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Thread: Newbie Question: Incision Leaking and Irritated

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
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    14

    Question Newbie Question: Incision Leaking and Irritated

    Hi, Everyone --

    My name's Maria. I'm new to the forum, but I think I've read about half of the posts on here over the past few weeks!

    My husband Bill had surgery 2 and a half weeks ago to fix an aortic aneurysm. It was a success, and the surgeon at Mass General Hospital patched his aorta up nicely (2 patches). For the past three or four days though, his incision has been leaking -- not pus, but clear or reddish-clear colored fluid. When his chest is pressed upon, more fluid leaks out.

    We went to MGH on Saturday for his surgeon to take a look, but he was unexpectedly out of town. Two other doctors checked it, instead. They think it might be a seroma, and/or that his skin might be inflamed because of a reaction to the internal sutures. They gave him antibiotics just to be safe.

    The leaking is better today, but the irritated part of the incision is puffier and redder. He hasn't had a fever at all during this leakage. Anyone have an experience like this? I'm so afraid of infection! Thoughts?

    Anxious in Boston,
    Maria

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    My surgery was performed at Oklahoma Heart Institute here in Tulsa, OK, USA, on 22 September, 2009 by Dr James Spann.
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    Hi, Maria, If it was me, I would call the surgeon's office today to give them an update. It may not be anything serious but this is an instance where I would take no chances. If you cannot get in to see the surgeon, perhaps, your family doctor could see your husband. Possibly, I am over cautious but after my AVR there was no leaking through the chest incision. My 4 little incision across the top of the abdomen that held the drains and wires did leak a little for more than a month but never the large incision. I hope all is well.

    Larry
    AVR 22 SEP 09
    Carpentier-Edwards Bovine Pericardial "Magna" with Sternal Talons
    Oklahoma Heart Institute, Tulsa, OK

  3. #3

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    I personally would have him get checked out again. Did they at least do any tests? Xray, echo ect? Did they do cultures to see if anything was growing from the fluid? I would call the surgeons office. Since you took your husband in and his surgeon was out of town, did you call before you went?
    My son has had a few different post op problems (from different heart surgeries not all from the same pne) and we usually call his surgeon and cardiologist and they have him go to the office, if it is during hours and if not someone meets him in the ER.
    Lyn
    Mom to Justin 25 TGA,VSDs, pulmonary atresia/stenosis ect, post/Rastelli, 5 OHS, pacer in and out ... and surgery w/muscle flap for post op infection (sternal osteomyelitis with mediastinitis) www.caringbridge.org/nj/justinw

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    2,508

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    I totally agree with other others. Get this checked out. You want to make sure there is no infection going on. Welcome aboard and keep us posted.

    Brigham and Women Hopsital -Dr.Shekar OHS- June 1,09
    AVR-St.Jude Mechanical Valve. (25VAVGJ-515)
    Ascending/Transverse Arch Aortic Replacement


    Nelson

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    KITCHENER, ONTARIO, CANADA
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    3,226

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    Welcome to the FAMILY of OHS brothers and sisters...............PLEASE check it out until you get a definitive answer it may be as the others have mentuioned or a need for lasix to avoid CHF ........ BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST FIGHT ANY CHANCE OF INFECTION and that the proper antibiotic is fighting the proper infection I for one know all too well how badly an outcome THAT can be as MRSAs are becoming more common place post OHS

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Canada
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    366

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    Hi there, cograt's on your husband's successful surgery.
    I had a similar experience post surgery, at around two weeks out and it did turn out to be an infection. My PCP squeezed the puffy bit ( the single most painful part of my surgery, but necessary) and quite alot of pus came out, even though there had been none until then, just clear fluid. He also prescribed and anti biotic and took a swab for the lab, forwarding the results to the surgeon so they can know what they are sending people home with. Without the swab you can't be absolutely certain of the right anti-biotic, unless it begins to clear up immediately upon the commencement of treatment.

    You really must go back to the doc. Right now there is no such thing as 'too' careful.

