in emergency rooms or EMS squads, or a cardiac ablation, done by using a heart catheter.  I chose the ablation because it was more permanent, as they told me the shock procedure results may not last.  I had also developed a cough due to throat irritation by the trachea tube they use during surgery, and anyone who has had their chest cut open will tell you that having a cough is excrutiatingly painful.  I coughed day and night, and ate cough drops like crazy.  Something in the cough drops caused very frequent bathroom visits, which was another unpleasant experience.  So I've decided I'm never going to the hospital again. If I survived all that I can survive anything.  

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  • Posted

    Husband has heart failure, cause unknown, but probably a virus, he was working in containminated floodwaters and got some scratches on legs. two weeks later in hospital dying.   That was six years ago now.

    Did he get depressed, YES YES YES,

    In the end from sheer desperation I managed to get him to agree to see a pyschologist, first appt he sat there with his arms crossed across his chest, showed agression, frowned, showed his severe disgust, he really felt this could not help him, but he managed to find a connection with the lady, and from there a improvement over weeks of appts, still gets anxiety issues.

    But I have learnt from the sessions as well, distraction, change the subject, I do try to challenge him, but there are some issues he cannot and will not deal with, so most of the time we don't go there.

    Has come to hate the heart hospital, but I insist he goes when he is sick, no arguements, I won't listen no matter how much he abuses me, he goes to the hospital and they have saved his life 4 times in total now.

    Even consultant Dr compliments me on how good I have got at recognizing when a crisis underway, and if I had my nursing qualifications he would employee me in a instant.

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    • Posted

      You sound like a very strong person, and I applaud you for that.  Your husband is lucky to have you in his life.  I am not so lucky.  I live alone, and have no close family, and no serious "significant other", so no support system at all.  That has made it harder to deal with things, but I have adapted and learned in this life to be self supporting.  I have also developed a dislike of hospitals and the health care system.  I am a retired health care worker of 33 yrs, so I've seen many things. 

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  • Posted

    Ive had 12 heart surgeries, 6 of them open heart surgery.

    Not sure about depression but certainly anxiety. I hate anything medical, hospitals, Drs, nurses, injections, evens preists when i was a child because i thought they were surgeons thst were "coming to take me away" apparently!

    I had some councilling when i was around 10/11 years old to help with my anxiety but it did very little to help.

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  • Posted

    I am 9 days post-op of a quadruple bypass. I am having a quick recovery. Everything is coming along great. I do not feel depressed, but I do seem to be more sensitive than before.  Twice, once with a news story about a 9 year old girl disappearing and once listening to a man sing a song about his mother who died of breast cancer, I was overwhelmed with sadness. I’m not normally the kind of guy who cries at movies. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Gary and all,

    I know this is an old thread from last year, but after googling and looking to see if how I am feeling is normal I came across your post. What you wrote last year and how you described how you’re feeling is how I’m feeling right now. So much so I joined so I could write to you. 

    I had open heart surgery 7 weeks ago to replace my damaged aortic valve with a mechanical one and am now on warfarin for life. Last year I was fit and healthy one minute and the next I was given 3-4 hours to live. I found out later that I had infective endocarditis and spent 6 weeks on antibiotics in hospital. 

    Between that and what has happened since I feel like my life has been turned upside down, yet it’s only really hit my since my surgery. I am down in the dumps and I actually feel and get quite angry. I don’t find I can explain it properly to anyone and therefore just find myself telling people I’m good, I’m ok, getting there etc when I don’t feel it. I’ve seen a different side to myself and sometimes it has worked to my advantage because I’ve actually stood up for myself which I never used to do but I find myself flying off the handle and my poor mother takes the brunt of it because she is always there for me.  

    I guess if you’re still on here and happen to see my post I would be very grateful to hear how you are doing and getting on. Has it got any better for you as time has gone on or is everything still the same? Is there anything you have found to help? I know it’s early days for me but I have this feeling I won’t be getting any better soon (I think this will take much longer mentally to get over than physically). 

    I hope you are keeping well and do feel better as I know this is not a nice way to feel.

    Cath 

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    • Posted

      Hi Derek

      Thank you ever so much for your reply and for the link which I will take a look at now.

      I’m not sure what it is at the moment but I was warned in hospital that how I am feeling may happen and that it’s normal - I just thought they meant it would be for a few days or so!

      I wasn’t on antibiotics very long, a day or two after my surgery at the most but I don’t know what they were called unfortunately. I will try and find out and I’ll bear that in mind.

      Thanks again and I hope you’re feeling well now or at least as well as can be.

      Cath 

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    • Posted

      The booklet my hospital gave me warned about post operation moods. Personally I was glad it had been done and I could get on with my life. I took several hits from the drugs before they really got to me. A lot of it was possibly triggered by other drugs like Amiodarone and Bisoprolol. At the moment I'm avoiding a steroid injection for my back as it is said to also be a trigger.

      The family of drugs are the subject of an investigation by the European  Medicines Agency at the moment. The chair persons summing up gives great hope that they will be prohibited  for all but life threatening conditions.   

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