Recovery from a TAVI

TAVI for aortic stenosis

You will recover in hospital for 1 to 2 days after the procedure, so you can be monitored by your heart team. Some people need to stay in hospital for longer. 

After you've left hospital, you'll need a family member, friend or carer to stay with you for 2 days. This is to help you with day to day activities so you can rest and recover. 

It can take up to 2 to 3 months for a full recovery from the TAVI procedure.

Try to be patient, and take care of yourself.

If you do not have family or friends to help you, please speak to your heart team.

Your medicines

You might some discomfort where the catheters were put in. This should improve within a week or 2. Your heart team can give you pain medicine to take home with you, if you need it.

You will be given a discharge letter before you leave hospital, and a copy will be sent to your GP. This will detail what has happened to you in hospital and which medicine you are taking.

You might need to take more than 1 type of blood thinning medicine to stop blood clots forming on your new heart valve. You will be told how to take these, and how long to take them for before you are sent home from the hospital.

You might be given leaflets or cards explaining how to take some medicines.

You will also be told about any other changes to your existing medicine. 

Please ask your heart team any questions you have about your medicines before you leave hospital. If you have concerns when you are at home, you can contact your GP or contact our pharmacy medicine helpline.

Caring for your wound

You will have a wound on your groin, where an incision was made to put the catheter in. Your heart team will give you information about caring for your wound before you leave the hospital. 

It is normal for both groins to be tender and bruised for a few days after the procedure.

Your nurse will check the wound before you leave hospital. You should not need a dressing by the time you go home, but your nurse will give you spare dressings if you need them. There is no need for you to cover the wound unless your heart team tell you to. 

Any stitches in the groin will either dissolve over the following weeks, or your heart team will ask that you visit your GP practice nurse to have the stitches removed.

  • Do not use very hot water on the wound for 2 weeks after your TAVI procedure.
  • It is better to shower rather than have a bath during this time.
  • Do not use soap or shower gel on the wound until it is properly healed, and avoid using talc.

Bleeding from your wound

If your groin starts to bleed, lie down flat and put pressure on the area. Keep your leg as straight as possible, and keep your head down.

If the bleeding stops within 10 minutes, keep your leg as still as possible for the next hour.

Contact 999 or ask someone to take you to A&E if:

  • the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes
  • the bleeding stopped, but then restarts again

You can visit your nearest emergency department (A&E), but do not drive yourself there.


Physical activity after a TAVI

Avoid anything that might put a strain on your groin for 2 to 3 weeks after the procedure.

For the first 2 weeks after your surgery, it's best to exercise little and often. Begin by walking around the house and taking short walks outside. Once you're comfortable walking on flat ground, try walking up hills slowly, resting as you need to.

Try to do two 15 minute walks each day, 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.

Everyone has a slightly different recovery speed. As soon as you're walking comfortably around, you can do light housework such as washing up, dusting, laundry or small amounts of ironing (while sitting down).

At week 3 or 4 after the procedure, try to gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do, if you feel able to. You might find this difficult if you have mobility problems. Only do what you can manage.

None of these activities should make you feel extremely short of breath (breathless). If they do, you are working too hard and need to slow down.

Always wait at least 1 hour after eating before you exercise, and plan exercise into your day to avoid taking on too much and tiring yourself out. It is normal to feel easily tired for a few weeks.

Keeping active is very important, but you should avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for 6 weeks after the procedure.

Remember, everyone is different so exercise at a level that feels right for you.

Sex

You can have sex when you feel ready. This is usually within 4 to 6 weeks after the TAVI procedure.

Talk to your partner about when you both feel happy and comfortable. It's normal to feel anxious the first time you think about sex after your surgery, and you might have some questions.

  • Avoid positions which will put pressure or strain on your wound.
  • You might become tired quicker, so take your time.

Some of the medicines you are taking might affect sex. It can feel awkward or uncomfortable to talk about, but your GP and heart team are there to support you. Please ask them any questions you have.

Driving

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) do not permit driving for 4 weeks after your TAVI.

You do not need to tell the DVLA about your TAVI, unless you have a Group 2 licence for heavy goods or public service.

You should tell your insurance company about your procedure. This will avoid problems with any claims you might make in the future.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has more information on driving with a heart condition.

Flying

You might be able to fly 2 to 4 weeks after the procedure. However, this is not possible for everyone.

If you are planning a holiday, it might be better to wait at least 6 weeks before travelling, as it is unlikely that you will get the best out of your break before then.

  • If you wish to fly within 3 months of your procedure, check with your doctor and the airline, as each has its own procedure.
  • Remember to make sure that you have valid travel insurance.

Emotions

As well as affecting your physical health, having a TAVI procedure can also affect you emotionally.

Moods and feelings can easily change from one extreme to another. People who have surgery often say that they find themselves being ‘snappy and short’ with those around them.

You might feel depressed, tearful or irritable one minute and on top of the world the next. This is a normal part of recovering from surgery, and these feelings will pass.

Talk to your family, friends and GP about how you are feeling. If you have a partner they might also have high levels of anxiety and depression, so it's important they ask for support too.

The British Heart Foundation has information about emotional support and wellbeing.

Cardiac rehabilitation

Your heart team might arrange for you to go to cardiac rehabilitation. This takes place at your local hospital, and involves exercise and general health discussions.

This rehabilitation will start about 6 weeks after your TAVI procedure.

Make sure you attend any other follow-up appointments.

Resource number: 5108/VER1
Last review date: November 2020
Next review date: November 2023

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Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns about your TAVI procedure, please contact your heart team.

Phone: 020 7188 1093

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Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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