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Old 12-27-2004, 07:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 89
Leeby HB User
had triple bypass, now breathing problems

My relative had triple bypass two weeks ago. Unfortunately she had to undergo two surgeries in less than 24 hours. Her chest had filled with blood and was compressing her lungs. She is still very sore and unable to go home yet. She has great difficulty breathing and is on breathing treatments and asthma medicine. She tries to walk but gets winded so easily. Just taking the short trip to the restroom causes her extreme breathing difficulty and pain. The doctors say that all test results look good and it will just take time. What do you think? Could this be permanent? Did you ever experience this?

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Old 12-28-2004, 01:44 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 22
slowgoer HB User
Re: had triple bypass, now breathing problems

Leeby, I had 5 bypasses in May of 03. After the surgery, I was on alot of oxygen because I had a difficult time breathing. The pulmonary specialist that took care of this area of my care told me that in some surgeries they have to move the heart around alot and as a result touched my lungs. By doing this they irritated them. He compared it to wrinkling aluminum foil. He said that it would take care of itself or smooth back out on its own. It took several months, but he was right. The feeling that I needed to gasp for air went away over time. The fact that your relative had bleeding in the chest cavity probably hasn't helped any, but trust the doctors. Open heart surgery in very invasive and takes a long time to recover from.

I think the biggest thing people have to learn from dealing with this is patience. Exercising, walking, is maybe the best thing if the doctors agree. Take care and tell your relative to not give up but also to give it time.

Old 12-28-2004, 01:02 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 1,567
goldenwings HB User
Re: had triple bypass, now breathing problems

Hiya Leeby,

Just to say I too had a triple bypass. The fluid build up caused me to have breathing problems. The thing is though, your relative has only just had the surgery. As slowgoer says, open heart surgery is so very invasive. Also, the rib cage needs time to knit back together, the scar down the front of the chest is so very tender, there are also holes in your abdomen where different tubes were that also have to heal.

I used a nebulizer for a short time whilst in hospital. As soon as I got home, walking short distances and then increasing the time walking helped my breathing. Also chest expansion exercises, very gentle ones mind you, helped the site to get more supple.

I used a rolled up towel pressed to my chest when I needed to cough or sneeze or anything that I had to hold my breath for. It was called "the baby" by the medical staff.

It all takes time. It's difficult I know, but let your relative know that in time it will honestly get better for her.


Last edited by goldenwings; 12-28-2004 at 01:04 PM.

Old 12-28-2004, 03:10 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
mamak HB User
Re: had triple bypass, now breathing problems

Hi All, I also had the triple bi-pass and breathing was difficult for me also. While in the hospital I had breathing treatments and at home was given a breathing machine to use for taking deeper breaths to build my lungs back up again. It's been 4 months since my surgery and I still gasp for air once in a while.
The main thing thats helped me is everyday gets a little bit easier. With your relatives surgery being so new I understand how hard things seem. I'm sure right now the thing thats going through her/his mind is "why did I let them do this". Sometimes I still wonder if I did the right thing. In my heart, I know the answer is yes but judging how its made me feel, its a definate, could I have gotten away without having the surgery. One thing that I'm hanging on day by day, is the promises that I'm going to feel so good once I've healed. I hang on to those words with my life.

Your encouragement that the relative is going to make it and will be a little bit better each day is the biggest contribution to them. Its a tough road and like everyone else has stated, it takes a lot of patience. God bless you and your relative and a prayer for speedy healing. Mama Kay

Old 12-28-2004, 05:50 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 89
Leeby HB User
Re: had triple bypass, now breathing problems

Thank you all for your advice. I shared it with her today. I think it helps to hear information from someone who's been there rather than from a doctor who just says it will get better. She's so frustrated because all of her tests are good. Oxygen level is always in the 90's. She doesn't understand why those things can be positive (thank God they are) while she feels no better. She continues to get pain medication and nebulizer treatments every six hours. We try to increase the use of her blow in bottles (not sure of their real name). She doesn't feel they help her immediately so she won't always do it. It's hard to see her upset by this. But, it's encouraging to know others had this and got well again. Thanks again! This board is a great tool. It's good for me to have somewhere to go with questions too.

Old 12-28-2004, 06:28 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
mamak HB User
Re: had triple bypass, now breathing problems

Leeby, Your welcome. I came to this board for answers too. It helps to know what to expect or what could be happening. I hope your relative feels better by the day. If your friend is having problems using the breathing tube, ask her if she was taught how to do it. A therapist handed me the tube and I thought trying to breath through that tube after my surgery would do me in. I asked a better therapist to show me what to do, she did and its really easy,didn't hurt as bad. It did help with my breathing.

Maybe with all of us coming here for questions, our minds can be eased. It helps to talk to others going through the same thing. Mama Kay

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