Re: fluid buildup after open heart surgery
well the cough itself is probably caused by the fluid. Not to scare you but fluid build up in the lungs may be a sign of congestive heart failure or pleural effusion. I would check with his doctor and ask him/her/them what they think the build up of fluid is caused by.
Here are some links, the first one scroll down to the "after" section. These are only for informational purposes, not to diagnose your father or to scare the beegebees out of you.
Below is from http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/clinicalAreas.asp?pageContent=HC-nh3-04i
"Pleura" refers to the lining on the lungs. It produces, between an inner and outer layer, a fluid that acts as a lubricant to help the functions move smoothly. Pleural effusion refers to a build-up of too much fluid in the lungs following surgery.
Usually the fluid goes away on its own, however it can last a while (persistent effusion), affecting either one side of the lungs or both. When it continues on, it can be an indicator of fluid building up in other parts of the body, heart failure, chylothorax, or infection. It is more common after certain surgical procedures done on the heart, like the Fontan, which results in higher pressure in the veins after surgery.
below is from http://www.providence.org/everett/programs_and_services/Heart_Institute/AskaDoc.htm
Question: My dad has just been diagnosed with heart failure, and has trouble breathing. Are there any exercises he can do to improve his lung capacity?
Answer: It is likely that his shortness of breath is not due to poor lung capacity per se but rather to the fact that heart failure often results in fluid build-up in the lungs, which makes it difficult to exchange oxygen/carbon dioxide in the lungs, resulting in the symptom of shortness of breath. So, the goal is to reduce the fluid buildup through the proper combination of medicines, and sodium and fluid restriction. A simple program of exercise such as short walks, 5-20min several times per day and light dumbbell exercises for arm strength may help overall fitness, but this should not be done until the heart failure and its symptoms are well controlled. See Exercise and Congestive Heart Failure (link goes to here http://www.providence.org/Everett/Health_Resource_Centers/Heart_Disease_Center/chfexercise.htm)