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Avatar universal

Recovering from pneumonia & pleural effusion

Hi there. I was previously a health 30 year old female, and contracted pneumonia last year and developed a pleural effusion on my right lung. I was in hospital for two weeks as I had an infection (hot/cold/sweats) and it took them a few days to find what the cause was and whether or not I should have the fluid drained. Eventually they inserted a chest tube and drained over 1.5lt of fluid over 24 hours. I had a partially collapsed lung afterwards due to the fluid damage, but have recovered fairly well since. I've been back for a few chest xrays since which show improvement, but my doctor says I have permanent scar tissue and may only get back to 90-95%.

Its now almost 10 months later, and I've been training for my first marathon. My chest has largely been okay, though every now and I think it gets inflamed and I'll feel uncomfortable after I've gone for a run. I got a chest infection the other week after a half marathon, but have mostly recovered now and have gone for a few runs since, but now I'm getting pain in my right chest again - its a mild pain and similar to what I had when I was first recovering, but can be quite noticeable at certain points during the day. My question really is this: how long does it take to recover fully? Do other people still get some pain months after the original infection? Does it just take ages to recover, or could this be recurring again?

Any help/advice/stories of others who are recovering from this would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
20 Responses
Avatar universal
I recently had pneumonia..back in July of this year. I too took levequin to cure the infection.
The infection cleared up pretty quick, but the upper back pain and frontal chest pain still remained. The frontal chest pain is now pretty much gone..but is the upper back pain that comes and goes. My doctor said is due to pleurisy..which is the inflammation of the lining of the lungs. He says that it takes a long while for people to feel better. I suggest still walking to strenghten the lungs and some herbal supplements to help the healing of the inflammation. I've only dealt with this for 2 months..but you have been dealing it with for 10 months. I also suggets lots of rest..eat right. hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Even I had the similar situation like you, I had pneumonia  last year and had developed a Pleural effusion on my left lung, which in turn had to be drained by thoracic ICD procedure. Recently I had done a chest x-ray and there was indication of same Pleural effusion in lungs even though I do not have any physical problems or difficulties. Looks like I have to do a specialty consultation again to find if the effusion is OK or have to be treated .
Avatar universal
Hi there.  I had a similar situation as you. I too had pneumonia in spring of 2010 and pleural effusion, 1.5L of fluid, but was extremely lucky enough to not to have to have drainage.  I am curious to know if you still have some back pain and occasional chest pain.  Unfortunately, I still have occasional chest pain and back pain is pretty constant. You are much more active than I am and wonder if your body has healed where you don't have those symptoms any longer.  It is most frustrating to still feel this discomfort after almost 2 years later.
Avatar universal
Hi, I'm a 33 year old male who has had a similar situation as you. I always had a clean bill of health. Then january 2011 got really sick. I kept going to work outside as I'm an Elecrician and put off seeing a doctor. Then finally it got so bad I was having problems breathing and extreme back pain. I brought myself into emerge and found out that I had undiagnosed pneumonia and a pleural effusion to go with it. I had a thoracentesis done 330ml came out. It was at least 10 months til I started feeling half normal again. after 16 months I got another pleural effusion on my left lung. This time doctors were a little more curious as to what is causing me to have these effusions. In the end they told me it was viral. I still have excessive back pain and chest pain on the left side and some back pain on the right. I'm not training for a marathon like you but I am very active. I hit the wieghts every second day and do cardio on every other day. I feel that when i get worn down with not enough rest or too much stress I feel more pain in the lung region. good luck with your training and hope your feeling better :)
Avatar universal
I had plural effusion 4 years back almost. But since last few months I have started feeling pain in the upper and lower portion of my right chest (lungs). This is the same area which was effected earlier by plural effusion. I had consulted my physicion about the pain I am dealing with. He said its normal but I am quite worried about it. I am going for a Chest X-ray next week. Let see what is the result and then I'll decide what should be my next step. I am also trying to consult a ayurvedic doctor and take their observations to come to any final conclusion.
Avatar universal
Did you ever feel the mild chest pain after recovering from plural effusion
Avatar universal
I too am just recovering from a massive pleural effusion, it completely collapsed my left lung, I was diagnosed with TB, and its been 9 months since the initial diagnosis, I have recovered from TB as well as the pleural effusuion, but like your doctor said I too am suffering from a pleural scar and lately been having chest pains on the upper right side of my left lung..its not so bad but still noticeable..reading all the comments here I feel its quite normal and am still on the path of recovery.. I got back to active life and hitting the gym and walking now after almost 6 months of resting..
Avatar universal
Hello,

Your story is good to identify with.  I am also a young, usually healthy male of 31 (non-smoker!)

