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Breast cancer, CT scan shows pericardial effusion, on oxygen support and pain medication

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Practicing since : 2001
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My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in Oct 2005, it's progressed to her lungs, liver and brain.

But, she has had shortness of breathe for some time, but attributed it to the chemos, radiation and lung mets. Recently, her SOB became more intense to the point where she could not get out of bed. A CT showed a pericardial effusion, surgery (window) was done this past tuesday, and the drain remained in for a couple of days. she had 500 cc drained.

When the nurse removed her drain tube, she noticed the tube was twisted signifcantly where it was taped to her abdomen. We were dismissed, but were concerned the drainage may have been compromised.

She has been on oxygen since we returned home and says when she moves about she gets winded, but not as before the surgery. She is on oxygen 24/7. She has a plureX catheter in her right side to drain her lung (May 2011) I drained it today, got 250 cc, about normal for 4-5 days. SOB remains..she is on Ultram for pain, Lasex? for fluid, and lopresser...

Path on the fluid was negative for cancer....
Surgery was Tuesday and today is Sunday...Is there a a recovery period for this and is her current situation typical after the surgery..any help?
Posted Mon, 7 May 2012 in Breast Cancer
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 2 hours later
Thanks for writing to us.
The persistent shortness of breath even after drainage of pericardial fluid and pleural fluid may be due to repeat collection of the pericardial fluid with lung metastases further adding to the problem. The problem she is having is not likely to be an effect of surgery but is more likely to be due to the disease process itself.
At this point of time, it is very difficult to comment on the exact cause without actually examining the patient. I suggest you to contact with her treating surgeon for further evaluation.
I hope my answer and recommendations are adequate and helpful. Waiting for your further follow up queries if any.
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