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Recovery after Quadruple Heart Bypass Surgery - Fluid around lungs

My father had quadruple heart by-pass surgery a month and 1/2 ago. He still hasn't fully recovered. He has been a diabetic since he turned 52.  He is now 67 years old. He has repeatedly had fluid around his lung that has been drained off by his heart doctor, but it keeps coming back. He has trouble breathing and every time this procedure is done, he has more and more liquid drained from his lung. The first time it was 1200 ccs. The second time 2800 ccs. He had it drained again today, and my mother told me that there was even more fluid. My father says that he has trouble breathing and feels like he is drowning in all this fluid. My father has had alot happen in a year's time. He had total right knee replacement surgery in April 06, eye surgery on his one and only eye in April 07 - the other eye is a glass eye due to an old coal mine accident 39 years ago - and a month or so ago this quadruple heart bypass surgery. My thinking is that he is too weak to get rid of this fluid on his own. The doctor said that the next time this happens, my dad will be admitted into the hospital for a couple of days for a procedure where the doctor will drain off the fluid again then put some sort of sealent around the lung so it won't fill up again? (I'm not sure if I'm wording this properly.) I guess, my question is why didn't the doctor do this before now? Is it a risky procedure? Why is the fluid amount getting larger and larger every time?  Thanks for your time, Sherry Berry!
34 Responses
214864 tn?1229718839
Sherry,  I am so sorry to hear of your father's condition, which seems hopeless, but can improve given proper treatment and time. Remember his heart is recovering and he has not had a chance to rehabilitate himself.

His cardiac output may still be a bit low. ~1/3 of the output of the heart goes through the kidneys to filter excess fluid from our blood. If his output is reduced, he will retain fluid.

Lasix is a powerful diuretic and there are others that can and will be given intraveneously to him while he is hospitalized. Are you sure the fluid is not "in his lungs" vs outside or around his lungs?

I take lots of Lasix (pill form) myself. It works!

I have never heard of any type of seal that you speak of, but there are some RN type nurses that post here that maybe can come up with an answer.

Your father has all the complications of diabetes. He has had to stay away from sugar, but now he MUST stay away from salt. Salt causes us to retain fluid. I am on a low sodium diet and I can surely tell when I cheat.

Hang in there and give the doctors a chance, but pay attention to what and how your father is treated.

G-d Bless,

Avatar universal
My mom called me this morning to tell me that the doctor took out 3300cc's of fluid.  I'm not sure about the fluid in the lung or around it.  What I was told is that there is a crevice between the lung and the heart.  This crevice is where the fluid is building up.  My dad hasn't started his therapy, but the doctor said he does want him to go, because it will only make my father's heart stronger.  The last time my dad had his fluid taken out was exactly two weeks before.  The doctor is sure that my dad will need this procedure done, since the amount of fluid being drained is rising instead of getting smaller.  The first time was 1200 cc's, the second time 2800 cc's and this time was 3300 cc's.  The doctor spoke of this procedure where he will surgically go in and drain the fluid one last time and apply some sort of adhesive sealent that will keep the fluid from forming.  Evidently, this procedure is very painful, but it will keep the fluid from forming again, and he will no longer have any trouble.  I'm hoping that this takes care of the problem.
Avatar universal
Hello Sherry, I am sorry to hear about your dad.  My mother had quad bypass surgery 7 weeks ago and I have taken her to the hospital about 6 times and to every doctor possible asked thousands of questions about her constant coughing that is literally eating all of her oxygen from her.  Just 3 days ago I had to call 9-1-1 because she could not catch her breath.  She is 53 yrs. diabetic and asthma.  The doctors have given her every kind of medicine you can think of for sinus, cold, and pain killers.  Cough has not gone away.  She is still in the hospital today and finally they are saying that there is some fluid under her heart and that she is taking lasix pill form also.  I am not sure if it is going to help mom's coughing?  Did your father experience this cough also all day and night?  Take care, Kerri
Avatar universal
Hello Jack54,