Had a pleural effusion (very small, no need for drainage) and pneumonia in 1  lung.  Stayed in the hospital for a week (actually 6days) and after two weeks received a clean x-ray.

But I do have some mild symptoms still (about 3 weeks after being released from hospital). That slight pain at the bottom of lung happens.  From what I have read, this can be normal and your story just adds to the confirmation.  Pneumonia, especially with effusion can really do a number on you- young or not.
Avatar universal
Same story with me also.I am recovering from Pleural effusion in right lung due to tuberculosis.Its been now 10 months from which my treatment had been started.But after finishing my treatment of antibiotics, I still feel mild pain in my chest and back, also some shortness of my breath. But reading all this I feel that this is common and will take some more days to recover, I am pretty optimistic about this.
Avatar universal
I am going through this presently and am a ball of anxiety. I am a healthy 39 year old, mother of 3. I was training for a half marathon. I have been under stress the past few months with a newborn, moving in with my parents because new house was being worked on. I got pretty sick suddenly. High fever, shaking chills. I went to urgent care and was told it was a virus. Long story short 3 appointments later they finally do a chest x-Ray because I was complaining of back pain. I was referred to a pulmanologist and he diagnosed me with pneumonia and pleural effusion. I am scared because of all the other illnesses and diseases that can cause it. I also have not had an appetite in almost 3 weeks so I'm losing weight. I just want to feel normal again. Any advice out there?
Avatar universal
can anybody suggest me anything  to get rid of scar after treatment of pleurae effusion.

shadab
9990083764
1 Comments
Undergo laser therapy or just have a lung tatoo to cover the scar
Avatar universal
even i had a similar situation as you, but one difference, i had in left lower lob.. but i had a situation to tap the fluid for three days.. :( what i feel now is , i have pain in the left upper lob, especially when i try to stretch that part.. and i have pain in the left lower lob, when i try to inhale to the best i can.. :( is there any exercise which can reduce this prblem.. please do reply.. will be greatly appreciated..
Avatar universal
I had chronic shoulder, chest and stomach pain a month ago and was rushed to hospital but released on the same day Monday. By Friday blood tests revealed I was fighting major inflammation/infection. My inflammation index marker raised to 290. I was rushed to hospital again and spent six days with chronic chest pain caused by pleural effusion and infection of left lung, in other words pneumonia. I had very heavy night sweats. I had some chest xrays and a CT scan revealing a few litres perhaps of fluid adjcecent to infected lung. I had 500ml drained off for analysis and hopefully the rest is diffusing into the body a now month on. My chest on the left side has been very uncomfortable until now and still  is mildly painful if I inhale fully or lay continually on it. However I played an hour of tennis and windsurfed for 10 minute sessions last weekend in Spain (after flying from UK). The progress back to health is better now, although I still feel like I'm going to faint if standing in a queue for  instance. If I lean forward or bend down I feel some mild pain, tightness of the chest and dizziness. I just crouch for a moment to regain balance. The doctors did reveal a heart condition which is under investigation. This all happened after inhaling dirty water just beforehand on two occasions while learning to kitesurf. Overall all I now feel 70% operational but  weaker than before the illness. I hope this information is useful to you and wish you a speed recovery. Adrian,  Frinton, UK                      
Avatar universal
MY chest X-Ray showing left dome of diaphgram is elevated. I have a mild pain in lower left back when i take deep breath. would anybody tell me, what it could be ? What should i do ? Is it curable condition ?
Avatar universal
2.5 years since my first pleura effusion!
My story is similar of yours and
I have always been very sporty guy competing at professional level, never smoked and always lived a healthy life.
In September 2013, at the age of 28, just after summer holidays, I started feeling pressure on the chest and difficult breathing. Not to go to much in details, after some digging they finally discovered a pleura effusion on the left lung. During the next 8 months I have been "drained" 3 times (around 1.5 liter each time), done tones of tests (liquid analysis, biopsy of pleura for TB, gastroscopy, bronchoscopy, X-rays, CT Scans and PET scans). None of the tests resulted in anything, so they concluded it was viral. Last drainage was done in April 2014. Since then I started a slow and difficult recovery. My osteopath has told me I have permanent scares and adherence.
Now after almost 21 months I am almost 100%, but when I inhale deeply I still feel like my lungs cannot fully expand like meeting an obstacle stopping the movement on the lower part of the rib cage. I also feel light pressure and on the chest at time, and a bit of dyspnea. This manifests especially when I am overworked or stressed. But also when I workout, it takes always a couple of day to feel good again for the next workout.

