My mother was coughing for the past one year. We did several tests, went to pulmonologist, did CT scans, Chest X-Ray, etc. They said that she has an Interstitial Lung disease. They did an echocardiaogram and found out that here Aortic valve was very narrow and she had aortic stenosis and her valve had to be replaced immediately. They did a cardiac cath and confirmed that the valve was very narrow and it was important to do the surgery ASAP. My mother did not have any symptoms. She walks regularly every day, no blood pressure, no sugar and all her vitals were normal. Except for the cough.
The cardiologists and the thoracic surgeons team also found that they she had a blockage in the artery and recommended a bypass to be done along with the valve replacement. We asked them the level of risk. They said the risk is 1-2% and that she will have a very good quality of life after the surgery as she was otherwise a healthy person with no symptoms. We were really convinced. Although my mother was not fully convinced for the surgery as she felt perfectly fine except for the cough and she didn't feel any symptoms. Pulmonologist calls up a week before the surgery and says that she has pulmonary edema, and it is because of the aortic aortic stenosis and the blood was not able to flow thru the valve because of the which the fluids were going to her lungs which caused her to cough.
The surgery was scheduled 3 weeks later on the 3rd week of December. The surgery was 10-10 1/2 hours long. She had bleeding during the surgery and they had to do a blood transfusion and everything went ok. She woke up the next day in SICU with a change in her voice. She spoke to the family, but still under partial sedation. She had trouble swallowing the food because of the tube. She was in SICU for 7 days, with the chest tubes and all the other tubes, trying to drain the fluids from the lungs. They gave her lasix, hydro codine for the pain and several other medications including aspiring lipitor, insulin, metoprolol etc.
My mother was not able to sleep properly in the SICU as she was coughing and it was really hurting to cough. She was tired and weak. She also had trouble breathing. The doctors insisted that she was progressing and she was getting better. They said that the pain would get better in 4-6 weeks. She was able to walk although she had a tough time breathing after a couple of steps. Nurses said she was strong and she was progressing.
After 7 days she was shifted to Progressive care unit(PCU) on the 7th night. She was still not able to sleep properly and was in pain. Hydro codine relieved her pain. But, she insisted that she still had discomfort. Surgeons said that she will be fine in 2-3 weeks. She was in PCU for 2-3 days and was discharged. She came home, was feeling tired to walk. She slept in a recliner chair, tried to sleep had partial sleep. Was able to take shower with help, walked for 5 mins 2 times a day, Seemed like she was progressing. On 1st of January she had dinner at 7:30-8 pm. After dinner, she walked to recliner chair and sat and she said she was shivering. We put blankets on her, turned on the heat and for 5-7 mins she was shivering. We were thinking of calling 911, She said 5 mins. We were asking her if she was ok. Suddenly, she started breathing heavily and she was having a tough time breathing, and suddenly in 2 mins she stopped breathing. Her heart was not beating and there was no pulse. In 2 mins paramedics arrived were trying to revive her, took her to ER and tried for 45 mins and they said they could not revive her and she was dead.
I am so shocked and not able to accept her death. I don't have answers to what happened in the last 5 mins. Doctor in the ER said, she might have had arrhythmia. But nobody is sure as to what exactly happened. Seemed like she was recovering, was able to have a shower, walk, eat on her own.
This is not an unusual surgery and it's been performed on so many millions of people over so many decades. Why did it fail on my mother. It's been a week since she passed away, i am still in shock and not able to accept it.
Can somebody please tell me if this has happened to anybody in their family. Please help