Mended Hearts Open Forum

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  • 1.  Pericarditis

    Posted 09-06-2019 09:32
    Has anyone else experienced pericarditis after their open heart surgery? My surgery was this past April and recently I have been having excruciating pain in my left shoulder, low grade fever, chest pain, dry cough, irregular heartbeat, etc. It got so bad that I landed in the ER a couple of weeks ago. It was literally the worst pain I've ever experienced. Even worse than the pain after my heart surgery. The only thing they did was confirm I wasn't having another heart attack but didn't pursue it beyond that. One of the ER doctors mentioned it may be pericarditis but my primary doctor says no, even though they haven't done anything to rule it out. It finally got better after a couple of days and they released me from the hospital with no explanation of what the problem was. Now here I am a couple of weeks later and am having the exact same symptoms. When I looked it up all the symptoms point towards pericarditis but I can't get my doctor to pursue it. Very frustrated. All they will tell me is what it isn't. They won't tell me what it IS. Any suggestions?

    Brett Temple
    Project Manager
    Sarasota FL

  • 2.  RE: Pericarditis

    Posted 09-06-2019 14:58
    Hello Brett,
    I have never had the symptoms you are having. I have however been frustrated with my Cardiologist. As a result, I switched doctors and it was the best decision I could have made. 
    I am not telling you to do that if you don't want to but you might want a second opinion. Remember, communication has to work both ways. Even if they do not know the cause they should at least be good enough to say so.
    Richard Short
    Chapter 395  

  • 3.  RE: Pericarditis

    Posted 09-07-2019 14:21

    Sorry for your continuing problems. I am not a physician but for over 30 years as a lawyer in-house for large corporations, I got, and solved, all the problems that others could not. A couple of points:
    (1) not all professionals, be they doctors or lawyers, are the same.
    (2) It is very difficult to diagnose a medical problems after it has stopped.
    (3) ER is meant to stabilize emergencies but not necessarily to treat ongoing problems .
    (4) Try to monitor your self to determine if there was a particular action you took just before the problems hit.

    My personal story is while I was talking to my cardiologist as they were taking the electrodes off me after a stress echo test, my heart stopped. I was lucky. I happened to be in the 1 in 44 locations for that clinch that was connected to the only hospital with a trauma center for a 100 miles in any direction. They "discovered" what my cardiologist had failed to do: that, in my words, I was a "walking time bomb" needing a quintuple bypass. Subsequently I, and the clinic, fired the cardiologist, and the technicians who administered the stress test. Besides this group, another treating doctor died from what he was treating me for, and as did the Ph.D. who was treating me for stress, which reminded me to better monitor myself. When I needed lung surgery, I was so aggressive in interviewing him that I thought he might decline my case: but he did a great job. 12 years later the results remain spectacular.

    My counsel is to seek a second opinion from a specialist and then use your best judgment to decide your next course of action.

    Brent Zepke

    Brent Zepke
    Santa Barbara CA
    (805) 698-4651

  • 4.  RE: Pericarditis

    Posted 09-10-2019 11:26
    Great advice, Brent. I appreciate you taking the time to share it with me. I'm glad to hear that taking the time to do your due diligence on the doctor who did you lung surgery has paid off. Trying to find someone now to give me a second opinion. Hopefully I have the same results.

    Have a blessed day!

    Best regards,

  • 5.  RE: Pericarditis

    Posted 09-07-2019 19:55
    Hi Brett
    While I have never had open heart surgery, I have had Pericarditis twice. The first time was I also had Myocarditis. The first time the ER sent me home saying I was having a panic attack...I had no heart issues and I was only 34. My regular dr sent me right to a cardiologist who diagnosed me after doing an echocardiogram. 3 years later I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    Last December, I was in the ER again with the same symptoms (mimics a heart attack) I was sent home and followed up with my cardiologist. She sent me for another echocardiogram, and I was again diagnosed with Pericarditis and had to stop my RA meds for a while and take some specific for the inflammation of the pericardium. It took months to clear up.

    Did you have an echocardiogram to diagnose the inflammation?

    Renee Napolitano
    Oak Ridge NJ
    (973) 943-6516

  • 6.  RE: Pericarditis

    Posted 09-10-2019 11:23
    Hi Renee,

    So far, they've done a chest X-ray and an ultrasound but that's it. They keep saying they don't know for sure what it is but every symptom points towards pericarditis. I'm just ready to get it nailed down so I can take steps to alleviate the symptoms. I was back in the hospital again for the same thing just this past weekend. It's very frustrating. In any event, hopefully they'll get it sorted out soon.

    Thanks for the info. Have a blessed day.

    Best regards,