OSF St. Joseph Medical Center

Bloomington, Illinois

Valve Replacement

Valve replacement is a surgical replacement of a damaged valve due to stenosis, when the valve does not open fully, or insufficiency, also called regurgitation, when the valve does not close tightly. Different types of valve replacement may be done depending on patient's age, lifestyle, health, and life expectancy.

Every patient is unique, and our physicians will work closely with you to individualize your care and needs.

Preparing for Your Surgery

Patients work closely with our doctors and nurses prior to the procedure. During this time, you will be instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your procedure. Our staff will inform you what medications you can take the morning of your surgery. 

What to Expect

It is normal to feel some level of anxiety before your procedure. Our surgeons and staff are extremely caring and are here to answer all of your questions to give you peace of mind. 

The registration process varies depending on the scheduled time of your procedure. You will be given detailed instructions during your office visit. 

Your procedure takes approximately four to six hours. You should expect to stay in the hospital for at least four days. During your stay you will be seen by many people, including our Cardiac Rehabilitation staff.


You will be spending a few days in the intensive care unit (ICU), closely monitored by the nursing staff. Our goal is to have you up and moving as soon as possible after your open heart surgery.

At the time of your discharge, you will be given a follow-up appointment for two weeks. You will be provided instructions on a home walking program to be used before your follow up appointment.

Use all medications as prescribed.

Take your temperature and record it every morning for the first week after surgery.

Weigh yourself every morning for at least the first week after surgery and record it.

Do not lift more than 10 pounds (4.5 kg) until your sternum (breastbone) has healed. Avoid all activities which would place strain on your incision.

You may shower, but do not take baths until instructed by your physician.

Avoid driving for four to six weeks following surgery or as instructed.

Use your elastic stockings during the day. You should wear the stockings for at least two weeks after discharge or longer if your ankles are swollen. The stockings help blood flow and help reduce swelling in the legs. It is easiest to put the stockings on before you get out of bed in the morning. They should fit snugly.


Please bring the following to your appointment:

  • All your medicines in the original containers, including any vitamins and herbal supplements you may take
  • Your insurance card and/or Medicare card
  • A completed Medical History form
  • A government issued photo ID (Driver's license, etc.)

Should you need to cancel your appointment for any reason, please call 24-hours in advance whenever possible. If you cannot call at least 24-hours ahead, please call as soon as you know you need to cancel. Chances are, another patient can use your appointment time.