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A doctor performed surgery to repair or replace one or more of your child’s heart valves. The heart valves make sure that blood flows through the heart the right way. Your child had the surgery to improve this blood flow. The surgery should decrease or stop the problems your child was having. Here’s what you need to know following surgery.
Ask the doctor what your child can and can’t do as he or she recovers. Your child will have good and bad days. This is normal.
Don’t let your child lift anything heavier than 2 pounds until approved by the doctor.
While your child is healing, stay nearby during showers or other activities, just in case he or she needs help.
Until the doctor says it’s okay, your child should not do activities that could strain the breastbone, such as mowing the lawn.
Ask your doctor when your child can return to school.
Ask your doctor when your child can start a walking program or return to regular play.
Begin with a short playtime (about 5 minutes). Go a little longer each day.
Choose a safe place with a level surface, such as a local park.
Arrange for your child to play with someone. It’s more fun and helps your child forget about pain.
Clean your child’s incision every day with soap and water. Gently pat dry the incision area. Don’t use any powders, lotions, or oils on the incision until it is well healed. This may take several weeks.
Tell your child to use lukewarm water while showering. Hot water can affect circulation and cause dizziness.
Weigh your child every day, at the same time of day, and in the same kind of clothes.
Give your child all the prescribed medications exactly as directed.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has any of the following:
Chest pain or shortness of breath
Fever above 100.0°F or other signs of infection (redness, swelling, drainage, or warmth at the incision site)
New or increased fluid building up (swollen hands, ankles, or feet, or puffy face)
Pain that is not relieved with medication
Changes in the location, type, or level of pain
Fast or irregular pulse
Pain at the incision site(s) that is not relieved by medication