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Old 10-29-2006, 08:20 PM   #1
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Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

I'm wondering if anyone has heard of Asthma developing as a result of pulmonary emboli?

I was hospitalized in July for PE - there were two in one lung and several in the other. I was treated in the hospital with blood thinners and am still taking Warfarin.

In early August, I was given an Albuterol inhaler by my primary care physician after complaining of shortness of breath. By the end of August, I was feeling regular chest constrictions, and she ordered tests to rule out Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension and lung disease. My chest CT is clear now, as are my x-rays, but my Pulmonary Function Tests showed bronchial constriction which was labeled "Asthma."

Here's the thing, though: I don't have a lot of what I've come to understand as the typical symptoms of Asthma. I don't wheeze, and I don't cough up mucus.

On the other hand, I do have shortness of breath and chest constrictions - sometimes after triggers, and sometimes for no reason at all. I have pleuritic pain, and trouble breathing out.

When I finally got in to see a pulmonologis, I was sure he'd say, "No, this is not Asthma; it's related to your PE." but he did not - He put me on Singulair to treat Asthma, and said "Yeah, well, it could be related." (Could be?) I am taking the Singulair to give it a try, and after two weeks (the time it takes to build up in your system) my symptoms are only marginally better.

My questions are, has anyone experienced similar symptoms after PE? (Chest constrictions; difficulty exhaling.) Was it diagnosed as Asthma?

Also, has anyone been diagnosed with Asthma who was not wheezing or coughing a lot?

My fear is that I have been misdiagnosed, and I am loosing function that I won't get back.

Thanks in advance, everyone.

 
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:03 AM   #2
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

I know it has been a while since this thread was started but I hope that you are still on the board. I also had multiple bilateral PE's. And I now have horrible shortness of breath. Some days I can not even walk to the bathroom. I am confined to the couch for the most part. I am on oxygen at night and as needed during the day. My lung function test were "normal" for the most part. what ever normal is. The doctors can not find a reason for the continued problems. My first PE was in Nov. 2004 and second was sept 2005. So it has been a period of time. my left lower lobe did infarct with the first clot and that is one thing they said could be causing problems. I tried one inhaler but it didn't do anything for me. I am only 26 and have a 3 ;year old, i do not want to live life on the couch. but they say there is nothing they can do.

have you been to get a second opinion? give us an update if you are still around. Do they know what caused your blood clots?

j

Last edited by npainnTN; 11-30-2006 at 10:08 PM.

 
Old 11-30-2006, 05:24 AM   #3
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Hi, J

I'm sorry to hear about your lack of progress since your PE.

Funny you should have replied to this post yesterday; at the time you wrote it I was seeking a second opinion!

Unfortunately, I have nothing new to report; the second doctor also diagnosed my condition as "asthma." My lung function tests are also within the normal range. Exhaling improves with Albuterol, so I guess the feeling is if I want to feel better, I should take it.

The Singulair from the first doctor relieved my symptoms somewhat, but it interrupted my sleep so I went on Pulmacort. On that, I'd wake up feeling OK, but my symptoms would return by mid-afternoon. The doctor I saw yesterday has put me on Advair - I'll see how that goes.

The second doctor has ordered stress tests to see if the chest pains are heart-related problems.

Do you experience any pain or constriction with your shortness of breath? Have you been diagnosed as Asthma? I always thought that Asthma meant that you had attacks, and I don't - I am either symptomatic or medicated. That, and the chest pains and constrictions make me doubt the diagnosis. I can't believe this is not related to my PE, but even the second doctor said it "could be."

I don't know what you're weight is like; I'm 43 and overweight so I'm going to try harder to reduce. I was dong pretty well in September and October (1 to 2 lbs a week) but I haven't felt like exercising and it all came back on. I'm thinking I should try to recondition my lungs as much as I can and build up my endurance. Even if that means pushing through the shortness of breath and discomfort, I feel I should try - even just 5 minutes a day. Do you think you could manage that?

As to the PE, no reason has been uncovered. I will likely be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. Do you know the reason for yours, and more importantly, do you know how you were able to have a recurrence after having had the first episode?

By the way, while it's true I have not been checking back to this board, I to receive e-mail notification when a thread I've posted to gets updated; if you don't, you can probably set that up in the menu above where it says "User CP." (This forum uses the vBulletin format, which is one I'm familiar with elsewhere.)

Sorry I was not more helpful - good luck to both of us, I guess.

 
Old 11-30-2006, 10:31 PM   #4
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Hi Suz, I am glad that you subscribed to the thread. It is nice to hear that someone feels like I do. Not that I would wish this on my worst enemy, but its nice to know you are not alone.

