permanent personality changes after heart bypass?

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heartful3
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Date Joined Jun 2012
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   Posted 6/17/2012 12:25 AM (GMT -6)   
I have had severe mood swings since my bypass surgery in 2003. I seem to be getting worse as time goes on. I have read about pumphead or (personality changes) after this surgery. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this? I have other health issues that can cause this, like hypothyroidism and depression. But I haven't been the same since the surgery. Any response would be appreciated. Thank You!

stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/17/2012 2:00 PM (GMT -6)   
heartful3
 
From what I have read a study from Duke University, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February, 2001, confirms what many doctors have suspected, but have been reluctant to discuss with their patients: A substantial proportion of patients after coronary artery bypass surgery experience measurable impairment in their mental capabilities. In the surgeons’ locker room, this phenomenon has been referred to as "pump head."
 
Postperfusion syndrome, also known as "pump head" is a constellation of neurocognitive impairments attributed to cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) during cardiac surgery. Symptoms of postperfusion syndrome are subtle and include defects associated with attention, concentration, short term memory, fine motor function, and speed of mental and motor responses.
 
I have no first hand knowledge but would kindly suggest that you talk with your Dr. re your concerns to see if there is a treatment plan that would help you.
 
Kindly,
Kitt
 
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.



"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship" ~ Louisa May Alcott

aintright
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Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/21/2012 5:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi my name is Kenneth. I have had bypass surgery and 5 stynts. Yes it most certainly changes you. I have been a power lineman for most of my life. Working for contractors it has been hard and fast paced work, thus giving me a get up and go attitude. This all started about two years ago and I have been battling trying to work and the depression along with having to accept that there just some things you can't do any more. There are days when I almost feel normal mentally and physically and there are days that I tire very easily and sometimes I am angry and grouchy about it and sometimes I am angry and grouchy without really knowing why. Some days I am really depressed and at one time was going through crying spells , I mean uncontrollable sobbing, and could not put a finger on why. I would often have to walk away from the others as this was very embarrising. Sometimes I seem on top of things and other days I seem abscent minded and very forgetful. I have talked with my doctor and he seems to think some of it was meds. He told me to trystopping certain meds one at a time for a week at a time and see how I felt. I found that some of my hypertension meds and cholesterol meds where some of the problem. As suggested above talk to your doctor, tell him exactly what is going on and your concerns and let him know you are looking for a better quality of life. I am really glad to have found this site and hope this has been of some help to you ' Kenneth

bodtec66
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Date Joined Jun 2012
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   Posted 6/24/2012 12:57 AM (GMT -6)   
On the lighter end of your note...my mother (74) had a heart transplant about 5 years ago. Now...oddly enough, she loves to watch baseball. lol. She will sit in front of the tv watching the Milwaukee Brewers with great interest. It is quite interesting for me and my two brothers to see Mom glued to the tv when baseball comes on. Dad just looks grins and nods. Lol. Yes, everything is normal otherwise. :)

stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/24/2012 8:54 AM (GMT -6)   
 
Welcome to HealingWell and thank you so much for sharing your story.  I have not had any heart surgery but do deal with depression and anxiety so I understand how you feel.  I was recently started on a statin medication for high cholesterol and noticed a huge jump in my depression symptoms - after some research I discovered the medication may cause depression or excerbation of existing depression. 
 
I think your Dr. may have a good idea in looking to see if your meds may be causing some of you symptoms.
 
A warm welcome to you and high fives for your Mother - she is now a baseball fan and is enjoying life which is so awesome.  I can picture your Dad grinning. She must have received the heart of one great and giving person. 
 
Thank you for spreading sunshine in our lives by sharing your story.
 
Kindly,
Kitt 
 

 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.



"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship" ~ Louisa May Alcott

aintright
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Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/24/2012 4:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes bodtec I too am glad for you. I didn't mean to sound so negative, I was just trying to share this with heartful3. Also I saw my doctor Friday and he prescribed some different meds for me that he thought would be better, with less side affects. I hope he's right. It is stuff working with your head in a tizzy, Anyway the depression has not been as bad in the last couple months. Some days are almostlike nothing ever happened . Wish you all well, Kenneth

bodtec66
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Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 6/26/2012 12:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank You Kitt for your welcome! I very much appreciate that. I am so happy to have found a forum that I can find support and give support as well. What a blessing.

Kenneth, I totally understand. I have had my plate full with heart disease for some 35 years. I fully understand how it can make a persons mood and personality take a roller coaster ride once in a while.

