Complications from open heart surgery

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1125
   Posted 3/20/2016 3:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I usually am posting in the section on Crohn's disease for myself but unfortunately my mother(68) just recently went through emergency open heart surgery last week and I am desperate for advice and experiences of others. She has a long list of health issues including kidney problems, asthma that turned into copd (she was never smoker) and a bad back that has left her mostly wheelchair bound and over weight. She had aortic stenosis and ended up with a horrific infection in the heart that grew on the valve. By the time they found out what was wrong her co2 was so high she was basically unconscious and ended up unresponsive. They did emergency surgery and despite being given terrible odds she made it out of surgery. However recovery has been tedious. She's struggling to breathe and has too much congestion to use the bipap. She was doing really well yesterday and seemed like herself. All of the doctors seemed happy with her progress, but today she has struggled and can't stay awake or even talk.they had removed fluid around her lungs the other day which seemed to help but they said there is not enough to do it again. Doctors haven't been too much help today and it hard to get ahold of anyone. I am trying to stay calm but I am petrified. My mom is my only family and about all she is able to ask me is if she is going to die. Has anyone struggled with severe breathing issues after surgery and had positive outcomes?

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20279
   Posted 3/21/2016 6:08 AM (GMT -6)   
hi labrodite. yeah, I too have had heart surgery and breathing difficulties. mine post surgery, twice I have been re intubated and sent to icu; the heart surgery I was sent down after a few days as I could not breathe, went into acute renal failure and inotropic heart failure, and after a bladder surgery I was re intubated. my prob was a heavy smoker, diabetes, and overweight. I know use a cpap, if the pap aint happening use a fan to circulate air close to the head / face, it helps to get it in. when you can or if are able to get her out of the chair get movement happening, good for blood circulation and getting the oxygen flowing. arms swings, leg swings are real important. getting rid of the fluid is a bugger, movement helps with this. hoping things improve soon. let us know how things go. breathin wise. much better.



Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1125
   Posted 3/24/2016 6:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi happy turtle, thanks for your response. My mom was doing really well but today she was sleeping a lot, more like passing out and I tried to convince the nurses and the PA that her co2 must be high and they refused to believe me cause she would perk up when they would come in. Well after the whole day went by they finally checked it and her co2 is 84 and she is very hard to wake up. They put her back on bipap but she does not do wellon that because she still has a lot of congestion from the last intubation and that just cements it in. They warned me the only other thing they could do would be intubation but that that has very high risks of a poor outcome. So worried.
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