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Need advice (pleurodesis)

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Hi guys,

My husband underwent pleurodesis on Thursday and, after a bad crisis of high heartrate, he's stable in that sense but his breathing is absolutely horrible.

There is something here that doesn't make sense. Pleurodesis is supposed to help you breath (if the fluid was the cause of the shortness of breath) or leave you the same, but never leave you worse. We saw the doctor (surgeon) today and he says "it must be the cancer then", but quite frankly, with Archie's very slowly growing cancer, it seems unlikely to me that suddenly there is this change. Before the pleurodesis Archie was short of breath, but he would go around, go to the park with our 2 year old, go to the supermarket, do chores around the house, come up to the 3rd floor. Now, Archie is bedridden and getting up to brush his teeth, for example, is a Herculean task that puts his heartrate at 150+ and leaves him completely out of breath.

If they knew this could happen, why didn't they tell us? But I don't think so, I think it is indeed an exception, and they easy answer is "oh, it's the cancer", but it doesn't make sense to me. It is too much of a coincidence. Archie's state is really bad at this point and we need answers, of why and what to do, that it seems these doctors are not willing to look for. If any of you have any insigt in his experience or somebody else's they know, please do let us know.

Thank you so much,

María, wife of Archie


dx in Dec. 2001 with stage IV NSCLC, with mets to skeleton, lymphatic system, adrenal glands. Underwent many chemos in these years. Taxotere was the only drug that clearly helped for some months. Other clinical trials put him "stable" as well, but it was more a result (IMHO) of the slow growth in his cancer, although it made those studies look good (in the words also of the pulmonologist). Right now, he only has one functional lung.


"How we spend our days... is of course how we spend our lives."

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Hi Maria,

Sorry to read this news about Archie.

Have you considered getting a second or third opinion? If you do, you will need all of his scans ans test results to take with you.

What state are you located? Maybe someone can recommend where to go...

In my prayers and please let us know how he is doing. Things don't sound right.

In my prayers,


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If you have not done this check under Don M about your initial post there are 2 more you may not have seen there. I may be wrong and you may have seen them. Deb had the Pleural effusion done and had no after effects. I am not sure if they are the same procedure or not though.

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Hello Maria,

This is our current and ongoing experience as of June 4 regarding pleurodesis. Maybe some of it applys to your case. My wife Lisa has been in the hospital these past 9 days for the pleurodesis procedure of her right lung. The reason we went for the procedure was because her symptoms were already shortness of breath and she could only sleep on her right side and still breath. She has to sleep with an O2 concentrator also. A CT scan was done to aid the doctor's insertion point. The procedure to insert the chest tube and drain the pleural fluid worked fine and she was able to breath much better and sleep on her back and sides. The next few days suction from the tube drained more fluid and allowed the upper and lower parts of her right lung to expand and touch the rib cage. This was confirmed by a CT scan. Then the doctor used Silver Nitrate to irritate the two layers to bond and suctions was left on to drain more fluid and help the bonding. The tube was removed when the fluid out was 50cc-70cc per day then the tube was pulled out and a big gauze patch was taped over the hole. That comes of on day 10 (tomorrow). The doctor said the lung had developed some pnumonia which is being treated with IV broad sprectrum anti-biotics. Since no nasty cultures of mucus came back positive the doc remove the IV and she only gets an anti-infection pill. the doc prescribed nebulizer treatments 4 tid and a machine massage to loosen up the mucus to cough it up. She still has some panic attacks with breathing which the doctor says is in part due to the pneumonia and he thinks mostly is due to cancer activity in the lung lymphatic system. We'll find out on Mon. when she talks to the Oncologist about treatment options. I understand that excess pleural effusion in her case is due to rapiply spreading cancer which irritates the lung and causes the fluid. My question is, if the irritation still causes the fluid and it has no place to go, what happens to it. I guess the body will absorbed it if the amount is minima. Hope this helps, BreathDeep.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I asked the Onc today about this and I think this is what he said. The cancer causes the lung inflamation which will cause excess fluid in the Pleural space between the lung and the ribs. If the Pleurodesis is successful then there is no or minimum space for fluid to accumulate and therefore no Pleural Effusion. He said there would be no fluid or side effect show up somewhere else. We are seeing another Lung Cancer Onc group tommorrow and I will check the answer and report back. The hope is that the Pleurodesis closed up all the space and the membranes remain stuck together. The side effect of Pleurodesis is you might experience some pain if you took real deep breathes because the lung expansion would rub against the rib cage.

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