Now I am 30 and I just want to go back to a normal life, free of this complications.

Do you have any suggestion regarding who to strengthen the lungs w/o putting to much stress on them? I am trying breathing techniques to make the diaphragm more flexible.  
Avatar universal
2.5 years since my first pleura effusion!
My story is similar of yours and
I have always been very sporty guy competing at professional level, never smoked and always lived a healthy life.
In September 2013, at the age of 28, just after summer holidays, I started feeling pressure on the chest and difficult breathing. Not to go to much in details, after some digging they finally discovered a pleura effusion on the left lung. During the next 8 months I have been "drained" 3 times (around 1.5 liter each time), done tones of tests (liquid analysis, biopsy of pleura for TB, gastroscopy, bronchoscopy, X-rays, CT Scans and PET scans). None of the tests resulted in anything, so they concluded it was viral. Last drainage was done in April 2014. Since then I started a slow and difficult recovery. My osteopath has told me I have permanent scares and adherence.
Now after almost 21 months I am almost 100%, but when I inhale deeply I still feel like my lungs cannot fully expand like meeting an obstacle stopping the movement on the lower part of the rib cage. I also feel light pressure and on the chest at time, and a bit of dyspnea. This manifests especially when I am overworked or stressed. But also when I workout, it takes always a couple of day to feel good again for the next workout.

Now I am 30 and I just want to go back to a normal life, free of this complications.

Do you have any suggestion regarding who to strengthen the lungs w/o putting to much stress on them? I am trying breathing techniques to make the diaphragm more flexible.  
Avatar universal
I am currently going through this as well. Healthy 40 year old and I woke up one more with the most severe pain in my lower left lung. Went to ER and they diagnosed Pneumonia and sent me home with antibiotics. It wasn't until 2 weeks later when I was even more sick that I went to another ER and they found a massive parapneumonic pleural effusion and empyema on my left side which was drained of over 600ml of fluid using a chest tube. I just returned to work after 5 weeks of sick time. I'm not feeling 100% as I still have pretty severe pain in the lower left lobe when I inhale. I just had a repeat xray and the doc said she sees residual fluid in the lower left lung as well as scar tissue. I'm having pulmonary function testing this week to determine where I'm at and if there's been any perm damage. I am terrified that this will return soon or even down the line and I'll do ANYTHING to never experience a chest tube placement again. I have found that using the incentive spirometer given to me in the hospital 10 times an hour keeps me more open and feeling better so that goes with me everywhere.
2 Comments
I'm glad to have found this. I'm 40 too. I had cancer and my injection site has not felt normal. I was told residual fluid as well and scar tissue. I can run just fine, breathing is good, but scared spitless that the cancer is not completely gone.
Yv1
Kristiewithak Thank you for sharing i'm still just trying to understand what is happened to me... I had fluid drained a month ago and it keeps coming back, finally they did a thoracocopy and put a tube in my side which i empty 2x each day. It is a pain and very unpleasant...
Avatar universal
I also have a similar problem and they cannot find the cause It is very frustrating. I had a bad cold and then i couldn't breathe. Went to my doctor and after listening with a sthethoscope she prescribed an antibiotic and sent me for a chest x-ray which revealed my pleura was full of fluid. I could not even lie down (i couldn't breathe laying down). They drained the fluid a couple days later (after the weekend) and got out 2 1/2 liters. But the fluid kept building up so they did a thoracoscopy and inserted a chest tube. I'm still draining about half a liter a day. I want this chest tube out! It is so frustrating no one can give me answers on what is going on, except that since i'm generally pretty healthy and (used to) walk an hour or more every day (or snowshoe in winter), they believe it is a virus but then why isn't it going away? I too have pain in my upper back, i'm glad i found this site 'cause i wasn't sure it was related but i see that it is.
Avatar universal
I too have similar experience,my right lungs was drained over 2years ago at 32yrs of age and treated for pneumonia afterwards, the reoccurence of amother plueral effusion led toy being diagnosed with latent tb of the lungs. Last year i completed treatment for 9month anti-koch,even though all drugss were completed religiously I still feel some pain in my lower right back when I take a deep breath. My ESR dropped from 125 to 8 and last xray revealed a blunt right costophrenic sulcus which is due to previous pluerisy.
From my own experience and what I have read thus far in this forum,I don't think the pain goes away completely.
1 Comments
I had the exact same case in july of 2017, i was 17(now 18) i completed my medication as prescrjbed but still it pains when i take a deep breath. However when i lay down sideways(where pleural effusjon was) i feel relieved. I dont know what to do of this pain.
Avatar universal
Hey, I am so happy to have found this message thread as I think it’s just what I have been looking for.
I really hope it is ok to post this on here, if not then apologies.
I am going through this right now. 6 weeks ago i suddenly became unwell. Well more unwell than usual, I have asthma, diabetes, chronic pain, spinal issues, nerve damage and arthritis).
I had a fever and the worst stabbing pain every time I took a breath in. It was stabbing through my chest and into my shoulder.
I saw my GP on the Friday and he gave me a course of antibiotics, by Monday it had gotten so bad that an ambulance was called and I was admitted into hospital.
I was told that here in the uk they look for inflammatory markers in a blood test. These range between 1-150, with 150 being the worst pneumonia can get...mine was 148.
I was immediately put onto oxygen, a fluid drip because I was also dehydrated From not being able to eat or drink, and I.V. Antibiotics.
I had numerous tests and it was discovered that there was some fluid around my left lung.
By the the Friday things weren’t improving. I was now on 2 different antibiotics and oramorph every 4 hours. The doctor came and said they wanted to put a needle in my back to remove some of the fluid to see if it poison.
It was, not only that but an ultrasound had show that the poison was in pockets that had been created by poison solidifying.
I was transferred to a larger hospital that has a specialist lung and cardiac wing and is one of the uk lead hospitals in this field.
I got to the hospital, was admitted and then within a few hours I was in surgery. I woke up in intensive care, I spent a few days in there. I had 2 drains inserted. When the surgeon came around I was told that they were unable to do it by keyhole and had to do a Thoracotomy. I have a huge scar around from my side and around my back (around 8 inches). I was told that my lung was covered and was collapsing, and they removed over 2 litres of poison out of my left cavity.
I spent another week in hospital on oxygen, lots of oramorph and with 2 drains in, then a week at home with the last drain and lots of oramorph.
I’m having quite bad pain where the incisions were made, especially where my lat muscle was sliced. I also have developed this neuralgia (which seriously hurts) on the front of my left chest.
I have very little energy, I was told at hospital that my breathing was around 50%. I’m was given a walking stick to help with my mobility due to my level of breathing.

