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Welcome to the fresh new!

This new software should allow us to administer more easily and to update the look and feel more easily.

One feature we had originally when we started this adventure 14 years ago, was the personal stories and experiences section. This will be returning very soon. It is a great benefit to be able to learn from the experiences of others. Especially for those who are faced with the new uncertainty of Valve Replacement Surgery.

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Hank and Michelle Eyring
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anyone have fluid around the heart?

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  • anyone have fluid around the heart?

    I had my avr on 06/22/04 and went home 3 days later with A-Fib and not feeling well.During recovery I felt tired and overall just felt really bad for about 2 weeks at which time I had an echo.Echo revealed that I had fluid around my heart.I was taken to the hospital and had to have surgery done the very next morning and they drained 1/2 liter of fluid off plus another 250ccs from the drains that they left in.It has been the worst experience of my life and the pain from the 2nd surgery was extremely painful as they went through the old incision which now is very ugly cosmetically.I am suppose to go for another echo in one week and pray to god that I dont have fluid built up again cause I don't think I could go through another surgery.Just wanted to know if anyone else has been through this experience?

  • #2
    I feel your pain! Sorry this happened to you.

    I OD'd on coumadin the first week home after surgery. Pretty dumb and my own fault. It took 4 units of plasma to get my INR down from 19. I was fine for a few days, but then my energy level tanked. I could hardly stand at a sink to wash my hands. I never felt weaker, even the day after AVR. It was an awful feeling.

    An ER echo showed that the fluid had push my heart up near my shoulder. There was no room for the heart to expand and pump. They took me up to the cath lab and put in a drain. They just cut a small hole in my chest, right below the AVR incision and stuck the tube in. Relief was instantaneous. Within about an hour, they filled a liter bottle and started another. I went home the same afternoon with no further complications. Even stopped to do some light shopping on the way home.

    You refer to a second surgery. Was that your drain? Sounds like a big deal. Mine was more of a "procedure". Sorry yours got so complicated.
    [COLOR="blue"]Tom [/COLOR]
    [COLOR="red"]BicuspidAV. BactEndocard. AorticVR. PlantarFasc. IngHernias. Crohns. [/COLOR] [COLOR="green"]From couch to 26.2 in 53 weeks! Love to "Tri"[/COLOR]
    [COLOR="purple"]'Tis Grace that taught my heart to fear and Grace my fears relieved.'[/COLOR]


    • #3
      Welcome to our "home". I'm so sorry to hear you are having problems. What type of valve was installed. Sending you home after 3 days with A-fib and not feeling well sure doesn't sound like a good move. 3 days after a valve replacement is considered Superman status for people with bump-free recovery. I wouldn't call a-fib bump free.

      Don't let the doctors rush you into any quick recovery. I saw in your profile that you are on Coumadin. How often is your INR being checked and was is the number. 2.0 - 3.0 is theraputic range for an avr. The only reason I ask this is that if they are sending you home after 3 days, I'm concerned that they are monitoring you correctly.

      It would be helpful if you fill us in more on yourself. Age, what part of the country you are from. Do you have someone at home to help out during your recovery?


      • #4
        Yes, yes, yes!!! I had a very serious pericardial effusion seven years ago after my MVR. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't feeling better, and unfortunately, didn't have this website to refer to. The second time was worse and took me some time to get over. Give it some time, and if you have great docs (as I had), you'll recover and start feeling better each day. Best of luck to you.
        mitral valve replacement - June 1997
        Methodist Heart Institute, Methodist Hospital
        Indianapolis, IN


        • #5
          To answer some of the questions from my post, I am a 41 yr. old white male in pretty good shape. I was put on 5mgs of coumadin and they got my inr to 1.7 before I had to go back for the 2nd surgery.My inr is suppose to be between 3.0 and 3.5 for my mechanical valve that was put in.the surgery was a pericardio window and they put chest tubes in to drain the fluid for 24 hrs. They openened the bottom half of my avr incision and made 2 more incisions for the drains so I had a total of 4 drain incisions 2 old and 2 new. My recovery is going ok right now ,I feel a little better than I did and I feel really lucky that I'm alive at this point in time. It's been a really bumpy ride but I'm looking forward to making a complete recovery and put this behind me . I had my surgery done at UAB in Birmingham, alabama.


          • #6
            I side with Karlynn on this one. they shouldnt have let you go home so soon. The standard procedure at the hospital Nish was in keep patients in for 1-2 weeks as they expect patients to go into A-Fib in the first week post op


            • #7
              I had fluid, but didn't have re-op. My cardio is very conservative and chose to treat with Prednisone. I took it for 9 months and gained 30 pounds, which I've finally lost; however, I didn't have to have a second surgery. I will admit that the pain from the fluid buildup was almost unbearable at times and I was very short of breath, but it would have been worse to have another surgery.

