Cardiac tamponade

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LoveMyBraveHeart

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Aug 6, 2019
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Hi guys,

I unfortunately have to report that Mathias and I came to the ER in the wee hours of the morning today. Something was not right, so I insisted we get things checked out. Sure enough, they detected a tamponade putting pressure on his right ventricle. Hes in emergency surgery now, but thankfully was able to get the same OR team he had on Friday for the valve replacement, so there was a little comfort in that (the crew cancelled their day to make sure he was getting the best care 😭) Anyone have experience with this? Sounds like catching it early is the best thing, so I'm glad I trusted my gut and my sixth sense of being able to see something dire in someones eyes (worked with animals all my life and have seen that"look" many times).

Words of support are welcome! Waiting for them to call me and tell me my love is a-ok!
Jill
 

Agian

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Jill other people here have had tamponade and they all did well. Treat it as a hiccup. He'll be fine. They can usually drain it with a needle.

When the dust settles tell us about the 'look' you describe. You sound like an intuitive girl.

I've worked with animals too.
 

Protimenow

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I'm not an expert on this, but my guess about the 'look' is when the eyebrows move close together, and the face seems to droop. Crinkling the eyebrows comes off like a 'pained' look, and may be somewhat involuntary.

My wife catches it, even when I try to hide it (and sometimes when I don't know there's a problem).

Correct me, Jill, if there are other features of 'the look' that I've missed or gotten completely wrong.
 

LoveMyBraveHeart

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The 'look' I'm referring to is painful, hopeless, dark/numb, and most of all, pleading. It's a scary one to witness, but a good one to know how to recognize. It's almost like a million emotions pass through their eyes in a matter of seconds. Confusion, anger. Pain, sadness, lost, and numb all wrapped into one. Everyone has a different one, but I think the common denominator is the pleading. Please make it stop, please help me, please don't look at me....etc. Difficult to stomach when you see it.
He is out of surgery now and in CICU. Still on the respirator, his lungs dont want to work at full capacity just yet, but hes only been out for 4 hours and he looked like something right out of a coroner's office when he went in. It's okay for him to be sleeping and pain free for now. His color is already better than when we got to the ER. Fingers crossed they get to pull the tube soon and he can really start the road to recovery, under strict and watchful eyes.
 

skeptic49

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Tamponade is a potentially life-threatening complication experienced by some after AVR. I had my surgery on a Monday. In spite of four drainage tubes, by Friday I was so weak that I collapsed unconscious when they tried to get me into a chair. I was returned to the OR soon thereafter and my full sternotomy was re-opened for fluid removal. The good news is that I subsequently made a full recovery. I hope that all is smooth sailing now that the problem has been addressed.
 

dwhist

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Elmhurst, IL
I had my valve replaced about 8 years ago. On week 10 after surgery, I was not feeling well and went to the cardiologist on a Friday not feeling well. He checked me over and said everything appeared ok. That Sunday I got on my bike for first time and did 10 miles, being out of breath when I got home.

That following Tuesday I got a call from docs office he decided he wanted me to have a CT scan and head to hospital ASAP. Had CT and then echo. Was taken straight to surgery where they made a small cut and drained the pericardial sack of about 1 liter of fluid and leaving a window so to speak. By leaving sack partially open, no pressure would build up again, but would close up over time.

Anesthesiologist was telling me on way in to surgery they were rushing as the fluid could cause the heart to stop at anytime and they could not revive me without getting the fluid out due to the pressure of the fluid on heart. Was in the same surgical room and the same team as AVR surgery as they were not sure what was causing fluid buildup.

Kept in hospital for 3 days with drain tube and sent home with no issues. Doctor said it was rare to get this so late after surgery, I believe there was another poster here who had it later too. Something to keep an eye on.
 

Duffey

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Jill other people here have had tamponade and they all did well. Treat it as a hiccup. He'll be fine. They can usually drain it with a needle.

When the dust settles tell us about the 'look' you describe. You sound like an intuitive girl.

I've worked with animals too.
Good thing medical professionals are able to do their jobs without being waylaid by their patients’ “look”. They’d never get anything accomplished. I hope Mathias decides to join our group when he is able. It would be interesting to hear his recitation of the events he’s experienced along his heart valve journey. Please convey to him my hope that he recovers quickly.
 

LoveMyBraveHeart

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Thanks, all. He got through surgery well and is recovering and feeling much better. We got him to the hospital just in time, but they had to do the full sternotomy again to clear out the fluid/clot. At one point his BP dropped to 75/40. I am grateful he was strong enough to make it through the surgery.
As for him posting here, I will let him know you guys have interest in hearing his side of the story. He is pretty bashful about the whole situation as he is a very proud and stubborn guy that doesnt like to expose when he has been weak. Maybe someday I can convince him you guys dont bite too hard and are so helpful and funny and many of you have had the same complications he has. He feels very alone sometimes.
 

Protimenow

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Seeing dwhist's story, I wonder now if I didn't have it right after surgery. I was still not awake after surgery, but my wife told me that there was too much blood in the tubes after surgery, and they took me back to the O.R. and redid the sternotomy. Whatever it was, they fixed it this time.

I think I may have even survived and recovered. At least, that's what they told me. Wait - I'm writing this now. I guess they may have been right. Maybe.
 

LondonAndy

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Please forgive the diversion, but having not heard of "Cardiac Tamponade" my first thought was that it was some kind of weird drink! Having now Googled it I realise how serious it is, and am very glad not to have had it.
 

LoveMyBraveHeart

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Please forgive the diversion, but having not heard of "Cardiac Tamponade" my first thought was that it was some kind of weird drink! Having now Googled it I realise how serious it is, and am very glad not to have had it.
Funny you mention it. When I first learned of tamponade years ago, I always thought of olive tapenade, the relish, topping stuff you put on crackers 😂 but yes, a very serious, scary and painful situation. Glad it is taken care of.
 

dwhist

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I have read that during surgery some doctors sew the pericardium sack up after surgery, like mine did. Other doctors do not sew it back up so fluid cannot build up in the sack, however this can cause the heart, not protected now, to fuse to the back of the breast plate making further surgeries more difficult.

Anybody else read or heard of this issue?
 

Duffey

Me and Granbon
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I have read that during surgery some doctors sew the pericardium sack up after surgery, like mine did. Other doctors do not sew it back up so fluid cannot build up in the sack, however this can cause the heart, not protected now, to fuse to the back of the breast plate making further surgeries more difficult.

Anybody else read or heard of this issue?
I haven’t heard that it’s ever sewn back up, I thought that it was always left open, but I could and probably am, wrong. I suffered from another pericardial issue post-op, pericardial constriction. The pericardium was very tight across my heart, acting like a straight jacket in limiting my heart beat. Not fun at all!
 
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