Pneumonia while recovering from open heart surgery

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Mark Miller

VR.org Supporter
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2023
Messages
107
Location
Marion, Iowa, USA
I had a sinus infection that became pneumonia. I will list a few questions for some discussion and feedback. Then I will give the background for those who are interested.

Questions and topics for discussion
1. When I had the sinus infection, I was coughing a lot a night. So on 3 nights I took Robitussin DM cough and cold syrup. This is Dextromethorphan HB and Guaifenesin. The first and 3rd time I used the Robitussin DM, I woke up in afib. I checked this on my Kardiamobile 6L EKG. After a few hours and my morning dose of Metoprolol the afib went away. Reading the side effects list carefully I see blood pressure and heartrate listed for this drug. Have others gone into afib when using cough suppressants?

2. It has been very cold here in Iowa, USA. Wind chills far below 0 Fahrenheit. I was outside several times for up to an hour running my snow blower. Once when I came inside, I was in afib. It went away after an hour. Have others gone into afib after some exertion in cold weather?

3. Have others seen that pneumonia increases your risk of afib and other heartrate issues? I just now found a study showing increased risk of afib in patients with pneumonia. Risk of atrial fibrillation in patients with pneumonia - PubMed

Background
I had my mitral valve repaired and my aortic valve replaced with an On-x mechanical valve on Sep 14th, 2023. My recovery was going smoothly. Cardiac rehab people said my aerobic performance was great and they only saw 1 afib episode back in Oct. By Christmas I was feeling pretty good, starting to use 20 lbs of weight for resistance training, etc. Then I got a cold, which became a sinus infection, so family Dr gave me a round of Azithromycin antibiotic. This seemed to clear up the sinus drainage and coughing; after a few days I was getting better. While on the antibiotics we checked my INR and it was 2.1.

But then I realized I was gaining weight (7 lbs, on a frame of 138 lbs) and I was very short of breath after even a slight exertion. I knew this could be serious heart failure and pneumonia, etc, so I went to the emergency room (ER) at a local hospital.

ER doctor took EKG, x-rays, and blood work. I had pneumonia, plainly visible in x-rays. Some fluid inside the lungs, and some around the lungs. My NT-proBNP was over 900. Also my Troponin T 5th Gen was a bit high. But I was walking and talking, so they did not admit me (which I agree with). They gave me prescriptions for Amoxicillin-Clav and Doxycycline Hyclate and told me to follow-up with family DR and cardiologist the next week. I saw my family Dr 4 days ago, and she said lungs sound clear. She ordered more blood tests, which I had today. My NT-proBNP is now 513, so it is still high (should be below 300), but it is coming down a lot. My weight is back to 138 lbs, and my legs have returned to their normal size. I feel decent, like I'm back to good health. I have talked with my cardiologist, who wants to see the blood test results. She may want me to see me in a couple weeks; we haven't yet decided if that is necessary. I also will inform my electrophysiologist cardiologist about this.

Overall, I feel that I am back to normal good health. However, I think this episode of pneumonia has set my strength and endurance back 2 months. Fortunately, I am not a professional athlete, so I am adjusting my workouts and continuing on from where I am...
 
Hi

I had a sinus infection that became pneumonia. I will list a few questions for some discussion and feedback. Then I will give the background for those who are interested.
that sucks, sorry to hear that.

Have others gone into afib when using cough suppressants?

I haven't

Have others gone into afib after some exertion in cold weather?

I haven't (and that includes -20C)

Fortunately, I am not a professional athlete, so I am adjusting my workouts and continuing on from where I am...
sounds about right

Best Wishes
 
Last edited:
I had a sinus infection that became pneumonia. I will list a few questions for some discussion and feedback. Then I will give the background for those who are interested.

Questions and topics for discussion
1. When I had the sinus infection, I was coughing a lot a night. So on 3 nights I took Robitussin DM cough and cold syrup. This is Dextromethorphan HB and Guaifenesin. The first and 3rd time I used the Robitussin DM, I woke up in afib. I checked this on my Kardiamobile 6L EKG. After a few hours and my morning dose of Metoprolol the afib went away. Reading the side effects list carefully I see blood pressure and heartrate listed for this drug. Have others gone into afib when using cough suppressants?

2. It has been very cold here in Iowa, USA. Wind chills far below 0 Fahrenheit. I was outside several times for up to an hour running my snow blower. Once when I came inside, I was in afib. It went away after an hour. Have others gone into afib after some exertion in cold weather?

3. Have others seen that pneumonia increases your risk of afib and other heartrate issues? I just now found a study showing increased risk of afib in patients with pneumonia. Risk of atrial fibrillation in patients with pneumonia - PubMed

Background
I had my mitral valve repaired and my aortic valve replaced with an On-x mechanical valve on Sep 14th, 2023. My recovery was going smoothly. Cardiac rehab people said my aerobic performance was great and they only saw 1 afib episode back in Oct. By Christmas I was feeling pretty good, starting to use 20 lbs of weight for resistance training, etc. Then I got a cold, which became a sinus infection, so family Dr gave me a round of Azithromycin antibiotic. This seemed to clear up the sinus drainage and coughing; after a few days I was getting better. While on the antibiotics we checked my INR and it was 2.1.

But then I realized I was gaining weight (7 lbs, on a frame of 138 lbs) and I was very short of breath after even a slight exertion. I knew this could be serious heart failure and pneumonia, etc, so I went to the emergency room (ER) at a local hospital.

ER doctor took EKG, x-rays, and blood work. I had pneumonia, plainly visible in x-rays. Some fluid inside the lungs, and some around the lungs. My NT-proBNP was over 900. Also my Troponin T 5th Gen was a bit high. But I was walking and talking, so they did not admit me (which I agree with). They gave me prescriptions for Amoxicillin-Clav and Doxycycline Hyclate and told me to follow-up with family DR and cardiologist the next week. I saw my family Dr 4 days ago, and she said lungs sound clear. She ordered more blood tests, which I had today. My NT-proBNP is now 513, so it is still high (should be below 300), but it is coming down a lot. My weight is back to 138 lbs, and my legs have returned to their normal size. I feel decent, like I'm back to good health. I have talked with my cardiologist, who wants to see the blood test results. She may want me to see me in a couple weeks; we haven't yet decided if that is necessary. I also will inform my electrophysiologist cardiologist about this.

Overall, I feel that I am back to normal good health. However, I think this episode of pneumonia has set my strength and endurance back 2 months. Fortunately, I am not a professional athlete, so I am adjusting my workouts and continuing on from where I am...
Glad that you were proactive and got with your doctor. Keep up the workouts and be good to yourself.
 
I don't know about exertion in the cold and afib, but I do know that exertion in the extreme cold can effect people with heart problems. Most common problem is a heart attack. Years ago, I had a friend in his 20s who went out to put a lot of Christmas garbage on the curb and dropped dead of a heart attack. He was not known to have any heart problems before.
 
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