My dad had emergent open heart surgery on 2/12. He had complications with his breathing and he coughed 4 of his wires through the sternum. His surgeon wanted immediate sternal repair surgery done. His fellow surgeon at that hospital didn't agree that it had to be done that soon. It turned out that the ordering surgeon wasn't even available to do the repair but the surgeon who was in disagreement had to. That was on 2/18. He hasn't been able to be extubated since then. They've had him in a paralyzed and heavily sedated state ever since because his lungs are not functioning properly and they're having a hard time figuring out why. Through a little research I've heard that sternal repair too close to open heart surgery is not a good idea due to inflammation (it's hard to see inside the body) and infection risks. Is this true? Do you think it's possible that in the sternal repair surgery the phrenic nerve was damaged? I'm having a really hard time trusting that nothing was injured and that he's ever going to be alright. (not to mention the mounting risks of him laying immobile in that bed for 7 days now.
There is always the possiblity that there was a related complication due to the risks associated with open heart surgery. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to say exactly what is going on just by a description (i.e. not being clinically involved with all the available information and without a physical examination). Having a prolonged intubation and difficulty weaning a patient from the venitlator is unfortunately not an uncommon situation following surgery for a variety of reasons. Those who have underlying lung disorders (COPD, asthma, etc) may have more difficult times than others who don't have structural damage. Additionally, this also depends on the overall cardiovascular performance of the patient. Regarding the timing of sternal repair, I apologize, but I cannot provide any further insight as I am not a cardiothoracic surgeon. There may be another forum that is related specifically to surgical questions that someone might be able to provide more information.
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