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Painful Ribs after Open Heart Surgery
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Painful Ribs after Open Heart Surgery

On December 26, 2007 my mom suffered a heart attack and had open heart surgery (3 way bypass).  After being home approximately a month she started having chronic pain on her left front side (ribs) which felt like it radiated around to her side.  She would describe it as sharp shooting pains with a constant dull ache at first.  She was hospitalized in February of 2008 and they more or less done every type of scan, xray and blood test to try and find the cause.  She was released with the hospital physican stating that she possibly had shingles and to schedule an appt. with her physican.  Well, it is now October 2008 and after many Dr. appointments, she has continued to deal with this constant pain.  However, the pain has jumped from the left side to the right side and is now back to the left side.  Her ribs will feel like they are actually swollen (which I know bone does not swell) and it will feel "hot" to her.  Her pain does let up a little when she has been lying down for awhile.  She has tried cold and hot applications, ibuprofen, vitamins, lidoderm patches and other various "fixes" and has failed it all.   She has continued to see her family physician for this and has been prescribed  lyrica 3 times a day for several months now and takes darvocet for the pain 3 times a day as well.    Prior to her heart attack she was very active, appeared very healthy for her age (65) and was never short of breath.  This pain has kept her from ever feeling good or I should say even close to good since her surgery.   Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts?  Please help I need my feel good mom back so she can feel good about life again.
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2 Comments
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563773_tn?1374250139

Hello,

Long-term postoperative wound pain is a potential complication of cardiac surgery esp bypass surgery. The cause of persistent pain after sternotomy can be due to tissue destruction, intercostal nerve trauma, scar formation, rib fractures, sternal infection, stainless-steel wire sutures, and costochondral separation.

Pls discuss these possibilities with your mother’s cardiac surgeon.Most probably a 3 D CT scan may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.Treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

Hope this helps.Take care and pls do keep me posted on how you are doing or if you have any additional doubts.


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649909_tn?1224504598
Thank you so much for your comment!  My mother has  her next scheduled appt. with her heart dr. (not the surgeon) in the middle of November.  Do you think he would order this 3D CT or would it be something the surgeon (which is 2 hours away) would have to do?  On another note her family physician switched her from Lyrica to Neurontin yesterday.  I'm hoping with everything I got that it will help her!  
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