foaming of the mouth
by jmidaho, Oct 28, 2009
Before my daughter's death, she had a long history of heart problems.  She had open heart surgery at the
age of 3 1/2.   There was a leakage that remained they discovered when she was about 12-15.   She died
at the age of 30.   My question is --- she was calling 911 for 10-14 months.  She had sore backs, neck
and even tachycardia.   Was sweating all the time, clammy skin, disoriented, falling down, etc..  They blamed it upon her behavior -- saying she was doing it for attention -- and released her every time without a full check up.  

My question is -- she was also foaming at the mouth.   The coronor thought she drowed, since they found
her dead in her shower.  But, it was her heart.  They said she had inflamation for more than 12-15 months.
What would cause her to foam at the mouth.  I saw this as did others.   I did find some reference on a
Google search of people having heart attacks foaming at the mouth.  

I think many 911 responders, EMT, hosptials Emergency Rooms, police, and care providers simply do not
know the signs of a heart attack.   Surely, no one could sweat, have tachycardia, and foam at the mouth on
demand.  Any idea how she foamed and what caused it?   Thank you.


This discussion is related to valve probem.
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Member Comments (11)
by Jerry_NJBlank, Oct 28, 2009
My very deepest sympathy about what has happened to your daughter - is is especially sad to read about someone who didn't get a chance at a full time period of life.  

Your concerns about the lack of knowledge of "first responders" is troubling to us all, regardless of our specific experiences and problems.

I do not have anything to share on the subject but respond anyway to share my sympathy and as I see "valve problem" is shown on your post as related.  I do have some experience on that subject, but none of that relates to foaming at the mouth.    
by itdoodBlank, Oct 28, 2009
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, please accept my sincere condolences.

I'm not surprised to hear about how she was treated by 911, EMT, and the ER.  They are there for a quick bandaide.    Then they will immediately turf them to a specialist or PCP for follow-up.  Did she follow-up in this way and have an echo, stress test, etc...or did she rely on what the ER was telling her only?  Did the ER ever tell her to follow up with a PCP and cardiologist?  all those symptoms she had definitely point to a heart ailment even to a layperson.

I used to work at an ER.  Once assessment is done and if patient is stable, they will get no attention.  It's paperwork time then turf them to their PCP for follow-up.  It's up to the patient to follow-up.  What I saw is that some folks would take the ER discharge as a diagnosis.  It's not.  Her inflammation would have been easy to see on an echo.

I don't know about the foaming at the mouth.  I'm thinking perhaps she passed out from the heart issue then was inhaling water and drowned.

Ask the coroner, they would have seen water in her lungs.  Also see if they did a tox screen as certain meds or drugs can cause the foaming.

Again, I'm very sorry about your loss.

by Pamz, Oct 28, 2009
I am sorry for your loss, it's hard too loose one so young.  

Congested heart failure causes the body to retain water. Sodium draws fluid from your body into the blood, increasing the blood volume that your heart must deal with.  This fluid can build up in the arms, legs, lungs and other organs of the body.  The heart is working extra hard so sweating occurs.  Heart failure also causes breathlessness, confusion, memory problems or disorientation, fatigue and a fast heart rate at times.  I had a friend who passed, basically drowning from fluid in his lungs, because of heart failure.  


by grendslori, Oct 29, 2009
First I too send my sympathies to you and your family. Death of my daughter due to severe heart disease is always my biggest fear.

