Pericardectomy

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Browniemom
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/5/2015 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone I am having a pericardectomy this month for constrictive pericarditis. Just wanted to share and see if anyone has any advice?? Very nervous and it is starting to hit me that surgery is fast approaching. Thanks,

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20098
   Posted 2/6/2015 2:56 AM (GMT -7)   
stay calm. do some deep breathing exercises if you feel nervous. remember that you are in safe hands. a little bit of nerves is quite normal actually. had a double by pass last year. sending many healing thoughts.
THE HAPPY TURTLE.

'YESTERDAY IS A BUTTERFLY WITHOUT WINGS' BY JAMIE

'JUST DO IT'!!

REMEMBER TO LOVE YOU. BE YOU AND BE TRUE.

arf007
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 2/19/2015 10:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi PenguinLuv,

I wondered if you can tell me more about your Pericarditis. I have been having issues for almost a full year after an upper respiratory type infection where I exercised way too strenuously during that time I was sick. All signs to me say I probably have Pericarditis as I have had stomach/lungs etc thoroughly ruled out and I continue to struggle with strenuous exercise etc.

I am getting ready to go follow-up with my doctor tomorrow, but basically nothing showed up on the tests I did last summer but I also caught my symptoms very very early like a few weeks after my illness and stopped all exercise and activity for several months because it was suggested that maybe Pericardits was what was going on. I resumed activity at a fraction of the level I was doing before and I am having troubles still. I am also having some heart palps now and I am not on any meds and a constant discomfort in my chest that is very tolerable, but it doesn't ever go away.

I just haven't felt "normal" in a really long time. I was super healthy and active prior to my illness last March, so it has been very hard for me and stressful in that regard. I am wondering if I have some chronic inflammation going on.... all the main tests i had done so early on when I was on my break from exercise and I wonder if that is why nothing showed up at that time. I have had everything done, but no tests since last August. when I am sitting and take in deep inspirations I feel it in my chest, but the weirdest I feel is when I am lying down flat.

I am pretty well-read up on the topic, but I am curious about other people's personal experiences if you could share, that would be very interesting to me to hear. All my problems started after this viral illness so It is hard for me to think that it is not the cause of what is going on now.

Thanks,
Amber

arf007
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 2/23/2015 11:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Cindy,

Thank you so much for your reply. I went to great Cardiologist, just got blown off though. The first one I saw was also not helpful at all. I work as an x-ray tech in an Orthopedic Surgeons office for about 22 Drs. Just not the "right" type of docs. LOL. But it was one of my ortho docs who suggested Pericarditis and I have heard a gazillion different diagnosis from all the different medical people I know. The one bad thing about working in the medical field. I know too much and too many people who think they know things. LOL.

I have basically passed every test I took from lung function test, stomach scope, treadmill stress test, echo, bloodwork, CT of chest and I even demanded my DR. order a cardiac MRI last August .. my last test that I have had done because I was going out of the country on vacation for a month. Anyways, upon my return in October I resumed teaching a couple hours a week at the gym although I changed my classes and got rid of a couple of the harder ones. I now have been teaching 3 hours a week at the gym but only one class has a lot of cardio. I notice towards the end I struggle a bit. I notice I am more fatigued than normal as I am normally a real go-getter type of person who never stops. I still am leaning towards the idea that I am having chronic inflammation although I never had chest pain more discomfort sometimes achy feeling.....except I noticed some chest pain today when I was over-exerting myself at the gym teaching during a strenuous part of class. Everything I feel feels deep in my chest under my sternum. I feel best standing up. I notice tolerable discomfort upon deep inspiration too. I can do pushups and things without pain so I don't think costrochondritis is the answer although I wish it was.

I took 3 months rest a couple weeks after my inital illness and took anti-inflammatories along with Prilosec to protect my stomach and ended up with really high blood pressure (for me) from the meds and had heart palps from the Prilosec (I believe it was the cause and read a lot about others having that issue too) once I went off the meds I felt somewhat better just because my BP went back down and the palps stopped and started trying to teach again since cardio #2 said I was fine and "not a cardiac problem" and managed a few weeks of classes before I took another month off for vacation in Sept. I feel like as my activity level has increased some that my symtoms are getting a little more noticeable/worse though and I am noticing my heart more when I am resting/sitting.