I was hoping that you could give me some advice regarding the lasix med's that you had responded to another patient sherry berry.  my mother has been coughing for 7 weeks without a break.  she is currently in the hospital and they have found some fluid under the heart.  could this be the cause of the coughing.  They just put her on the lasix yesterday to get rid of the fluid.  I just dont want them to discharge her and than she continues to have the killer cough.  i have taken to every doctor and noone seems to know why she is coughing up till this moment.  so they say.  please any advice for me.  take care, kerri  god bless
Avatar universal
I had heart bypass about 3 months ago.  I also had to have fluid removed from inside my left lung.  Lasix alone did nothing to alleviate the excess fluid.  I was coughing so hard, I would get sick to my stomach.  I also had immediate difficulty breathing when I laid down.  After draining, I was still having difficulty breathing, so I am in the care of a pulmonary specialist (lung docotor).  I am taking predisone which does help, but I am not breathing as well as pre-surgery.  Cat scan showed no blood clots or any other abnormality.  Asthma drugs (which I never had to take before) offer no relief whatsoever.  All the information I gathered from doctors, the web and persons such as you, leave me to believe that there is no reason why certain people develop fluid or breathing difficulties.  I was on a lung machine for 4 1/2 hours, that is my claim to lung distress.  In the meanwhile, some patients having been drained 2 or 3 times, never get it again and are fine.  Others may get it a few more times, but I was told it eventually goes away after proper care.  Wish me luck!
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
my father in law had open heart surgery in January and he has had 6 liters of fluid taken off it has been 2 liters every 2 weeks.  his heart dr told him he needs the same surgery they will go in his side and drain and scrap any scare tissue.  they will then take talcom powder and it is suppose to make the lung stick to the walls so the fluid won't continue to fill up in that error.  the dr told him he will be in the hosptial for 5 days or more.  so many unanswered questions.  best wishes for your dad and may God bless you.
Avatar universal
My sister is 60 years old and had triple bypass 6 weeks ago.  As soon as she got home from the hospital she developed a cough.  The coughing became worse, especially when she tried to talk.   At first her heart surgeron drained a liter of fluid from around her lungs and  we thought she was going to be ok.  Then, the cough returned.  She is now back in the hospital where they had to insert a chest tube.   This procedure was extremley painful.  She has been on the tube for six hours and already has had 3300 cc drained thus far.   The dr said she would have the tube in for at least 4 more days.   If anyone has to have the chest tube it should not stay in for longer than 7 days because an infection will set in.  I pray to God that this procedure helps her.   If the fluid comes back again i dont know what they will do.
Avatar universal
My dad had quad bypass done about a month ago. he had fluid also and had to be put back in the hospital for a procedure where they take the adhesive seal stuff and it was suppose to stop the fluid from building up. Well here it is two weeks after the second surgery and he still has fluid. I'm not sure what they are going to do next. how many surgeries can a person have to get this figured out. It's a roller coaster ride and I HATE it!
Avatar universal
My wife is only 36 years old and was diagnosed with a vitral valve regurgitation after our 3rd Child was born 9 months ago.  Her heart specialist said she needed surgery to correct the valve.  It really threw us all into a tailspin, but we decided it was better to go ahead and have it done rather than wait.  The operation was performed 5 months ago and was considered a success; however, after that she has been in the hospital twice and had fluid drained from her lungs at least 3 times.  Her lung specialist put her on Pretizone and it helped for awhile, but last month she developed a very very bad cough.  Bad enough to where she could barely speak without coughing.  The doctor put her on antibiotics for 10 days.  Yet, the cough will not stop and now she has alot of swelling in her ankles and legs; which leads us to believe the fluid is back; although her X-ray 2 weeks ago revealed that the fluid had almost dissipated.  I'm very very worried about her -- the lung specialist has mentioned the talc-lung infusion procedure; yet to me this seems like it's treating the symptom, but not the underlying cause.  Is it normal for fluid to be accumulating 5 months after surgery?  Everything I read says it should have gone away by now.  I'm starting to encourage her to see another Cardiologist and Lung Speciality for a second opinion.  Has anyone else had their loved one still having fluid problems so long after surgery?  We're about at our wits end on what to do.
Avatar universal
My Dad is 66 years old, has had two heartattacks and one stroke (proven).  The first one was at the age of 40 and the second one was in 2006.  The doctors just found evidence of the stroke (alhtough we told them when we thought he had it a year ago) when he went to the hospital a month ago for his blood pressure being so high.  He had to have a  quadruple by-pass on May 22, 2008.  The surgery seemed to go good but later that night he went to sleep and they could not wake him for almost 4 days.  He stayed in the surgical ICU for 10 days and finally came home last friday June 5.  He is also a diabetic and has high blood pressure that is very hard to control.  Yesterday 6/10/08 he was taken back to the hospital because he was not breathing good.  They say there is fluid in his lungs and his heart is not beating properly.  He is really upset and depressed about his condition.  Since his 2006 heart attack, he has been working out at cardio rehab 3 times a week.  I never imagined that we would be having all of these problems.  Keep praying is all that I know to do.
Avatar universal
y 62 yr old sister-in-law had 6 bypasses two months ago. While in recovery she had a light stroke. Next her lungs or chest cavity begin to fill with fluid. Its been two months and her husband is still draining her twice daily. Is this because her heart is weak from all the bypasses?
Avatar universal
My father had 4way Heart by-Pass 5mths ago now and he seems to be doing well so I just want you and everyone else some hope that they will get better but it does take time to heal and get everything going properly again.

