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sudden shortness of breath


hockeyma

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Maybe someone would have some suggestions here. My husband up until now has not had a lot of breathing problems. Shortness of breath is not what brought him in to hospital and ended up in diagnosis. He has had a problem over the last month of getting the phlem up and has been to the doctors numberous times for pain. He has a partially collapsed lung and is still really tired now off chemo for 3 weeks waiting for radiation. Doctor said yesterday that tumours in the lungs could create more shortness of breath - which I guess indicates that his are probably growing? Other than puffers or antibiotics for preventative of pneumonia does anyone have any tips or tricks that do help? Today he had an episode quite similar to an asthma attack. These questions might sound stupid but I just don't know what to think.

Heather

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Initial Though is Pleural Effusion. Fluid around Lungs. IS there any chest painlike heart attack?? Sometimes presents itself that way. Deb FREAKED when though she was having heart attack not Attack Effusion. Corrected by Pleural Centesis Surgery and Draining Fluid from around Lungs.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptoms of pleural effusion are shortness of breath and chest pain caused by compression of the lungs. Cough also can occur and there may be fever with empyema.

Causes

Common causes of pleural effusion are cardiac failure, tuberculosis, pulmonary embolism (blocked pulmonary artery), metastatic disease (cancer that has spread to the pleurae), lymphoma (cancer in lymphoid tissue), and trauma. Less common causes are liver and kidney disease, viral and fungal infection, mesothelioma (benign or malignant tumor originating in the mesothelial cells; malignancy is associated with exposure to asbestos), and adverse drug reaction. Pleural effusion also can occur as a complication after heart surgery.

Hemothorax (pleural effusion with blood in the accumulating fluid) is caused by trauma. Chylothorax, pleural effusion with chyle (lymph and fat) in the accumulating fluid, is caused by neoplastic disease (cancer) and by trauma that impairs the lymphatic draining system.

Some medications may produce drug-induced lupus. This is a chronic inflammatory syndrome that can manifest as pleurisy, pleural effusion, and other conditions. The syndrome usually goes away after the drug that causes the problem is withdrawn. These drugs include procainimide (antiarrythmia agent), hydralazine (antihypertensive agent), isoniazid (antibiotic), penicillamine (rheumatoid arthritis treatment), and the sulfonamides (antibiotic agents).

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John takes the Tessalon Perles (sp?) for his cough--it's a pill that helps in getting the phlegm up. He takes the codeine cough syrup at night. He also has the inhaler when he needs it. If your husband has a partially collapsed lung that may be contributing to the SOB. I don't think the SOB necessarily means the tumors are growing. I hope he gets some more energy soon.

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The collapse of a lung can cause severe shortness of breath so I would think a partial collapse would be quite noticable. Why are they continuing with treatment without allowing the lung to reinflate?? Shortness of breath is one of my constant companions and is reduced by relaxing and doing some pursed lip breathing which means inhale to the count of two and then exhale slowly to the count of four or six through lips that are pursed like one would when whistling or blowing on a spoonful of soup. Just blow out like you want to cool the soup not blow is out of the spoon. When one gets SOB then anxiety sets in and one feeds off of the other and the condition get worse and worse. My prayers are with you and your husband.

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Heather:

SOB doesn't necessarily mean that the tumours are growing. How are his blood counts? Low red blood cell counts can contribute to that. The collapse of the lung itself can contribute to that -- has he been evaluated for oxygen saturation to see if he needs supplemental oxygen for a time?

Advair was one med. my mom had to help her avoid SOB and the general anxiety that comes with it (they just gave it to her even though she wasn't complaining of SOB) -- someone correct me if I'm remembering the name of this med. wrong, please -- it is used to help relax the air passages and avoid asthma-type episodes.

My mom (she had a collapsed lung too) also was given breathing treatments she did several times a day to help break up the gunk that wants to settle in places around/under the collapse. It was an over the face-type mask that delivered a mix of liquid meds. in the mask air which she inhaled during her treatment -- I remember albuterol being one component of it, but I think there was more than one med. in that mix.

Hope this helps,

Linda

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Thanks for the help. Whoever figured total collapse of lung wins. We were up much of the night and he got weaker and was in severe pain that the meds couldn't control. We called an ambulance in the morning and they took him in. The mass of cancer that Gerald has rests on the svc vein and up to the shoulder by the base of his neck - thus all of the pain cause when the lung collapsed I imagine it pulled on all of those nerves and the tumour is sitting on something that affects the shoulder and arm (not enough time to look up everything to get to technical). What they are doing now is keeping him in hospital on morphine and then transporting him to Sunnybrook 1.5 hr away on Monday to radiation for marking. I have to clarify what else. Anyways - wish us luck. Just thought I would let you know and will touch base once I have more information.

Heather

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