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Severe breathing problems, in Intensive Care
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Severe breathing problems, in Intensive Care

I'm trying to understand what is wrong with my sister...she has Asthma also Empysemia. She hasn't been well for a couple of weeks & her Dr daid she had a chest infection. Last week she was rushed into hospital, she could hardly breathe, put her on oxygen etc but it didn't help much. Had an xray, they said she didnt have a chest infection.
Then a CT Scan, they said she did have infection. Oxygen still wasnt helping as whenever they took it from her her levels dropped so had to go back on mask. They then sent her to Intensive Care & put her in like an oxygen tent, just over her face.  The results of the CT Scan said about her Asthma & Empysemia but also something to do with movement in lungs because she was on a Ventilator last year ( Pneumonia ) She is on high dosage steroida, antibiotics & now cough medicine. But still her levels drop when off the oxygen for long. Can someone help me understand what is happening, i live 600 miles away & i'm so worried! She has also been under huge stress for a long time & has now found out her husband has terminal lung cancer. I feel she got in a very bad panic & triggered off an Asthma attack? She has not slept properly for nearly a week either. Any ideas please?
                                                                                                           Regards Molinda
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,
It appears from your descrition that your sister has been suffering from asthma and emphysema for a while which has probably led to a decrease in her lung function and made her prone to repeated chest infections. It would be helpful if you could provide the exact details of the CT scan. Meanwhile, if her chest infection has not responded to the antibiotics, a change of antibiotics based on the sensitivity of the microorganism should be considered.
All the best and God bless!
5 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you, yes, she has had Asthma for many years & diagnosed C.O.P.D about 3yrs ago. Better news a little while ago, she has managed to stay off the oxgen for about 3hrs, managed to eat a little & i think she even got some sleep.
I dont think the ct scan showed very much but will try to find out.

I did speak to her nurse who said its possible anxiety & stress making her asthma worse, which i can understand, she is also managing to cough up a little whereas she couldnt before. Could it be her lungs have deteriorated with the Asthma & C.O.P.D?
Really her breathing hasnt been good since last year, very breathless. Her specialist couldn't understand why & a few weeks he sent her to do the bike test, the nurse there said she felt it was her Asthma causing the problem but she just got worse since then,
especially a few days after they were told her husband had terminal cancer.

                                                   regards Molinda
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,
Good to know that your sister is feeling better. Long standing asthma can lead to COPD which causes a deterioration in lung function. COPD also leads to an increased susceptibility to lung infections. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate asthma and COPD besides decreasing immunity and ability to fight infections. Perhaps a clinical psychologist can help her cope with her stress. Support from family and friends would be helpful too.
All the best!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi & thank you,
                         she got home last week but is very,very weak. Not sure if it's because she was on a very high dosage of steroids which she has to slowly cut down on now or if it's the new tablet she is on to help her breathing Phyllocontin.

They discovered she had what they called a very nasty Pneumonia & Bronchospasm, she was put in a sort of Oxygen tent thing over her head as she couldn't tolerate the large mask that is strapped on.

They said the top of her lungs were damaged, Empheysemia, C.O.P.D, Asthma.
We are so worried because she had Pneumonia last year & had to be put on a Ventilator, they told her she was lucky to survive as she was very ill....now she has had Pneumonia again & it all happens so quickly.

Is she going to be more prone to getting Pneumonia from now on because of her damaged lungs? Plus not forgetting the strain she is under since being told her husband has terminal cancer?

Thank you for your help Dr, i appreciate it.
                                                                 Regards Mo
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,
Its good to know that she is home and feeling better. Yes, the damaged lungs and the stress would make her prone to repeated infections, so she needs to be careful.
All the best!
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