I have had heart disease since I lost my sister to it at her age of 13 back in 1974 when I was 7, so I have had more emotional rollercoaster rides than I could ever count, but I learned some 7-8 years ago to control the issues (anxiety-depression) instead of them controlling me. Now...the ride is not a roller coaster as it has been for so long, just a bumpy road from time to time. :) Best wishes to you.

PAguy
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Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/2/2013 5:17 AM (GMT -6)   
I can confirm that personality does change. I had an aortic valve replacement at age 37. Biggest mistake I ever made in my life.

I'd just moved to a new city and started a new job 5 months earlier. It took me months until I started feeling like a human being again. I was so tired and could not concentrate. Had the surgery done in May, and didn't start feeling better, with more stamina, until September. My employers were not sympathetic. I had a professional job. I could not concentrate and get the work done. I was feeling better all the time, but I guess they thought I was being a slacker. I was let go the next year.

I was living in Florida. I had to move back with my parents. I was unemployed for over 3 and a half years. I got very depressed, put on 60 pounds. Now I live in PA, and am underemployed. I have a professional degree, and the job I now have was advertised to be filled by someone with an associate's degree. I am earning a lot less money. I am living with my widowed mother, helping to take care of her.

I have grown very angry. I used to have empathy for people. Now I don't. I have really grown to not want to be around people. The only people I want to associate with are those who I have know for years. My father died about 2 months after I came to Pennsylvania.

The cardiac surgeon told me I had a substantial threat of imminent death. He operated on me three weeks later. Considering what butchery that surgery is, how horrible it is to go through and recover from, and my personality changes and what has happened in my life, I never would have let a surgeon touch me if I would have known what was coming in my life. The only good thing is that I had a tissue valve put in, so it will likely fail in 7-10 years. Can't happen soon enough for me. Every morning when I open my eyes I am so sorry I am alive.

Ginnyos
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Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/7/2013 10:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been married for 37 yrs. the first 20 were wonderful, we were best friends. Then at age 37 my husband had a heart attack. At age 40 he had a 5-way bypass. My husband literally went in one person and came out another. He went from a loving easy going guy to an absolute monster. That's been almost 20 years ago and I've gone through hell and back. What was really frustrating was that I was so confused about what was going on. I tried so many different avenues for answers and nobody had any answers for me. I asked our GP in personality changes were normal after heart surgery. He said he'd never heard of it, dismissed the whole thing as me being overly emotional. It's a very long story, but to make it short, my life was ruined by his heart surgery. All the so-called 'experts' were no help whatsoever, and acted like they'd never heard of it, even though personality changes after heart surgery have been well documented. A lot of the time they get better, so get some help and hang in there. I hope things work out well for you.

heartful3
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/16/2013 5:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Paguy
I am so sorry to hear how this surgery has effected your life. I know exactly how you feel. My surgery was 10 yrs. ago and my moods and depression are not getting better, in fact they seem to be getting worse. I feel the same as you do about how I feel when I wake up, I just don't want to be on this earth anymore. I feel guilty about feeling this way, but I can't help it when I feel so miserable most of the time.I have to say it brought tears to my eyes when I read your post. If I had known this surgery would have effected me in such a way as this, I never would have had it.I hope and pray that people like us can get a message out to the world what open heart surgery can and does do to the mind, so that people are aware this can and does happen. Then they can make a wise choice about having the surgery or not knowing that this can happen. Thank you for responding to this post, it helps a little knowing I'm not the only one that is feeling this way.

Nancee888
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/7/2013 6:30 AM (GMT -6)   
My spouse had a bypass 4 yrs. ago after a massive heart attack. He's basically a monster now. Goes off at the drop of a  hat--abusive nearly every day. He blames me for his moods and lack of emotional control. I can't even remember him before the bypass. I do remember he wasn't like this! I guess the lesson I've learned is not to ever get married again; I'm at the breaking point. No therapist could help him, meds maybe. But, if I mention it at the doc's office, I'm sure he'll fly into a rage after. I'm sorry to say, but I truly wonder why God didn't just take him then? The medical profession "saves" lives, but destroys the person and family in the process. And this coming from an RN.

Will-Sandy
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 577
   Posted 9/7/2013 6:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh god something else to look forward too cry
Diagnosed 1972

Using the Onetouch Ping pump

Heart Attack Oct 6 2011, 3 stent inserted, Heart Attack Feb 13, 2012 Barbados, Blocked stent, new stent inserted March 7, 4 Heart Attacks July and August 2013, open Heart Surgery (Bypass) Aug 28, 2013

Age 57

LastBanana
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/17/2013 11:00 PM (GMT -6)   
It happens sometimes, but it doesn't have to happen. A friend of mine just had an aortic valve replaced nine months ago without any outward personality changes. On he other hand a cousin of mine had bypass surgery on two separate occasions and afterward he was a serious PIA. To be completely honest though he wasn't much fun to be around before his surgeries.
I'm facing an aneurysm repair soon. Not much choice, fix it or die from it. I do not think that I will change for the worst. Medications could be part of the problem. I have noticed that since my cardiologist added Lopressor to my meds that numbers make less sense and I have to concentrate a little harder to count out change.