I do not know that much about asthma. I know that you do not have to have just "attacks" to actually be diagnosed with it. And there are lots of symptoms they some people do/don't have. But it does kind of sound like you do have the asthma, just because of the constriction symptom. Do you only have trouble exhaling? OR, do you have trouble inhaling as well? I don't really have trouble with that part, as much as just feeling like I am not getting enough oxygen. When I walk I get really winded and breath fast to try and get more oxygen I guess. I don't really know why. But, I also have severe leg pain from the clot that was in my leg. (the second set of clots one of them was in my leg, it went all the way from my knee to hip) So, the valves in the veins are now destroyed, keeping the blood from flowing like it should. So this also contributes to my breathing issues. The inhalers did nothing for me, on the lung function test or in everyday life. I took advair for about 6 weeks. It didn't help me at all. I am like you, I just wish they could figure out what is going on. For me, I know that all of these problems stem from the clots, but they just can't figure out how to fix it. I have not worked in over a year now. I loved my job so much. and of course, I got denied for disability and my long term disability. But, some days are so bad that I have trouble even walking to the bathroom without almost passing out. Does your breathing get like this?

They told me that the birth control patch is what caused my clots. They are not sure why I got the second set. I had stopped my coumadin about 6 weeks before it happened. The recommended time on coumadin was 6 months. I did it for almost 9. Now I will be on it the rest of my life. No ifs ands or buts about it. Which I hate. It sucks having to take a handful of pills everynight. but hopefully in time it will get better. I can only pray and have faith that it will. My baby really needs her mommy back full time.

Yes, I am not overweight. When I was admitted to the hospital with my first set of clots, I weighed 120 pounds. I now weigh between 178-182. I can not get it off. Of course a lot of it is lack of exercise but still I wasn't this big when I had my daughter. lol. I do try like you said to push through the pain and shortness of breath but some times I just can't. I really try to walk to the mailbox or walk at the store when I go, but most of the time, I have almost fainted half way there.

I just hope that they can find out what is wrong with both of us, so that we can both get back to our lives.

talk to you soon
j

 
Old 12-27-2006, 09:37 AM   #5
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Hello,
I am sorry to hear of your troubles. I think my situation is similar.
My history is this-I had a pulmonary Embolism in 2001 and again in 2006(just this past Thanksgiving)The second PE was far more serious than the first. I had extreme pain around my heart and it was nearly impossible to breathe. In the emergency room I was given blood thinners and morphine and a CT scan showed massive multiple bilateral clots in my lungs. I was sent home after 2 days. The first PE I stayed in the hospital 2 and 1/2 weeks but now they sent me home with a self-give shot pack of Lovenox and Warfarin. My problem is that whenever I do anything remotely strenuous( walking up the stairs, taking a shower and getting dressed, walking through the store, etc.) I get to breathing very heavy and sometimes my nose tingles and I become a bit dizzy.
My doctor is following through pretty well. He sent me to a Hemotologist and a Cardiologist and I will be seeing a Pulmonary specialist in January. The Hemotologist couldn't find any reason for the PE. The Cardiologist says there is nothing wrong with my heart. He gave me a stress test(nuclear injection due to my inability to walk the treadmill) and an angiogram. Both tests came up normal. My oxygen levels are fine (with the meter they put on the finger).I am quite discouraged at this time because so far the medical world sees nothing clinically wrong with me and yet my breathing is not functioning properly. When I sit down or move slowly I am fine. It's only when I pick up the pace or bend over, that type of thing, that brings me trouble. These are the activities I carry out with my job and my doctor will not allow me to retun yet. I would like to go back to work but at this point I would have difficulty. Two years ago I was running 5 miles a day 3 days a week and working out in between. I stopped that program to renovate a home I bought. Then came this PE and my health plummeted. I am sorry these things are happening to you. It seems that I am suffering similarly. Maybe I have developed asthma also I don't know.

 
Old 12-27-2006, 09:41 AM   #6
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Smile Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Hello,
I am sorry to hear of your troubles. I think my situation is similar.
My history is this-I had a pulmonary Embolism in 2001 and again in 2006(just this past Thanksgiving)The second PE was far more serious than the first. I had extreme pain around my heart and it was nearly impossible to breathe. In the emergency room I was given blood thinners and morphine and a CT scan showed massive multiple bilateral clots in my lungs. I was sent home after 2 days. The first PE I stayed in the hospital 2 and 1/2 weeks but now they sent me home with a self-give shot pack of Lovenox and Warfarin. My problem is that whenever I do anything remotely strenuous( walking up the stairs, taking a shower and getting dressed, walking through the store, etc.) I get to breathing very heavy and sometimes my nose tingles and I become a bit dizzy.
My doctor is following through pretty well. He sent me to a Hemotologist and a Cardiologist and I will be seeing a Pulmonary specialist in January. The Hemotologist couldn't find any reason for the PE. The Cardiologist says there is nothing wrong with my heart. He gave me a stress test(nuclear injection due to my inability to walk the treadmill) and an angiogram. Both tests came up normal. My oxygen levels are fine (with the meter they put on the finger).I am quite discouraged at this time because so far the medical world sees nothing clinically wrong with me and yet my breathing is not functioning properly. When I sit down or move slowly I am fine. It's only when I pick up the pace or bend over, that type of thing, that brings me trouble. These are the activities I carry out with my job and my doctor will not allow me to retun yet. I would like to go back to work but at this point I would have difficulty. Two years ago I was running 5 miles a day 3 days a week and working out in between. I stopped that program to renovate a home I bought. Then came this PE and my health plummeted. I am sorry these things are happening to you. It seems that I am suffering similarly. Maybe I have developed asthma also I don't know. I hope we all get better soon

