Post Heart Surgery Personality Change

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/5/2016 10:30 AM (GMT -6)   
I know this topic has been covered but as the spouse of someone having post heart surgery personality change I just needed somewhere to vent. My husband had mitral valve replacement in August 2015. He's not the same guy I married 46 years ago. He was a very sharp, outgoing person, very affectionate and open. Now he's quiet and sullen. After being a very affectionate husband now there's nothing. He doesn't want to go on antidepressants. He does still work which I think helps him but at home he just sits in front of the TV with very little communication. I would appreciate any suggestions or support. I think I'm going to ask for antidepressants to help me deal with this change in our lives.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 1157
   Posted 2/5/2016 12:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I had aortic valve replacement 4 years ago.

It sound like depression. Has he talked to anyone about his experience? If he's not interested in therapy, maybe a local support group? Adding medication to a list you already have isn't always appealing and for some it feels like an added weakness.

These experiences are so different for everyone and can be quite traumatic. Talking to someone that has shared a similar experience can be hugely comforting. Sometimes sharing our fears about health isn't easy with a loved one as we don't want that to weigh on you and we don't want to feel like a burden.

Problems with health can be life altering and can really mess with your reality. For some it can make you realize life it short and you want to do everything you can to make it better and full and amazing. For others that reminder that it's short and we aren't invisible and can have the complete opposite effect adding fear and depression.

I'm in the first category although I've lived with my heart problems since birth. I certainly don't have the answer for the second category, but I volunteer to talk with children and their parents at our local pediatric hospital and have spoken at support groups, and know that there is a lot of comfort found in those that have been through the same things. Seeing others lives that are full and good can be comforting. I would look for one and see if you can get him to go. Or go to one yourself and see if you can meet some folks yourslef. You might meet another caregiver going through the same challenges.

best of luck.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/5/2016 12:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for your suggestions. He's a big strong, independent guy and I'm not sure I could get him to talk to anyone. We do have a good friend who has also been through aortic valve replace. I think we need to visit with them more as he also has some personality changes. Again, thank you for your note.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 5887
   Posted 2/5/2016 1:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Peggy its a tough one. It may be just time, thats needed, or it may be some tough love. It would be great if you could get him to talk to a professional, but it sounds like he's not that guy.

I got really depressed for about a month or two after i was diagnosed with CAD and had stents put in. I knew exactly why. Mortality was smacking me in the face. Going on a long trip helped, we had preplanned a trip to Alaska and Vancouver, so being away for 10 days and always being busy and with friends helped get me out of my funk. Not only because i was busy, but because it made me realize that i can still have fun. Maybe this is something you should consider. Give it some thought...

One other thing, and i hope this is not the case .... my father many years ago had open heart surgery, triple bypass, and was never the same from the moment he came out of surgery. He was sullen, never talked, and eventually developed dementia. Wasnt a good ending so i wont continue, but i know this is more common than Doctors talk about after open heart surgery. They kept telling me that t would resolve in a year or two, but it didnt. I'm convinced something happened during surgery. I hope thats not the case with your husband, but it might be worth a conversation with his Doctors as well.

Good luck
Dx Age 64 Nov 2014, 4.3
BX 3 of 12 cores positive original pathologyG6, G6, G8 (3+5)
downgraded to 3+3=6 by Dr Epstein, JH
RALP with Dr Ash Tewari Jan 6, 2015
Post surgical pathology – G7 (3+4), ECE, Margins, LN, SV all negative
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Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16583
   Posted 2/5/2016 2:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Peggy, my brother had to have his aortic valve replaced at 52. There was some complications getting his heart started again & he had a pretty tough recovery for quite a while. He was very depressed after he got out of the hospital for almost a year.

My best friend had several heart attacks with lots of procedures done & depression really hit her hard. In both of these instances both cardiologists told them up front there was a possibility of depression slipping in & changes in their personality. Apparently its pretty common.

Since you don't think hubby would be interested in getting some help get your friend to talk to him. That just may be what he needs to get him over the hump.
Moderator Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20254
   Posted 2/5/2016 7:53 PM (GMT -6)   
having a bloke who has been through similar will definitely help your partner. keep strong. heart operations take a big toll on the head and body. it gets better.



New Member

Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/6/2016 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for your suggestions and support. I will make arrangement for a get together with friends and take it one day at a time. Thank you!
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