Browncloud
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/8/2013 6:31 PM (GMT -6)   
In 2005 I had come to within two weeks of death due to a prolapsed mitral valve. As God is my witness, if I had known in advance about the personality I would undergo after the surgery, I would have refused it. Even death is better than having become a person I don't like. Neither does anyone else.

RayCFla
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Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/12/2014 8:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Greetings...
 
I had a heart attack and four way bypass in 1999 at age 42.  I had two "cardiac interventions" (felt real bad the previous week working out on treadmill which I did three times a week at gym and had for a long time.)
 
I did get physical rehab after surgery, no mental counseling at all.  Was on beta blockers but stopped after a few weeks due to side effects.  I can tell you the surgery changed my personality.  I lost a lot of memories, especially early childhood, that was immediate, and some not to distant ones.  Just gone, vacations we were on as a family, I had no clue we ever went on them when they were brought up a month after surgery. (still don't).
 
Worse, I am quick to temper, I used to do many things that required a lot of patience, but no more, very little patience.  (God bless my wife) Hard for me to sit through a movie.  I am very emotional, very.  A commercial showing the American Flag and a child saluting it will make me choke up, getting an award at work and I cannot speak choked up.  I REFUSE to watch emotional roller coaster movies, or violent movies.  DISNEY is my friend, although I loved cartoons before.  The very limit of violence I can handle  in movies, and it is very hard is the Lord of RING series.  I can be distracted easily, but I work at that so I can focus and get by it.  (I do have to work).  Depression hits sometimes, and some days I feel like I am going through the motions.  Am on Welbrutin but not helping I dont think.  Am on Statins for cholestrial.
 
Suffer from headaches all the time, take topomax for that.  It does impact your emotional balance.
 
Now, I clearly understand that if I have lack of circulation in the heart, most likely have it in brain, so will have memory issues, and maybe mood issues.  However, these were immediate after surgery.
 
Mental health issues, need attention....such as this.  Heart lung machine?  The enzimes that indicate a heart attack? What is it?   My father, same way.......exactly.
 
RayCfla tongue yeah

lpfowlie
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/29/2015 10:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Married to a man for 47 years, he has the personality change too, mean hateful, verbally abusive etc, would like to know if anyone here has gotten any help???want him to see a Dr, but which one? Thanks

neil2524
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2014
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 1/29/2015 10:33 AM (GMT -6)   
had heart valve rep 7 yrs ago, find myself more emotional about things and more chilled if that makes sense,
had heart valve surgery 2008. replaced with a nice porky pig one

UserANONYMOUS
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Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 3475
   Posted 2/2/2015 12:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello lpfowlie and neil2524,

Welcome to the forum!

My father had open heat surgery twice. Both times his moods was different after surgery. He was mean and would say hurtful things. After surgery, some patients become depressed which I think causes their personality to change.
They may also have a lot of pain which contributes as well.

I recall that the doctors did tell us about this. They also said that during surgery, sometimes different nerves are affected so this can cause a change.

UA
Moderator - Bipolar

Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder.
Chronic Pain - Cervical Kyphosis, Cervical Spondylosis, Thoracic Scoliosis.

THE HAPPY TURTLE
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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 15563
   Posted 2/3/2015 5:04 AM (GMT -6)   
double by-pass. it has actually got me moving.first attempt surgery an induction drug caused anaphalaxis. code was called. 2 weeks later second go was successful but ended up in icu, from just coming out with breathing difficulties and was reintubated, went into renal failure and i believe inotropic failure. something like that. just had another bladder surgery as i was having breathing difficulities in recovery and reintubated. recent obstructive sleep apnea rem hyperventilation. cpap a bit over a month. realing helping. with the heart surgery spent 32 days in there. was a mess. stopped smoking, eat good etc.
THE HAPPY TURTLE.

'YESTERDAY IS A BUTTERFLY WITHOUT WINGS' BY JAMIE

'JUST DO IT'!!

REMEMBER TO LOVE YOU. BE YOU AND BE TRUE.