    Best of luck with it,

    Paul

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    I agree to have it checked again.

    I had my two OHS at Mass General and they took such good care of me.
    Hope it turns out to be fine but better to be safe.
    Infection that near the heart right after surgery wouldn't be good.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
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    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for your input! We've showed the leaking incision to three doctors now, and they all say it's doing just fine. There is a seroma under the skin that's leaking, and the fluid is not harmful or indicative of infection. However, because a tiny hole at the top of the incision opened up, they are treating him with oral antibiotics -- just to be safe. He still has no fever, no pus, and no discomfort. Even so, I'll just be glad when the incision is all healed up!

    ~Maria

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    East Ontario, Canada
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    12,616

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    Hello and welcome.
    At 3 weeks post op my incision also leaked and my home nurse determined it was fluid and "debris". EWWW.
    But they took my temp every day, rinsed it with sterile saline solution, applied a good antib cream, and covered it with gauze while I slept.
    BAV-Aortic Stenosis...AVR Oct 11, 2005 / St.Jude Regent mechanical 21mm
    INR Home testing since 2007 with Coaguchek XS...Self-Dosing

    "Caution: I may have been in contact with Nuts"

  10. #10
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    Dec 2010
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    Boston, MA
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    Thanks, Bina! Sounds like you experienced the same thing my husband is going through now. And that's how they're treating his, too (plus the antibiotics). How long did it take your incision to stop leaking?

    ~Maria

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    East Ontario, Canada
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    The home nurse cared for and checked on it until I was 8 or 9 weeks post op...(I don't heal fast)
    BAV-Aortic Stenosis...AVR Oct 11, 2005 / St.Jude Regent mechanical 21mm
    INR Home testing since 2007 with Coaguchek XS...Self-Dosing

    "Caution: I may have been in contact with Nuts"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    Yes, I think you are doing the right thing, being so proactive. Better to be safe, than sorry. I worried about infection too. Like Bina, I am a slow healer. However, I did not have this particular problem, but if I remember correctly there are others on this forum that have experienced something similar.

    Take care

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    England
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    Hiya,

    I had the same thing about 4 weeks post op. Went to see my GP (doctor) got oral antibiotics & the practice nurse dressed the leaky bit with an iodine patch, after 2 days it had stopped leaking, took the antibiotics for the rest of the 7 day course ( VERY IMPORTANT!!) and by the end of the week it had sealed itself over. The also sent a swab to the lab which came back as completely free from infection.
    Part of my wound which is healing is also red & puffy & itchy ( 8 weeks P/O) however its fine & is getting better. I find that it gets red & itchy when I sweat at night; but by wearing soft cotton round necked T-shirts day & night, I find they keep my cool; absorb any swaet; don't irritate the wound & by being round neck don't catch on the top of the wound. The only downside is loads of t-shirts to wash!!!!

    Hope this is of some help.

    Tony

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    SoCal
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    Had identical situation.....went back to thoracic surgeon, the nice fellow opened it up again right there on his exam table for his own culture samples and took a look at the "cables"....There was a question that one of them was protruding thru the incision healing scar....It wasnt....he sent me immediately to a infectious disease specialist (in the same building) for more samples and HE decided he wanted me on the strong IV antibiotics, just to be safe and NOT have to worry about it ever again...Oh yeah, he wanted it with a PICC line right into my heart, incision on the inside of my right bicep....Jeeeez......back to the cath lab for a PICC line insertion procedure and 14 days of IV antibiotics. Wifey did the nurse thing with helping me with my IV bags....twice per day 40 minutes per bag of vankomycin. EXTREMELY STRONG A/B. Side affects were noticeable but not too bad. An infection of the sternum is NOTHING to mess with, so there is no such thing as a "over-reaction" to this if the question even exists for a possible infection.

    All cultures came back negative and incision quite leaking in about 2 weeks and it took another 2-3 weeks for it to heal over. I learned how to sleep on my back and like it. Well, kinda like it....I still sleep on my back but dream about sleeping on my stomach

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