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IN A PANIC - fluid around the heart, surgeon called in


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I saw Ron at lunchtime and I'm told by nursing staff that there has been a call made by Ron's oncologist to have a surgeon in to see Ron for the fluid around his heart. He's in a lot of distress but no one has come in yet - they're in the OR I guess. I spoke with Ron's neice who works in the cardiac care unit - she's pretty, pretty emotional over all of this - is asking if he has things in order etc. etc. This has thrown me for a loop - Has anyone had this procedure done and then just continued on with the usual treatment and ups and downs like those caused by "normal" lung cancer diagnosis?

I don't know if Carol's particularly upset because it's her favorite uncle or if she is seeing the signs that big, big trouble is imminent. She has not seen his records.

I'm so panicked. I'm awaiting for my last client to arrive so I can get right back up to the hospital. I want to be there when the surgeon comes in.

If any of you read this posting in the next little while I'd appreciate your comments and knowledge.



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The fluid around the heart is probably a pericardial effusion. My husband has one, but so far, even though it's "large" they haven't needed to drain it. Several people on this site have had pericardial effusions drained and even pericardial windows put in to prevent further fluid buildup, and they have done just fine. I, actually, wish they would go ahead and drain my husband's. I feel like we are waiting for trouble when it could be prevented, however, I also understand the reason to not do such an invasive procedure unless it's necessary.

Hang in there, kiddo. One thing we have heard repeatedly is that once effusions are drained, the patient feels a LOT better.

Keep us posted.



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Hi Janet..

I am with Peggy on this one.. I have heard that several members have had the fluid successfully drained and one that I recall have a pericardial window...Cheryl. She was up and at 'em and back to work shortly after this procedure.

Always a good idea to have "things in order" when you are in admitted to a CCU. That is what the nurses all asked me too. My truthful response was .. I have never had things in order...why would I start now? hahaha.

I am sure that once you talk with the surgeon and she explains everything that you will feel alot better.

Thanks for the update on Ron.

Cindi o'h

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I know several people who have had pericardial effusions treated with the window procedure. One is still in active treatment because of brain mets. Another is fine. Been NED for about 8 months. He doesn't want to go public so I can't say anything more than that.

Any surgery involving the heart is going to be serious. But pericardial effusion is something that happens, and not just to lung cancer patients. It's done for viral and bacterial infections, other types of cancer, some inflammatory processess.

Prayes that things will go well for him.

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Hi there,

I don't often reply on this board however I read posts daily. This is one area that I have some experience! My dad had fluid around his heart in November that had him in great distress. They drained the fluid and within days he started to regain his strength. At that time, Dad had only had the tumour radiated...no chemo. As soon as this happened, a new area on his lung also showed cancer. So Dad immediately started chemo...Navelbine and could only take 1.5 doses before his bowels shut down. He hasn't had chemo since and he has seen no cancer growth or spread...his heart and lungs are clear and he's feeling great! We are waiting for things to deteriorate and then we'll try a different chemo option. So it's been a healthy, "normal" 4.5 months for Dad since the pericardial effusion. Hope this gives some encouragement.


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