Early Mobilization after Aortic Valve Surgery


In recent years, the focus in peri-operative care of cardiac patients has shifted from trying to create a stress-free environment to hasten the recovery of patients by providing early extubation, early mobilization, and enteral nutrition. Fast-track cardiac surgery has therefore made a paradigm shift in postoperative care. However, evidence on the safety of early postoperative mobilization in high-risk groups like aortic valve replacement surgery is lacking. Physiological evidence from controlled studies in patients undergoing aortic valve replacement (AVR) showed that heart rate increases and stroke volume falls with maintenance of cardiac output. However, the increase of 50% to 60% of oxygen consumption during mobilization is covered by increased oxygen extraction, resulting in marked mixed venous oxygen desaturation. These physiological changes during postoperative mobilization were also seen in CABG patients. The mobilization pattern was also maintained on the second day after surgery. No serious side effects were observed in the controlled trials of mobilization of AVR patients after cardiac surgery. Over a 13-year period, we have mobilized more than 1200 AVR patients. No serious situations have occurred during or in direct connection to mobilization.


Idar Kirkeby-Garstad, M.D.; Olav F Münter Sellevold, M.D., Ph.D., St. Olav University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway

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