Do you have trouble lying flat in bed or notice your heart a lot more when laying down?

I am going to probably see yet another cardiologist my Dr. told me about sometime soon and get her assessment. I really want someone to run a few more tests, maybe another round of bloodwork and echo, ekg, to compare it what I had done previously to see if there are any changes since it has been quite a while since my echo last May. I have also just thought about saying to heck with it and going to the Cleveland Clinic as it is not too far of a drive from where I grew up and where my mom lives. I may have to go that route if no one here can figure something out. I just do not feel like my normal self, even though I can function. Its not a my normal level or even close to it. I checked most everything and my thyroid too, no tests for anything autoimmune though. I seriously doubt that is the issue, but there is a Rheumatology office next door to my work.


good luck with tapering off the Prednisone....it sounds like you are being treated by someone who knows what is going on and the right way to do things. When this all started, I went through a bout of the worst anxiety I have ever had due to reading to much on Google. I have since recovered from that, but that also caused sleepless nights and a couple borderline panic attacks. I am a hyper person to begin with and the 3 months off of physical activity truly made me a little crazy and made my anxiety a lot worse. My co-worker had Pericarditis and an effusion that had to be drained, she was told there was nothing wrong with her more than once initially she said. But that was years ago and she is totally fine now, but it sounds like her case only lasted a few months.

Thanks for letting me vent, it's good to hear about other people's experiences even if you aren't sure that is your issue or not.

Best wishes, keep us updated on how you are doing.

Amber

McAlhany
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/17/2015 7:55 PM (GMT -7)   
My dad had severe calcified constrictive pericarditis and just had successful robotic surgery by Dr. Balkhy at the University of Chicago. I did a lot of research on this and finally found someone that could perform a complete pericardectomy off pump robotically. We did go to Mayo Rochester (Dr. Schaff) but he did not think my dad was a good candidate as mortality rate was too high for conventional on pump surgery. So, after a lot more researching, I found Dr. Balkhy.

Helen in Atlanta

BlueLake
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/9/2016 10:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Helen in Atlanta or anyone who has gone through surgery for pericarditis

I have a similar situation. My dad (80 yrs old) seems to have constrictive pericarditis and might need to go through pericardectomy. Do you still recommend Dr. Balkhy in U of Chicago?
My Dad is not in US and wonder how much cost we are expecting without insurance.
I have been contacting Cleveland Clinic, which has Pericarditis center, but do you have any opinion on this place?

McAlhany
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 7/9/2016 11:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Bluelake,
I highly recommend Dr. Balkhy at the university of Chicago. First, there is no need to break the sternum since surgery is done robotically. Second, the university of Chicago is known to perform surgery on high risk patients such as an 80 year old whom others would turn away because they want they are more concerned about their "outcome" data looking good so they only take easier patients. Dr. Balkhy recently performed another high risk heart surgery on a 85 year old radio talk show host that turned out well. University of Chicago takes patients from other countries with no insurance and allows private pay.

McAlhany
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 7/9/2016 11:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Cleveland clinic has great reputation as well; but, as I recall, their top renowned surgeon retired a year or so ago. Also, they will perform traditional on pump surgery (most likely) that requires opening chest and sternotomy which will be tough for 80 year old.
University of Chicago responded promptly and scheduled surgery within 2 weeks after initial contact (all via email along with medical record/echo/Cath review). Dr. Balkhy corresponded with me directly via email and phone.

mtntravel
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/12/2016 11:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi McAlhany,
I require a pericardiectomy for chronic pericarditis - due to the pain of the inflammation rather than removal of fibrous tissue in constrictive pericarditis. I'm deciding between the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Balkhy in Chicago who has agreed to perform the surgery. I am leaning towards Chicago. May I ask why your family and dad ultimately decided to go with Dr. Balkhy? My only hangup is the surgeon at the Mayo Clinic has done more pericardiecomies than they've done robotically in Chicago, which is another indicator for surgical success.

Also, I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has had a pericardiectomy for chronic pericarditis and how /if your chest pain changed afterwards? I understand success is not guaranteed for this type of pericarditis but am desperate as I can't work/walk any distance/all activities are painful. I'm in my 30's and just want my life back so am willing to do this surgery to hopefully achieve that.
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