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Low blood pressure after lumbar surgery?

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Old 10-11-2006, 01:25 PM   #1
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Low blood pressure after lumbar surgery?

Hey everyone,
Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else and whether it resolved itself on its own.

My blood pressure dropped during/after surgery so I wasn't allowed to get up until day 5. They had used a cell saver so most of the blood I lost during surgery was returned to me, and I also got a couple of units in ICU. I thought I was doing pretty well up until yesterday. I was finally allowed to shower last Saturday. Got a nice 10 minute shower with no problem, just felt a little weak, understandably. I thought I'd try to shower every other day until I feel stronger. On Monday, by the time I had the brace off for 15 minutes or so and was out of the 3-minute shower, I was feeling like I was going to pass out. I quickly got myself to a safe place and laid down. Yesterday, I didn't even get a 3-minute shower before I thought I was going to pass out. I just got the soap off as best I could and didn't even dry off, I felt so bad. Just got myself to the bed right away so I wouldn't land on the floor.

Today, I was feeling light-headed even with the brace still on. The physical therapist came and took my blood pressure before I walked, then I felt light-headed so she took it again and it had dropped significantly, with my heart rate skyrocketing. It seems like this is getting worse instead of better as I continue to walk every day. The therapist called my doctor. When his nurse called back, she said I should follow up with my family doc, that it might be an electrolyte imbalance or something. I called and made an appointment. Of course, I'll probably be just fine while I'm in his office. I kind of feel like I'm getting shuffled around, though.

This just doesn't seem like a normal part of recovery. I should be getting a little stronger everyday, not a little weaker! Has anyone else had this happen? Did they find a cause? Did they do anything for it? I would really appreciate your comments if you've been through this. It's discouraging.

Thanks very much,

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Old 10-11-2006, 02:45 PM   #2
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Re: Low blood pressure after lumbar surgery?

I had the same problem after my fusion in August. The top number of my blood pressure never hit 100, it hovered in the high 80's and the bottom number hovered in the high 50's. My normal blood pressure is 110/70. I was in the hospital 4 days. They let me go home because my blood pressure had slowly risen to 98/58. None of my nurses had ever seen that before, but since I felt fine, they told me not to worry. I don't know if it continued when I was home, because I didn't have a nurse or Physical therapist come to my home. Does anyone out there have any idea why this happens?

I would certainly tell my primary doctor about it...I hope he finds that all is well!

Last edited by technomom; 10-11-2006 at 02:48 PM.

Old 10-12-2006, 08:12 AM   #3
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Re: Low blood pressure after lumbar surgery?

I am not sure what is too low, but my blood pressure before surgery got as high as 149/99 (that I know of) and would flucuate depending on how much pain I was in. After my surgery in the hospital it was 97/59. It was about the same on day 1 and 2. Day 2 they got me up out of bed with a walker...I felt a teeny bit dizzy but other than that I was feeling pretty good. But as the day went on, it rose a little bit and I was okay to be discharged. 2 weeks later (at a different doc appt) it was 109/70. So I didnt have any lingering problems with it

Old 10-12-2006, 08:42 AM   #4
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Re: Low blood pressure after lumbar surgery?

Goodness.. if these are greatly increased upon showering.. is your showering too hot perhaps? I like a hot shower myself.

I had really low pressure post op surgery too, but I lost little blood during the surgery (as it was minimally invasive fusion surgery). They were pretty sure it was the morophine that was mostly the culprit.

It could be your meds, the surgery itself, and also your body is much depleted of many things through this horrible trauma we are in.

For the first time in my life, my blood test showed slight enemia. I was very run down after the surgery for the first several months. I believe this is very normal. An alchemist suggested immediately to get calcium/magnesium supplement to help with the muscles. Miss skeptical me, but in so much pain, went and got some.. and that night I noticed a big difference.

My GP wanted me to take iron supplement and B12. The B12 I take, but the iron.. no way for now! Iron and I don't mix well together. Even small doses gives me all sorts of problems. I feel sick taking it and it also creates severe constipation for me, even with a high fiber diet. I seem to be doing fine and better since taking the Total B line, and will get my blood drawn again in a few months to check the iron level once again. Then if it's dropped any, consider "trying" an iron supplement then.

Just some ideas. I strongly suggest that you get a complete workup done so they can try and get you balanced again. You can't afford to be passing out or losing your footing, especially in the shower. If you dont already have one, you might want to get a shower seat. Most pharmacies or drugstores carry them. It might help you through this time and get your full shower in a safer way. Make sure you take your showers when someone is home with you for awhile, or at least until this light headedness is cleared up.

Take care and let us know what the doc says and be careful. Tammy

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