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Old 07-16-2010, 06:34 PM   #1
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oxygen dropping after surgery

Is it normal for a person's oxygen level to drop during recovery after they've had surgery? I have had dozen's of surgeries and surgical procedures and have never had such a problem before. The hospital staff said it might be the fentanyl but I also used to use duragesic patches daily without such a problem. And I have had fentanyl plenty of times during other surgeries and no complications. My oxygen kept dropping down in the 80's and I had PVC's the entire time of the procedure and during recovery. I had to go on oxygen up until the next day and breath air into a tube I guess to exercise my lungs. The PVC's were single so the doc said not to treat them. I have had surgeries 10 thousand times more painful than this, and had to be constantly treated with heavy meds, never did I once have a breathing issue. I am a 22 yr smoker, I have been trying to kick the habit. And lately I've had breathing problems, either from walking or from the PVC's. Last time my lungs were checked (and it has been a long time), I had scarring on my left lung base but the CT said no disease was apparent. I don't know why I had the scarring. I just wonder if this could indicate a possible lung issue. I have been a little worried of that anyways with the shortness of breath, but since I don't spit **** up, I thought well, maybe nothing is wrong. Could there be something wrong? I also have a positive ANA and high RNP which I think is MCTD but I have to wait until Oct to talk to a rhematologist. MCTD will cause lung disease. And I have the history of smoking 3 pks a day. I just don't know what to think. Should I tell my dr about this?

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Old 07-17-2010, 09:14 AM   #2
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Re: oxygen dropping after surgery

Yes, you should absolutely tell your doctor! My doctor recommends every long-term smoker get an annual spirometry test--you just blow into a tube to determine if any lung disease (emphysema or chronic bronchitis) is present. It's a win-win: You will either be relieved to find you have healthy lungs, or get treatment for early lung problems. Plus you now have an incentive to quit smoking before things get any worse

Note: shortness of breath is particularly indicative of emphysema. Mucus/cough are symptomatic of chronic bronchitis.

 
Old 07-17-2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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Re: oxygen dropping after surgery

Copd can sneak up on you suddenly. I must admit I am a little surprised that you don't report that they did a chest x-ray and EKG since low sats (80s is way too low!) and PVC's certainly do indicate something is going on! Did you have a physical exam by your PCP before your surgery? Did you tell him/her about your shortness of breath and PVCs?
Surgeons aren't the greatest for getting consults, but the anesthesia person should have. Be that as it may, you should get an appt. with your primary care doctor and not wait until your Oct. rheumy appt.
How are you feeling now?

 
Old 07-18-2010, 05:37 AM   #4
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Re: oxygen dropping after surgery

I had pre-surgery testing which involved a urinalysis, blood work, and signing papers. I did not get a chest x-ray or EKG, before or after my surgery. Yes, my primary care doctor knows about my PVC's and shortness of breath, but not what occured from the surgery. He told me not to worry about the PVC's and thinks the shortness of breath is from where I put on 20+ pounds after I quit smoking the first of the year. I am about 169 lbs at the moment. I get short of breath while having the PVC's or from walking. Not every time, but it happens alot.

 
Old 07-18-2010, 08:26 AM   #5
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Re: oxygen dropping after surgery

Sorry I assumed you still smoked--congrats on quitting! The extra weight can impact your breathing but it would still be a good idea to pursue spirometry, or even full pulmonary function tests just for piece of mind. If you don't exercise regularly, you could just be deconditioned and a walking program would be great for losing weight and shortness of breath.

I would also ask about an EKG and possibly an echocardiogram. Heart issues can cause shortness of breath.

 
Old 07-20-2010, 07:26 AM   #6
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Re: oxygen dropping after surgery

I quit smoking for 5 months after new years, and started back in, and quit again last night. I've made attempt after attempt. It is not easy quitting for good.

I just remembered when I was going through physical therapy, I was feeling like I couldn't get enough air like I should and it made it hard for me to exercise. I already had the shortness of breath before I gained that extra weight.

Can heart disease make your oxygen drop?

 
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