Having worked in helping the revive patients in the ER who have drown, it really isn't that uncommon to have seen patients who have foaming around the mouth. It was probably due to the being in the shower.
What surprised me a great deal is that your daughter had known heart problems and why she was blown off by the doctors the way she was, I don't understand. Most doctors are very compassionate to young people who have heart disease. With all due respect to Pamz, it does not sound as though your daughter had CHF at all. The foaming, more than likely was a simple result of her dying in the shower. All of the symptoms that you have described can be caused by all forms of heart disease.
Again, I'm very sorry for your family's loss.  
by jmidaho, Oct 29, 2009
Thanks everyone for the nice comments.  She was foaming at the mouth for months before her death.   Be dripping form her mouth when she was having an attack.  I saw it when she was visting us about eight months before her death.  She was shaking, major muscle movements, clammy, and pale looking.  She told me she wanted to go to emergency.  I called her caregiver, and she told me to ignore it ---- she does it all the time for attention.  And to give her some hot tea and a Tylanol and it will go away.  That is what started me to investigate, but was to late to uncover all the abuse and negligence.  At one attack, the caregiver had her in her home filming her with a camcorder for 4 to 5 hours.  Even physically restrained my daughter.  Too, often after going to the ER, they would call the caregiver to pick her up, and she told them to make our daughter walk home -- using the system.   Sad.
by itdoodBlank, Oct 29, 2009
ah, that clears up some questions, but raises more.  I thought the first occurrence of the foaming was in the shower.    I've never seen chronic cardiac issues cause foaming at the mouth, other than an acute MI.  I lived through my father in complete congestive heart failure for 5 months and he never foamed at the mouth.

I say this with caution, certain drugs can cause the foaming.  With the abuse the care-giver was prone to, do you think she may have been drugging her in some way to control her?

For instance, a Tylenol overdose will cause foaming at the mouth.

I don't understand the care giver part or her situation as it seems she was separated from her family?  Was she living on her own or did she require constant care-giver attention for some reason?

You should definitely lawyer-up if you can and start filing complaints.  I'd go as far as criminal negligence in this case.  Not only was she ignored, she was just flat out abused.   I'd go after the care giver and the hospitals.  She had previous history FGS, that should be enough for them to do basic workups.

I would definitely want a full tox screen from the coroner.    My suspicion is squarely on the tylenol and how much she was being dosed over the past 15 months.
by jmidaho, Oct 30, 2009
I did not think about the Tylenol.  Good idea.  I did order a full TOX report, because
I was concerned about her medication.  She was learning disabled and had OCD, with
some anxiety..but all the anxiety and meds were not working.  Showing again it was
her heart.   I wanted the TOX test to see if her SSI (believe that is what they are) were
up or down relating to the inhibitors.  -- working or not working.   I believe the only
test they gave her with her heart was a EKG, no more advance test, keeping her in
ER for an extended time to track her attacks.   At the end she was in ER three times
a day.  Her calls to 911 are screaming in pain....saying "Oh no not again." then the screams as the pain came.  Shocking to hear.  She was living on her own, but under
SSI care with the state.  Thus, she had a caregiver for transporation, shopping, helping cook, balancing her check book, and simple routines.  Thanks.
by stevie_wonder, Oct 31, 2009
My deepest sympathy goes out to you. I watched my son have a cardiac arrest and spent the next several months searching for answers also, so I can relate a bit to what you are going through.

This is just an idea that came to my mind while reading your description of your daughter's attacks, in that seizures can can foaming at the mouth. Seizures can come in many differrent forms and are not always related to Epilepsy either. Many different heart conditions can cause seizures during heart arrythmias where the brain doesn't get enough oxygen from the brain. Doctors called them "atypical seizures" because they don't follow the general rules of Epileptic seizures. The bad thing about heart arrythmias is that they can't be diagnosed after death unless they are suspicious of a genetic heart condition and do genetic testing.

The way your daughter was treated was absolutely horrible. If you have questions for the coroner, you have every right to have the answers explained to you in a way that you can understand to help you find some peace of mind.

Take care
by tyler758, Jan 06, 2011
I know this is a little late but I have been researching this since I lost my great grandmother in 2004 and my dad in 2006 and I lost my step grandmother 3 weeks ago. My great grandmother had a long history of heart problems and she had 1 heart attack and a series of about 8 strokes from 1998 to her death in 04.  When she passed in the night she foamed at the mouth. My dad had lung cancer and COPD. He spent the last 2 weeks of his life on a ventilator.  At the moment his heart rate dropped to around 10 as he passed foam came up. I witnessed it. My step grandmother who passed 3 weeks ago had COPD and had been in the hospital 2 weeks before her death on a ventilator but she same through and came home. We discovered her at 7 am (the last time I saw her was around 3 am) on her bed with her nebulizer mask on which was full of this foam and was also around her mouth.  I simply believe that it is a natural thing when one passes away to foam at the mouth. I think it is just fluids from the lungs that are expelled from your last breath. From heart failure to drowning no matter the cause of death.