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Weird breathing

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slipkid

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Jun 12, 2014
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192
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Schwenksville, PA, USA
I am about 6-7 weeks post op (double bypass + new aortic valve).

Starting about a week ago I have started having what I can only describe as "strange breathing events". I have attempted to explain these & ask about them with both my cardiologist & GP (also a nurse at cardiac rehab) but have no answers so far. Actually I have not even been able to discuss this with my cardiologist (I left a message with his office, they returned my call when I was not home, I called them back, but they have not called again).

What happens is that during inhalation something spazzes out in my chest (heart? lungs? a muscle? I have no idea) and my intake abruptly stops & turns into an exhale instead, after which I can draw breath normally.

There is no pain when this happens. It doesn't make me cough. It happens randomly, when sitting, lying down, walking, anything, so does not seem to be related to my heart rate, being taxed/tired, or positional. I've had these about maybe 5 to 10 a day.

Until last Friday I have never felt anything like this in my life, including the previous 6 weeks while I've been recovering post-op.

Regardless of these events my lungs do still feel weird though, that is if trying to draw a very deep breath they reach a point where I have pain and I have to stop inhaling (never had this sensation prior to surgery). And I still do have a cough sometimes. I have made progress on that inhalation therapy thing they gave me in the hospital btw, in the hospital I could not get over about 500, but now at home I can get to around 1700 to 2300, so I think my lungs are improving.

Something else to mention is that I was switched from metoprolol to atenolol and this started happening about 4 days after that. Could be a coincidence (or not)?

Anyone else experience something like this post-op, or have clues to suggest what this is?
 

pellicle

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Nov 4, 2012
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Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Nope, but nice to see our American cousins using "spazzez out"

Sounds like some nervous thing (like a nerve being irritated) so mention it to the Dr and keep an eye on it :)
 

bw00

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Jan 7, 2014
Messages
36
Location
Breda, the Netherlands
I had that too! I am 7-8 weeks post op now. For me it just disappeared after a while. At least I think it's the same, the way you describe it, I think it is. And I could not stop it, it just had to happen to be able to breathe normally again. Anyway, for me it just disappeared but I'm not sure what it is.
 

slipkid

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Jun 12, 2014
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Location
Schwenksville, PA, USA
I had that too! I am 7-8 weeks post op now. For me it just disappeared after a while. At least I think it's the same, the way you describe it, I think it is. And I could not stop it, it just had to happen to be able to breathe normally again. Anyway, for me it just disappeared but I'm not sure what it is.
Interesting, thanks. We are right around the same post-op timeline bro. I just released I am on 7 weeks now too!

Did you have this all along or did it just start at some point (this started out of the blue for me around week 6)? And do you have a cough at all? I've had a horrible cough post-op starting day #1, which although it has subsided I still have it.
 

bluefields409

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Jun 18, 2010
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Nova Scotia ( formerly ON)
:geeeeeeeeeeeeez.....Am week 3 1/2 and get nervous when I read about weird and maybe not so wonderful things that can crop up.

Do I have a spazz in my future?? I am voting NO !!

The worst thing about this point in recovery is, when you feel generally good etc and then you "forget" that sternum/body etc is still healing, and you make that wrong movement. I reached for seat belt today. OW!!

Now I find if sitting in position too long, or on a low seat, straightening up is essential even if it doesn't happen instantaneously. Will admit to still feeling quite stiff, like wearing "armour".

I feel like I should be in monty python skit and banging coconuts. :biggrin2:

Helen
 

slipkid

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Jun 12, 2014
Messages
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Location
Schwenksville, PA, USA
I did a similar thing today. Reached over my head in a closet to get something and OUCH!!!!! And now the left side of my chest is screwed up (painful) even though it felt fine the last couple days. I've done this type of thing before too, just a few days ago I also made this very sore (picking up a trash can). I keep forgetting that for some reason when I do stuff with my left arm, especially reaching for stuff, or picking things up, it aggravates that part of my chest.
 

epstns

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I think many of us have various breathing anomalies during recovery. Mine was the situation where I would suddenly take a spontaneous unintended deep breath (rather than a normal breath), then exhale, then back to normal. No exertion or known reason for the deep breath, but it would just happen. It mostly has gone away, but even now at 3+ years post-op, I occasionally have them. I just ignore it and move on. Hope you can, too.
 

bw00

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Jan 7, 2014
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Breda, the Netherlands
Yes it just came up from nowhere, I think for me around week 5. I did have a cough as well. It was not really bad, just more then normal. The cough disappeared as well! My doctor did tell me that if the coughing got really bad I had to get that checked.
 

DebbyA

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Feb 5, 2007
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Tucson, AZ
One possibility is effusion--fluid buildup. I experienced that not as shortness of breath, but as if something in my abdomen was keeping me from taking a deep breath. I told the cardio it felt like a big ball in my stomach was preventing a deep breath. Because I didn't use the key words "shortness of breath", it took me about a week to get them to pay attention. By then it was an emergency. If you feel like you're losing ground or not breathing properly, please don't ignore it.
 

Mooney

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Sep 1, 2011
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PA
epstns;n800188 said:
I think many of us have various breathing anomalies during recovery. Mine was the situation where I would suddenly take a spontaneous unintended deep breath (rather than a normal breath), then exhale, then back to normal. No exertion or known reason for the deep breath, but it would just happen. It mostly has gone away, but even now at 3+ years post-op, I occasionally have them. I just ignore it and move on. Hope you can, too.
I am experiencing some breathing anomalies now after my mitral valve repair on Feb 28 2014. It is super hard to describe but I have episodes where it's almost like if I don't consciously tell myself to breathe...then I wont?? It has woken me up a couple of times this week. I am wondering if it is related to my high heart rate following surgery, which is now getting back to normal?

For example, I would think that you breathe at a certain (faster) rate, when the HR is hovering in the 90-110 range at rest? And now that I am recently dropping back to a resting HR in the 70-90 range, that perhaps my breathing is not getting the message that it does not have to breathe at the same high rate that it has been for the past 6-8 months? In other words, is it possible that my breathing rate has to also adjust to the lower HR too, and that might take a bit of time?
 

epstns

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I'm not sure that there is a link between breathing rate and heart rate. At least, for me there wasn't. Pre-op, my resting heart rate was in the upper 40's. (Originally we felt that was due to the physical conditioning effects of 30+ years of running.) Post-op, my resting heart rate is over 60. (My pacemaker is set to a 60 BPM minimum, but I pace naturally above that). Apparently I had bradycardia before, but no longer have it. All this, and my breathing rate is about the same as it always was. Who knows? Not I.
 
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