Can I ask some questions please?
*How long did it take until you weren’t so exhausted from even the smallest task?
*When did you return to work?
*How much did your breathing return to normal and after how long?
*Were people around you understanding?
*I have developed this kind of every now and the it’s like I am trying to catch my breath, did anyone else have any strange things develop?
*Did anyone else get the painful neuralgia and did it clear up?
*I was told that I was a very lucky man, had I not got to the emergency room when I did I might not have made it. I didn’t realise it was such a serious condition or combination of conditions. I was also made aware that I am not in clear just yet but I don’t know what that means, I did a bit of research that said that there is a mortality rate of 20% of patients with other health conditions who have had an empyema and pneumonia. Does anyone else know about this?

Thanks you so much for letting me share my story, again I am super sorry if I’m posting things to the wrong place. I’ve only just joined.
I look forward to reading your replies.
Have a great day xx
1 Comments
I also want to say how grateful I am to have stumbled across this information. As I type this comment I am sitting in a hospital beside my fiance whom is fighting for his life.
Yesterday, we came into our local ER, him with chest, shoulder, and back pain, shortness of breath, and just loss of daily activity. He had experienced shortness of breath for a couple of months that would come and go. The physician in the ER ordered a CT of the upper and lower torso, and chest as well as blood work. After results of the CT, and within minutes , they had him in radiology doing an ultrasound guided thorasentesis to drain fluid from his right lung. Last night he spikes a fever of 102.6 and hasn't broke since. He too is on 2 very strong antibiotics. We are still waiting for the results from his fluid culture, but have been told it most likely is a bacterial infection but have mentioned he has various pockets of infection in his lung along with pneumonia and the pleural effusion and it's possible he will have to have a lung surgery to remove the infection/fluid. Ok, this is out of the blue!!! What the heck has caused him to go from healthy one minute to helpless the next? I cry watching him try to breathe. What can I do for him? What questions do I need to be asking? What do I need to make sure they check or do? I need help and answers too please, until yesterday I was unaware of this disease completely so I need all information I can get especially from people that have had such similar situations, and I want to make sure he sticks around with me for years and years as healthy as I can make sure he gets, please help! Also, thank you in advance for any and all help and information.
Sincerely
Nicole and Dewayne
5/4/18 North Carolina
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