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Numbness, needles, pins in sternum after AORTIC VALVE REPLACEMENT.

Resolved Question:

I had an open heart surgery on February 7th 2015 to replace my aortic valve. I was supposed to go home after a week but due to an infection had to remain in hospital for another 10 days.
The problem is that up to now I still have numbness in the sternum area & sometimes like sharp needles & pins. I also have some tightness on my chest. At the hospital I was told that this would last for at least 6 weeks but it is now on my 13th week & not much improvement. Can you help.
I have had a check up on April 7th as per attached & all seems to be in order.

Category: Cardiothoracic Surgeon

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Category: Pediatric Cardiologist
 32 Doctors Online

Thank you for your medical query at
I understand your concern.
I reviewed all your reports and they all seem normal. The numbness and the sharp pains are all due to the infection from the superficial skin incision. In some cases the infection may last longer than usual, but it will gradually subside. Since all your reports are normal, and there are no complaints of chest pain or breathlessness, there is nothing to worry.
Please feel free to discuss further,

Patient replied :

Thank you very much for your quick answer. The Infection was from the skin incesion & I was treated with antibiotics while in hospital. Do you mean to say that the numbness & sometimes pain is still due to that.

Yes, both the pain and the numbness can be attributed to the skin incision.
It will gradually subside.

Patient replied :

Sorry to bother you once again but I do not understand that after the infection was treated with anibiotics almost 3 months ago I still have chest numbness & at times pain.

Yes, it is definitely taking longer time to heal in your case.
However, in some cases patients have complained of similar complaints upto 6 months and even 1 year in a few cases.
As long as there are no complaints like shortness of breath, or palpitations, or left sided chest pain, there is nothing to worry about.

Patient replied :

Thank you so much for your help. I am much relieved now. I confirm that I have had no shortness of breath,palpitations or left sided chest pain.
What I am happy about is I can walk up to 4 miles non stop without any problem.
Thank you,

Dr. Rajiv Kumar Srivastava
Category: Pediatric Cardiologist
Banaras Hindu University Senior Residency: M.Ch. Cardio Vascular and Thoracic Surgery, 2000 - Lokmanya Tilak Hospital, Mumbai
Banaras Hindu University Residency: M.S.: Surgery 1986 - Institute of Medical Sciences 
Medical School: M.B.B.S. 1981- Institute of Medical Sciences
Dr. Rajiv Kumar Srivastava and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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