My father age 72 had approximately 3 liters of fluid removed from his right lung yesterday.
Two weeks ago he had open heart surgery. He had mitral valve stenosis from rheumatic fever contracted 50 years ago. The surgery repaired the mitral valve and a laser ablation was performed which has remedied his fibrilliation problems.
After the surgery he began complaining of new shortness of breath and painful breathing. A few days ago he was readmitted due to suspected accumulation of fluid in the lungs. X-rays revealed about 80% of his right lung capacity was lost to fluid. He was drawing 61 breaths per minute. After the fluid was drained, he felt much better--healthy color returned to his face, swelling & color in his hands and feet improved. Now he is having trouble breathing again and the fluid is accumulating again.
3L seems like a very high amount, especially to be occurring only in the right lung--left lung is clear. What could be causing this, and what can be done? Sincere thanks
Clues to the cause of recurrent fluid can be obtained by careful examination of the fluid, in the laboratory. These tests include measurement of cell content, levels of various biological markers, protein content etc. Heart failure can result in fluid in just 1 lung or in both, as can clots to the lung.
Fluid in just 1 lung, also called unilateral effusion, post-operatively is common and may be related to the manipulation and irritation/inflammation of tissue that occurs with all surgery. If a cause cannot be found, ultimately, your father
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