Avatar universal
Hi there, never replied on anything like this before, but I would to say that your dad will be fine, I am 42 and had a quad  bypass myself in May 08, and I am fine, the only pain I know have in around my chest area.  I was advised that i would not be 100% for about 1 year as this is how long it actually takes the body to heal, as it has had major trauma and shock and the inside has to recover too, but please note that I had my bypass in May 08 and I returned to work 13 Aug 08, so it may seem forever now but just get as much rest as possible as this does help.
Good health to one an all.    Tracey
Avatar universal
My dad had a triple bypass about a year and a half ago and is still having problems to this day...he had the fluid build up and they kept a chest tub ein him the whole time he was in the hospital.....He was in the hospital for almost a month due to different complications with the bypass, they have had to open him up two more times to fix things that have gone wrong, the first time was in the hospital and the wire broke that was wrapped around the sternum to hold it together, when it broke it sent a piece of his rib into his lung and punctured it so they had to fix that....so that caused him to have a large amount of fluid to fill up in his lungs which had to comtinually be drained out with a chest tube......then he went back in about 3 weeks ago because the wire came loose again but they also found that when the wire broke the first time and they wired it back again a piece of his rib was in the wrong place so they said and caused some bone deformation to take place on his back side where the ribs comes around....he is now back in the hospital again as we speak due to a severe subclavian stenosis, which means he has to have surgery again to fix another blockage on what I am guessing is a new vein that they put in when his bypass was done......so now he has to have an angioplasty done and maybe a stent put in, not sure yet......I hope to God your dad doesn't go through what mine has and he is 65....I hope they get all that fluid taken care of and they don't cause him to go through anymore issues then he already has......for me this has been a trying year and still more to go through what makes it all worse is my parents live in AZ and I live in FL....a long way and plane tickets aren't cheap...
Avatar universal
my friend is 65 and had a quadruple bypass 4 years ago, he also has high blood pressure, is it possible and is it safe to have sex? He gets breathless when he walks uphill, and has a spray that he carries with him at all times. Hope some one can help. Thankyou
547368 tn?1440545385
Certainly that would be a question best put to his cardiologist. Usually it is OK, provided the patient feels as though they can tolerate it BUT always check with your physician. You may want to begin a new post with your question. You most likely will obtain better answers. Take care, Tuck
Avatar universal
I personally, not my dad, brother or uncle, have had TWO proven strokes, one 4 July 03, and one 26 Feb 08. Two MI's one way back in the Army before retiring in 1994, after the first Gulf War Oct 1994. (They only did angioplasty or bypass then, no stents; and at my age chose just the baloon angioplasty).

11 angioplasty and stents later; I ended up with a Quadruple Bypass, just 4 weeks ago. I am a Type II insulin dependent diabetic, and I have many of the symptoms you all list above. What do I do, as a worn out, in pain old fart? I walk my rear end off. It hurts, I cough, and yep, did I mention it hurts imensely? If I did not, I would be DEAD. That is actually the option. Walk or die. Exercise burns off fluid, actually helps in many cases even with the Lasix (other names too) treatments. If POSSIBLE, REMEMBER those words, if POSSIBLE, exercise, helps REMOVE more fluid than machines and SITTING. The POOL, the PARK, are my best friends. PUMPS, TISSUES, FAMILY, well they all help, but if I am actually going to SURVIVE ALL OF THIS, it will be through pure determination, and a higher power keeping me walking, swimming and doing. Barring that, it is time to go, for I am not meant ot cough in a bed for my last years. I already did that BEFORE the BYPASS. I was dead for 5 hours on a heart lung machine. Most of us were.

Avatar universal
Best wishes to all who have loved ones or are themselves, suffering.

