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Old 05-19-2013, 06:16 PM   #1
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pericardial effusion

About four weeks ago, was getting increasingly winded and started to have episodes where I couldn't get a breath. My primary thought it was reactive airway due to a sinus infection and gave me inhalers. A week later, my symptoms were getting worse so a ct of the chest was ordered. It showed a large pericardial effusion. I was seen as an urgent patient by a cardiologist two hours later, had an echo and admitted to the hospital where I had one liter of blood drained the next day. I was sent home the following day. Three days later, symptoms returned and a new echo showed fluid returning but this time the aortic chamber was collapsing. This time a cardiac thoractic surgeon drained me, did a window and biopsy. The biopsy showed idiopathic pericarditis. Yesterday, when I changed the bandage on the hole from the site the drain had been, the discharge was turning from yellow to GREEN. The doctor did a white count which was elevated, cultured me and put me on two antibiotics which I started yesterday and am taking until the results of the culture come back. Last night, 6 days post op, I got sudden sharp pains under the left breast extending into my shoulder and neck. The only thing that helped the pain was sitting up. I called the cardiologist on call this morning and he felt that I was experiencing pain from pericarditis. He phoned in colchicine. I took my first dose this morning and am also taking ibupoferine. I am 57 an until now NEVER had any cardiac problems at all. Talk about coming out of the clear blue!!!!! How long does it usually take for the colchicine to really kick in. Could the possible surgical infection have caused the sudden pericarditis pain?

 
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:29 PM   #2
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Re: pericardial effusion

Yes, but given the severity of your situation, if you are still having the pain, I would go back to the ER. Pericardial pain is usually in center of chest. The fact that this is left sided radiating into shoulder and jaw is concerning that the effusion may be reducing the blood flow to the heart muscle itself. It would be best to rule that out (angina or a heart attack) and keep a close check on your white count, drainage, have you on oxygen, monitor your EKG, cardiac enzymes, etc. I would also want them to check for lupus with an ANA blood test, as that is a common cause of pericarditis. Colchicine can work quickly (as an antiinflammatory agent) but it all depends on the dose and frequency you were prescribed.

 
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:05 PM   #3
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Re: pericardial effusion

Thank you for reply. I no longer have the pain radiating up the shoulder and neck, just the surgical pain and discomfort under the left breast , but the discomfort is not as severe. By the third dose of antibiotics, the discharge gas become yellow again and is very slight. Hopefully the infection was caught early and will resolve. I am able to pitta patter around for five or ten minuted without getting winded; however walking up and down the steps or overdoing still makes me winded for a few minutes. I have not had the sensation that I could not breathe since the second time I was drained. I was told to go to the er if I developed a fever or breathing or symptoms worsen. I am scheduled to have a repeat echo on Wednesday. I have had an extensive workup by a rheumatologist, immunologist and ENT. So far they have only found non specific Inflammation. My local ENT had referred me to both an ENT and immunologist out of Mt Sinai in NY who have done the work ups. I am scheduled to see the cardiologist a week after the echo as long as nothing of concern shows up. It is insane how all of this developed out of the blue!!! Thank goodness the immunologist didn't just put me on more meds when I told her the inhalers weren't working but instead thought to rider a chest ct to make sure nothing else was going on. After spending ten days in the hospital , I will do everything possible to stay safely at home!!!!!!!!

 
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:16 PM   #4
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Re: pericardial effusion

It sounds like the antibiotic is working and hopefully the colchicine will calm down the inflammation that started this.. I hope the echo on Wed looks better and culture verifies you are on correct antibiotic. Be sure to finish the entire course of antibiotics.

 
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:28 PM   #5
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Re: pericardial effusion

Thanks again. It sounds as if you have had some first hand experience with this

 
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