Has anyone experienced a dry cough after surgery???

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Well-known member
Jan 7, 2011
Sterling, VA
I have a dry cough and it just kills me when I cough. It will be 3 weeks this Tues post surgery. If it weren't for the dry cough I'd feel much better.
I've had a dry cough for years and years....don't know if it is due to OHS or allergies. My grandkids "mock me":redface2: by immitating my cough. Other than being a nuisance, it is just something I have learned to put up with:rolleyes2:.
I, too, had an annoying dry cough after surgery. It was bad enough that often I could not speak, as the mere attempt to speak would trigger a coughing fit so bad I had to stop breathing for a few seconds and then get my breath. We never did ascertain the cause of the cough, but some time around week 6, it just disappeared on its own.

My docs suggested Robitussin DM, feeling that it would help but not inter-act with any other meds I was taking.

The others are right, too. Certain meds are known to cause coughing, so check with your docs.
I'm not on any new meds. So I guess it's from the surgery. Thanks for the inputs. I go for my post op 29 Apr, I'll bring it up to the doc.

When did you start sleeping on your side?

When did you start sleeping on your side?

I sure do miss sleeping on my side, but I'm afraid to try it. When did you start sleeping on your side?

Add me to the list, although I don't know if mine was directly related to my surgery or not. I didn't get the cough until about 2-3 weeks after surgery. It was a dry unproductive cough, and I had some coughing fits that lasted for minutes...not good with a freshly broken sternum. Personally I think it was bronchitis but the first doctor I saw said it was asthma. She put me on albuterol nebulizer treatments (had to rent a nebulizer for a month) which did little to help. I called my cardiologist's NP (she is my go to person when I need something done) and she prescribed a Medrol Dosepak which all but knocked out the cough. I had a residual cough for another week or 2 and it was gone. I think for a lot of people the cough comes from irritation from the intubation tube and the fact that your lungs are recuperating from being deflated during surgery.

As for sleeping on my side it's kind of weird (and I am a side sleeper). After my first surgery it was probably 3 weeks before I could sleep on my side and that was propping pillows all around me for extra cushion. After my recent surgery I was sleeping on my side before I left the hospital (as soon as last chest tube came out). For some reason I had less pain after this surgery, especially neck and shoulder pain which was really bad after the first surgery and almost nonexistent after this surgery.
I'm 5 weeks post op for replacement of the AV and a graft of the ascending aorta. Yes I had a persistent dry cough. I'm blaming some of it on the meds. I'm very much over that hurdle now.
Hi Rosebud

I started sleeping on my side about 3 days post op. I had two heart hugger pillows. I used one pillow behind my back and the other I held against my chest. I woke often and readjusted the pillows as I switched from side to side. The heart huggers were the perfect size and easy to manage for this task.

At 3-4 weeks I no longer used the pillow positioned against my back. At 4 weeks I simply slept on my side. We are all different, but that was my experience.
I never had a cough, and I slept on my side at about three weeks. I propped myself up with pillows until then, as it was uncomfortable to lay flat at all. I still hug a pillow when I lay on my side, which I never did before surgery.