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cindyconstien (@cindyconstien)

No cause found for persistent pleural effusions

Lung Health | Last Active: Mar 8, 2021 | Replies (25)

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Hi Rob,
You’ve had quite the ordeal. Until I read your posts tonight I thought my situation was unique. Now I think I may just be at the start of a long race that you’re very familiar with: how to end chronic pleural effusions.

My experience with this began after open heart surgery at Mayo in May where I had my aortic and mitral valves replaced and my tricuspid repaired. It was a rough surgery. I had my first thoracentesis a few days after the surgery. At that point I was so generally miserable that I was unaware of any particular difficulty breathing — I was having difficulty just living. After discharge from Mayo (13 days later), I went home where my condition continued to deteriorate. Four days of freedom, and then a rush to the local emergency room where I was admitted for 9 days while they worked on dealing with my fluid overload – including a second thoracentesis that removed 1.6 liters.

Once discharged I went about the business of ever-so-slowly regaining the ability to care for myself. As I advanced from using a walker to being able to drive, I began cardiac rehab. I wasn’t getting stronger and, while breathing was easier, it still wasn’t good. Long story short, I had a third thoracentesis in early August. I was briefly better; for example I was able to climb the stairs from lower to upper level while stopping only once to catch my breath. I had high hopes that today’s chest xray would reveal the absence of pleural effusion. I had hope even though the last two days had found me struggling with breathing. Well, my hope was in vain. Yet again there’s fluid. Right lung. Just like before. No clear cause. My pulmonologist is tentatively recommending colchicine to treat the inflammation and no thoracentesis. She wants to consult with my Mayo and local cardiologists before finalizing this as a treatment plan.

After reading about your experience, I’m feeling pretty hopeless that this fluid war will be over anytime soon. At this point, I’m worse off than before the surgery. I hate to think that the misery I’ve endured for almost 4 months is simply the beginning of the downhill slide of the rest of my life.

I sincerely hope things improve for you soon.

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Replies to "Hi Rob, You’ve had quite the ordeal. Until I read your posts tonight I thought my..."

It is all so discouraging, but I am feeling better. I believe the Lupus treatment is working. The lymphedema is improving, as long as I take lasics, wear support hose and keep my feet up. I can do some outside work in moderate amounts, to much and the legs swell again. Breathing is ok as long as I don't push to hard and the humidity is low. Stairs and hills are problematic. The last blood work shows the Lupus markers are almost negligible. All other blood work and tests are unable to point to a cause.

Hang in there. Rob C.

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