 
Old 12-27-2006, 09:42 AM   #7
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Smile Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Hello,
I am sorry to hear of your troubles. I think my situation is similar.
My history is this-I had a pulmonary Embolism in 2001 and again in 2006(just this past Thanksgiving)The second PE was far more serious than the first. I had extreme pain around my heart and it was nearly impossible to breathe. In the emergency room I was given blood thinners and morphine and a CT scan showed massive multiple bilateral clots in my lungs. I was sent home after 2 days. The first PE I stayed in the hospital 2 and 1/2 weeks but now they sent me home with a self-give shot pack of Lovenox and Warfarin. My problem is that whenever I do anything remotely strenuous( walking up the stairs, taking a shower and getting dressed, walking through the store, etc.) I get to breathing very heavy and sometimes my nose tingles and I become a bit dizzy.
My doctor is following through pretty well. He sent me to a Hemotologist and a Cardiologist and I will be seeing a Pulmonary specialist in January. The Hemotologist couldn't find any reason for the PE. The Cardiologist says there is nothing wrong with my heart. He gave me a stress test(nuclear injection due to my inability to walk the treadmill) and an angiogram. Both tests came up normal. My oxygen levels are fine (with the meter they put on the finger).I am quite discouraged at this time because so far the medical world sees nothing clinically wrong with me and yet my breathing is not functioning properly. When I sit down or move slowly I am fine. It's only when I pick up the pace or bend over, that type of thing, that brings me trouble. These are the activities I carry out with my job and my doctor will not allow me to retun yet. I would like to go back to work but at this point I would have difficulty. Two years ago I was running 5 miles a day 3 days a week and working out in between. I stopped that program to renovate a home I bought. Then came this PE and my health plummeted. I am sorry these things are happening to you. It seems that I am suffering similarly. Maybe I have developed asthma also I don't know. I hope we all get better soon

 
Old 12-27-2006, 09:23 PM   #8
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Hiya Breathe1. Sorry about your troubles; and I hear you on the home remodeling! I was remodeling my home (mostly DIY) when all this happened, and I don't have the energy to do any of it now. I have a carpenter coming next month to work on it for me, which breaks my heart, but what can I do?

Would you guys believe that I STILL have not had the stress test that the second pulmonologist recommended? I simply could not get either my PCP or the first pulmonologist to pay attention. (The guy I saw for a consult is not local, so he could not set it up. I think he had reason to assume my PCP would, but she's been pretty nonchallant about the whole thing.) Anyway, my local pulmonologist now says his office will set one up. They were supposed to call me today and did not, so I'll follow up with them tomorrow.

I really do think that I have pulmonary hypertension, or something like it. "Asthma" does not explain the chest constrictions, or my inability to do simple things like cooking, cleaning or shopping without shortness of breath, spaciness, or pain.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my hematologist to figure out what to do next with my anti-coagulant therapy. I'm going to ask him if he has any colleagues he can recommend who will take me seriously. I'm tired of being looked at as though I'm a nuisance because I won't accept this non-sensical asthma diagnosis and go away.

I will let you guys know how my stress test goes once I do have it, and if my Hematologist has anything pertinent to say about this, I'll let you know that, too. I'm not really expecting him to, though, since he's the blood guy, and not the lung or heart guy.

J - how's it going these days? How's your little one? Hope you've had more energy lately.

Breathe1 - if you're not already subscribed to this thread, make sure you are so you can get e-mail notifications when one of us posts. We can be our own little support group .

 
Old 12-28-2006, 05:11 AM   #9
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Hi,
Thanks for responding.When I had my stress test they were looking for, among other things, an over burden on the right side of my heart. This would be an indicator of Pulmonary Hypertension. They didn't find it. Which is a good thing except I still don't know why I'm out of breath. I wish you well with yours.