Auggie RN
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/3/2015 7:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I had aortic valve replaced with mechanical one when I was 30 yrs old. Its been 12 years now. I am a cardiac registered nurse at a well known hospital in AZ. After my surgery, I noticed my mental functionality was off. I felt foggy and detached. I told my pcp that something was wrong. My doc sent me to see a psychiatrist. They had me do some cognitive tests, etc. Apparently I checked out ok. But they didn't have data to compare it to (before my surgery). over the years, I have noticed further decline in recall, worst bright lights in my vision, depression, inattention, more senile, dizziness and "dumber" as I would tell mydoc.
Well, some post cardiac surgery patients that would come back to the hospital would tell me (upon my asking) of very similar complaints which they attributed to just getting older. But it obviously bothered them. When I asked none post surgery patients the same questions, they deny these symptoms. In other words, the non post surgery patients do not identify a definite change in their mental functioning. At this point, I think I'm having lasting and worsening symptoms of pump head.
Some Cardiac surgeons have told me that some post heart surgery patients have had mental decline, but they did not know why exactly.
There are at least 5 patients post heart surgery (placed on the pump) that I know personally (I've been working here for 8 years now) that have had significant mental decline. Speech is grossly worst, their walking balance is consistently worst. I cant say, obviously, if this is pump head. But I am highly suspicious that it might be.

Dillonba
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/6/2015 12:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I posted this on a different link about Postperfusion Syndrome. This link has more activity so I thought I'd try it. My answers below are to the questions a member posted for me.

Is this 'pumphead'?
This is a bit of what I have read about Pumphead: Postperfusion syndrome, also known as "pumphead", is a constellation of neurocognitive impairments attributed to cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) during cardiac surgery. Symptoms of postperfusion syndrome are subtle and include defects associated with attention, concentration, short term memory, fine motor function, and speed of mental and motor responses. Studies have shown a high incidence of neurocognitive deficit soon after surgery, but the deficits are often transient with no permanent neurological impairment.

I since have been told that in larger cities at better hospitals the caregivers are "coached" about the possibilities after returning home after CABG. I brought my husband home from the hospital twice "cold turkey" and I struggled with frustration about his reluctance to get up and move. I still don't have any answers. Just keep hearing "it will take time". We are now 7 weeks out and he is the same if even slightly worse than the first hospital release day. He has been in a skilled nursing facility for the last two weeks and is making very little progress.

Is the congestive heart failure under control, is the clot in his leg resolved?
CHF is controlled by Lasix every other day rotation if 20mg-40mg
Clot is being treated with Warfarin blood thinner depending on the INR results.

Was the CABGx4 elective or an emergency procedure?
Emergency procedure after 4 days in ICU to stabilize his blood platelets, fluid in lungs and kidney function. All were treated as well as possible. He had been treated for who know what, pneumonia, bronchitis?? with antibiotics from urgent care the whole month before he ended up in the ER because he was coughing up blood. Really bad calls. Doctors said he probably was having silent heart attacks that whole month.

Did he have AFib prior to surgery?
No history of AFib until he was in ICU. The day before surgery the surgeon explained the need for the Cox Maze procedure.

Did he have an MI prior to surgery? Did you mean MRI? If so the answer is no.

Did he have longstanding angina or was this all 'out of the blue'?
No angina. He was a walking time bomb. Doctors referred to his blockage as a widow maker. He resisted taking blood pressure meds for the past 5 years because he didn't like the way he felt after taking them. At his last visit to his primary doctor prior to heart attack, it was agreed that if he monitored his BP and it stayed below the normal 135/85, he didn't need to take the BP med. It had been in the 120's for two months. He was prescribed thyroid medication but didn't refill the prescription out if neglect. Those are the only two prescriptions my husband has ever been on. He was told he could treat his borderline diabetics and cholesterol with diet and activity.

Was he active prior to surgery?
My husband worked hard all day, every day on our 15 acre property. He cut and split 4 cords of oak every year for the past 12 years. Bucked hay bales for our small herd of sheep. Mowed an acre of grass.
He has never smoked, had a drop of alcohol, or taken any drugs. Now he is taking:
75mcg Levothyroxine for thyroid
200mg Amiodarone fit Arrythmias only if his BP is above 110 (it rarely has been)
20-40mg Lasix
12.5mg Metoprolol twice a day -Beta blocker if BP is above 120
40mg Atorvastatin for Lipitor
20mg Potassium Chloride
Warfarin as prescribed from INR -for blood thinning
Vit C, prenatal vit for iron
40mg Pantipraxole - acid reflux for all the meds
150mg Bupropion for depression
15mg Restoril -sleeping pill
5mg-325 Norco for pain which he hasn't had but requests for sleep
Klonopin (on hold because it will make him even more lethargic) for anxiety
His severe anxiety and depression after surgery is leaving me baffled. Is it pumphead or his reaction to all the meds. Will taking the anxiety med help?
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