I developed the cough and it has been determined the fluid building up around (not in) the lungs is due to lymphoma.  I am on Lasix to combat fluid build up and have had the talc procedure, but, it didn't seem to work.

They sent me home and will drain lung cavity as needed as an outpatient but, want me to get started on Chemo to stop the cause they believe, of the fluid.

Apparently, many things can cause the fluid. I too have had bypass (single and with a robot) but, no problems from that, I don't think, but only from lymphoma.

I was having the cough and they took my off Lisinopril (sp) for blood pressure and it seemed to improve but then came back until I couldn't talk without coughing.

The Ear, Nose, and Throat Dr. confirmed it wasn't due to sinus and said it was being caused by something in my abdomen or chest and he was right, of course.  It was the lungs trying to cough out the fluid but, since the fluid wasn't in the lungs, only compressing them, I never coughed anything up.      

I could sit and work for hours and not cough but, as soon as I got up and/or started to talk, I would start coughing.  Apparently, anything, even talking, that changes the use of the lung can trigger the attempt to get rid of the fluid with coughing.

While in the hospital (16 days) I could talk and not cough as long as the fluid was drained off.  I could tell it was coming back when I would start coughing again.  It doesn't take much fluid, I don't think to trigger some of the coughing and the more there is, the worse it gets as the lung is restricted more and more in its ability to exchange air which we also use to talk as it passes over the vocal cords.

I start Chemo this week on the Lymphoma and they hope that will take care of the coughing and fluid build up.    

God Bless all and my prayers are with you.
Avatar universal
In 2002 I had quad bypass surgery.  I am a diabetic, and have been for thirty years.
I had fluid build up around my right lung. After going back into the hospital for IV diuretics, (Lasix), which only lasted about a week each time, they finally inserted a needle between my ribs and drained 2.5 Liters of fluid.
After the draining, my legs started to swell again, like before, so I started taking Triam HTZ, a water pill that I had taken for ten years before, to control Menieres Disease...the Triam HTZ water pills kept the fluid from coming back again, and I have not had it since.
I stopped taking the water pills after a couple months following the surgery.

They said the fluid builds up due to the irritation of the lung area during the surgery.

I am as good as new now.....no heart problems, or inner ear ( Menieres) problems either.

Avatar universal
My mom had a quadruple by-pass surgery last week Wed Dec 16th and had so much fluid following the surgery that they gave her a diuretic that then adversely impacted her kidneys and caused her to need dialysis. Before the dialysis they said that something was causing her to have spasms and would stop her breathing.  She did that twice, "being coded" is what they called it.  After the second one they are now saying my mom who is 78 used to walk daily but was diabetic with hypertension is now brain dead due to the lack of oxygen.  So I just want to say for those who have survived the surgery and are now experiencing some complications.  Thank God that you did not experience what my mom has endured this past week.  
Avatar universal
I just had a quad bypass, age 58.  I have had about a liter of fluid drawn off the left lung about a week ago and now am cardio rehab.  I now fill the fluid back which does not seem to be in my lung but can feel it which seem to be on the outside.  A cough does nothing and I feel nothing moving in the lung.  I was told this is common but if I lay down my heart hurts and I feel the fluid.  I am some what afraid becuse I just want to get clear and return to work.  All these postings give an idea of what I could face.  I can say I am am afraid of more surgery it is pure torture.  Death seems so far away yet so close.  I am not afraid for myself but my wife.  I would like to pray for all on this page.  Laying here thru the long night waiting for tomorrow in the hopes of seeing the doctor seems like an eternity.  Guess I am trying to catch you Drjeff251.  The pain is great but for me being locked up in my head waiting for the end is hell.  God bless you all.  Siincerely Erobinson
Personally I will continue to wait for the out come for I believe that we are all here by the grace of God with a mission.  thanks for you guys listening to my complains!
Avatar universal
my sister just had open heart valve repair surgery and she's into her sixth week of recovery and still having a hard time breathing and fluid build up around her lungs. We don't know what to do to help, the doctors all give the same advice -- walk more-- but she can't since she can't breathe. Any help?? advice? She also just developed a cough. We are so worried about her!
Avatar universal
Hi, my father in law had a bypass surgery a week back but doctors have discovered a clot in the brain which according to them is critical and is moving him into coma and his platelets have reduced to 50000 so they say they cannot treat him further. Could anyone please advise?
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