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Painful sternum

  • 1.  Painful sternum

    Posted 02-15-2020 08:34
    Morning my name is actually Ed, my partner Jess  found and set up the mended hearts account.
    i had ohs on June 25 2019, double by pass. Things have been progressing very well until the last few days. I came down with a crud, ended up coughing a lot, and now I find my chest hurting significantly. In fact the pain is equivalent to the post op pain, with the same restriction of movement and a pillow held over my chest when couching. Was hoping to see if anybody else may have experienced this, as I am debating going to the emergency room. I am convinced that I'm not having a heart attack, but that being said, question if I might have caused some damage. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 


  • 2.  RE: Painful sternum

    Posted 02-15-2020 18:50
    Hello Ed,
    I am glad to hear from you again. I remember when Jessica signed up for this forum for you guys. Sternum pain can be very uncomfortable and having the crud adds to that. The coughing that comes along with the crud can irritate the scar tissue that is building up during the healing process.
    I agree with you that you can tell the difference between the sternum and the heart, but that does not make the pain feel any better. If you feel a visit to the ER is justified then go, but you may be able to get a telephone consult with your doctors' office or nurse and get some relief help that way. Some CVS pharmacies also have one-minute clinics where a PA can advise. 
    I had to get some meds for my cough the first time I got the crud after my CABG.
    Be sure to stay caught up with your flu shots every year as well. They really help to reduce the number of sick days.
    My insurance has a helpline where I can call to get advice on health issues.
    I hope this helps. I had my pillow very close by for about 18 months after my CABG for this very reason. 
    I wish you and Jessica all the best and look forward to hearing that your crud has gone away.

    Richard Short
    Chapter 395

  • 3.  RE: Painful sternum

    Posted 02-16-2020 01:24
    I fractured my sternum 3 months post surgery.  I would call my surgeon and tell him/her of what is going on...
    It does happen more often then patients realize


  • 4.  RE: Painful sternum

    Posted 02-21-2020 19:28
    Hi Ed, I do not think you are having a heart, HOWEVER, I say better safe than sorry and a visit to the er would most likely find you suffering from sore sternum
    I have have three open heart surgeries, the first one in 1969. Talk about REAL DISCOMFORT!
    MY chest felt like Dumbo and other elephants were standing on my chest, and BOUNCING
    I had to cough up mucus, from the operation,  and the only way to so was to hold a pillow tightly to my chest and cough.
    The sternum takes quite a while to heal; that's a lot of bone literally knitting itself back together. And since out sternum is engaged while we breath. Cough and sneeze, yep its sore!
    Flem is a sternum' s curse. When I cough just for the heck of it, I can feel my whole sternum move.
    Ed. I am sorry about your cold. And I want to say that the sternum takes up to two years to get itself together(ha ha)
    But, my friend, dont panic but I urge you visit the ER
    If only to get some peace of mind.

    In loving peace
    We are not alone!

    ken levine
    volunteer, retired
    Middlebury, Vermont
    United States of America

  • 5.  RE: Painful sternum

    Posted 02-22-2020 09:37
    I was freaked out the first time my sternum started popping and grinding 3 months after my OHS.  

    I did call my Surgeon and He scheduled a CT Scan which showed the Sternum had fractured.  

    I am on Light Duty of lifting only 5 to 7 pounds now and may be for another year.

    But please, to ease your mind, Go to your Doctor or Emergency Room if you suspect a Heart Attack