              I'm beginning to think that a pericardial window should be standard procedure at the time of valve replacement. I wonder what the disadvantages would be?


              • #8

                I agree that the 2nd surgery was more painful then the 1st! My window was done 22 days after surgery but I had to have the drain in for 5 days(OUCH!!) but mine was very severe because the visiting nurse did not listen to me. "If" I ever have to have surgery again for any reason I will listen to my body (and the great folks here!!) and get to the E.R. or call the Dr ASAP.

                I had the same fear of the fluid building up again but the my cardio told me that that can't happen( I sure hope he was being straight with me!) again because the incision into the pericardial sac does not close up again.

                I hope the rest of your recovery goes smoothly. Remember to do you breathing and walking but take it easy on the rest of the stuff for a little while. 2 surgeries that close takes it's toll on you.


                • #9
                  Nadi, I had a window done 17 days after my AVR.I felt much better after the fluid was drained off and I was only in the hospital for 1 day after the surgery when they pulled the drain tubes out. I was really nervous about how quick they pulled the drains cause I didn't want the fluid to build back up. I don't know if the cut in the sac will close back up on its own because nobody ever informed me of that fact so I don't know if it will or not. I feel so much better now and have been doing very well with my recovery.2 surgeries definately takes a toll on your body when they are that close together.


                  • #10
                    I agree with you both: having the window so soon after the original surgery was difficult. I remember being quite depressed with no one to talk to (other than docs) about why the fluid buildup occurred. I've never thought of the fact of the cut to drain the sack not completely closing. Not sure what that means, but I'm glad I have that information (seven years after the fact).
                    mitral valve replacement - June 1997
                    Methodist Heart Institute, Methodist Hospital
                    Indianapolis, IN


                    • #11
                      Glad to hear that you are doing better. You may experience a little discomfort for a while due to lack of lubricant in the heart sac. I belive that my cardio refered to this as pericardial "rub". If you feel this, be sure to share it with your cardio to be sure that it isn't something else. Mine lasted about 3 months.
                      [COLOR="blue"]Tom [/COLOR]
                      [COLOR="red"]BicuspidAV. BactEndocard. AorticVR. PlantarFasc. IngHernias. Crohns. [/COLOR] [COLOR="green"]From couch to 26.2 in 53 weeks! Love to "Tri"[/COLOR]
                      [COLOR="purple"]'Tis Grace that taught my heart to fear and Grace my fears relieved.'[/COLOR]


                      • #12
                        pericardial window

                        You can read about Jerry's experience with this in 2002 if you go back into my past posts. After a pretty spectacular recovery from the initial AVR he started getting short of breath and swollen ankles and abdomen, etc. A trip to Urgent Care was useless--they couldn't seem to get it that it was related to his recent heart surgery! Anyway, he agrees that the 2nd surgery was much harder to get over than the first.
                        Celia, wife of Jerry (the patient)
                        AVR 2/12/02, St Jude's Mechanical
                        1 bypass
                        Pericardial Window 4/22/02
                        Cox Medical Center, Springfield MO


                        • #13
                          suffred pericarditis and effusions for two years

                          I had a chronic fluid and inflamation around my heart for two years and when they did my valve surgery the did a radical pericardectomy and im telling you ,even though I was in pain the results of removing the entire sac was immediate. You see i had become so swelled up from fluid almost 60lbs daily that my heart was not able to beat because of the fluid and innflamation. I am so thankfull that the drs went ahead and removed the entire sac,it is common after surgery to have fluid build up around the heart because of the trauma although usually it goes back down in time. I hope that you are feeling better and have a complete recovery soon. One thing also if you are still having any pain I found out that even high doses of oxycotin could not relieve tyhat pain ,but 800 mg of advil or ibriprofen which is the same, you three times a day does the job because of the imflamation.


                          • #14
                            Fluid around the heart

                            When I had mine, I was admitted in the hospital and was on IV for two days. I had never heard of surgery for fluid aroud the heart, but your situation must have been quite serious for them to do that. Glad that they did catch it in time. Things could have gone downhill. Hope you are doing better now. Take care and do ad the doctors tell you.

                            Aortic valve replacement
                            St. Jude's valve


                            • #15
                              Had Fluid Without Complications

                              I had fluid buildup about 3 weeks after my MIAVR. I found out because I had been feeling terrible and had swelling on my left side from below the ear down through my left shoulder and onto my chest. I ended up going to the emergency room where they did an echo and CT scan. They said I had pericardial effusion as well as some fluid around my lower right lung. They put me in the hospital and monitored me for 2 days and had me on Lasix for another week. They never did find out the cause of the swelling but decided not to try to drain my heart sac. That was 3 weeks ago and I've been fine ever since. My six-weeks post op is tomorrow and I've been off all my meds for over a week, exercising lightly, and drove for the first time today. My only problem is my chest is still tender and sneezes wipe me out for about 2-3 minutes. Hope you are recovering nicely by now.