If You Had Valve Surgery
Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you have had your valve repaired or replaced. They may prescribe antibiotics before procedures, especially dental work, to prevent an infection from settling in your heart.
It is possible that you may be taking Coumadin, an anticoagulant commonly called a “blood-thinner.” Coumadin causes blood to take a longer time to form a clot. There are several points you should know about Coumadin. You will need regular blood tests (prothrombin time) to regulate the dosage of Coumadin. Your physician will arrange these tests for you. Look for signs of bleeding while you are taking Coumadin. Notify your physician if you have:
- Any abnormal bleeding
- Red or black bowel movements
- Pink or red urine
- Severe headaches, abdominal or lower back pain
- Faintness or dizziness
- Red or “coffee ground-like” vomit
- Excessive bruising
- Excessive nose bleeds
- Yellow or jaundiced skin
Take your Coumadin at the same time every day. Never make up for a missed dose by taking double the dose. Don’t take aspirin or any over-the-counter medications without first checking with your physician as this can cause bleeding while taking Coumadin. Excessive alcohol intake may also cause bleeding while taking Coumadin.
It is a good idea to carry a wallet ID card indicating that you are taking Coumadin.