 
Old 12-28-2006, 05:31 AM   #10
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Yeah, I figure that's what they'll be looking for during a stress test. I know that during the echocardiogram was done to look for heart damage due to pulmonary hypertension, but no damage was found. And yes, that's a good thing, but on the other hand, it doesn't explain what is wrong with me.

I don't know why I had a resting echo, and a resting EKG when I told my doctor the pain was during exertion? Seems silly to look for heart damage when It's possible that I have something that just hasn't had a chance to damage my heart yet! Man, I need a new doctor ...

 
Old 12-28-2006, 05:45 AM   #11
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Well, the stress test that I took was not exactly resting. I couldn't take the treadmill stress test so they gave me an injection to simulate exercise. That part of the stress test was only about five minutes long but it was a very difficult five minutes. I was gasping for breath for most of it. The test came out with no abnormalities, which surprised me because it was extremely difficult to breath through. So if they decide to give you the "resting" stress test it is not truly resting. I wish you well with it.

 
Old 01-13-2007, 11:24 AM   #12
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

I just came across all of your posts and I must say that I'm a bit discouraged by all of the info here. I am currently being treated for a PE although the drs have been unable to find one on any of the tests they performed (CT, Echo, angiogram). But I have several of the risk factors and most of the symptoms so they are treating me as if I have a PE. In fact, from what I've heard and read, PEs are at times undetectable. The problem is that whenever I stand up and try to walk, my heartrate jumps incredibly and I can't catch my breath. Since I've been on blood thinners my heart rate does not jump so dramatically, but I still am having a tough time breathing. Oftentimes now I have a hard time just while I am sitting here. I have a new baby (8 weeks) and want to figure out how to make this feeling go away - it's like I can't get enough oxygen (but all the tests at the hospital said I had 100% oxygen saturation). But it just feels like I can't expand my lungs fully. I had a stress test - they had me on a bike - and am getting a pulmonary function test next week. What I don't understand is why nobody can tell me when I will be able to breathe better. They tell me I'm deconditioned from everything I've been through since childbirth 8 weeks ago (3 surgeries, 4 transfusions, 6 hospital stays), but I have always been very in shape and active and can't imagine that walking 10 feet would be that difficult due to deconditioning.

One doctor just mentioned getting me an albuterol inhaler to see if that helps the symptoms. But that would just make my heart rate higher so we're not doing that yet. What I want to know is - has anybody used albuterol and had any relief from the feeling of not being able to fill your lungs?

Thanks!

 
Old 01-13-2007, 12:29 PM   #13
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Hello Want2Breathe,
I'm sorry you're feeling discouraged. I hope you can find comfort in your new baby. This should be a wonderful time in life for you. Since I last posted I have made positive progress. I am still having difficulty breathing when I do anything remotely exerting, but I have returned to work in a limited capacity.
On Monday I will see a Pulmonary Specialist, maybe he can provide some answers. Like you I feel low on oxygen, but tests show otherwise. I don't have any experience with Albuterol, sorry. It sounds like you've been through alot with the surgeries and transfusions. Have these all been recent? If so maybe you're just exhausted. Don't lose hope, I was pretty down and I'm starting to recover-slowly but surely.
suzubeane and npainfla- how are you both feeling?

 
Old 01-13-2007, 01:24 PM   #14
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

Breathe1,
Thanks for the reply. I desperately want to be independent and enjoy my new baby. Right now we are living with my father so that his wife can help with the baby. I just can't manage much activity - I can't imagine carrying a baby. All of my surgeries and transfusions have been recent (within the last 8 weeks) due to complications of childbirth. Some Drs. have mentioned everything from exhaustion to deconditioning to dehydration, but again, I have a hard time believing that. I've never had chest pain/pressure like I do now, nor has my heart rate ever been elevated like this. And I was massively dehydrated during my pregnancy because I was so sick.

I am glad to hear you have returned to work and that you're seeing a pulmonary specialist. When were you first diagnosed with a PE? And have you seen ANY improvement since you were first diagnosed?

 
Old 01-13-2007, 05:05 PM   #15
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Re: Asthma Diagnosis after Pulmonary Embolism?

I hope that in time your breathing will get better. I had my first PE in 2001 and recovered within a few weeks. I was never short of breath after the initial attack. This latest PE was Nov. 22nd 2006 and was far more serious than the first. I have had breathing problems ever since. Early on I needed to use a wheel chair for longer distances. The last few weeks I've been mostly walking . It's tiring but I need to get my body active. In the grand scheme of things I feel fortunate to be alive and I know there are far worse conditions to be burdened with. But before this happened I was very active and it has been a difficult adjustment for me. I'm sure you must feel an urgency to return to health and your baby. I certainly hope that becomes a reality for you soon. All the best.

 
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