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Suggest Remedy For Breathlessness While Lying Down

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Posted on Mon, 10 Nov 2014
Question: 90 years old with 4 bad heart valves, 2 very bad. Don't want to get heart operation. Laying flat or even in a recliner I cough a lot. Can't sleep. Do best when leaning forward on a table. Wondering if their is anything that would allow leaning forward like on a table but more comfortable?
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Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah (27 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Talk to the geriatrics service for help!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. With total refusal of surgery, your symptoms would not get any better. This is caused by heart failure with excess fluid accumulation in the lungs that causes coughing. It is only leaning forward that would help relief this problem. Also, using several pillows to be in an almost upright position would be able to help as well.

I will suggest that you talk to the geriatric service so that they can help design and get a special device to help you lean on it and be somewhat comfortable. Otherwise, there is really none out there that has been specially designed for this purpose.

Also, could I please know some of the reasons for which you do not want to have surgery? I believe this would make a huge difference in the quality of your life should you be able to undergo one successfully.

I hope this addresses your query fully. I wish you well and the best of possible outcomes. Feel free to request for more information and clarifications if need be.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Ivo Ditah (14 minutes later)
Had one heart valve replaced about 14 years ago, it and the others have been looked at and my Doctor recommended a new valve but have 4 bad and 2 real bad. At 90 I don't think I would survive the operation. If I did the recovery would be long as I don't heal well. Last time the operation too over a year to heal from. Also at my age concerned with affects of the drugs on my mind, have seen friends with many problems.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
You are somewhat right about the possible effects!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thanks for this follow up.

Your concerns about your age, the surgery and the fears about healing cannot be totally disregarded. In any case, I will advise that you ask your doctor to evaluate the risk and benefits of this surgery and see whether it is the best option. Should he maintain that It would be an absolute achievement, then give it a second thought.

Remember, you reserve the right to accept or not and not be judged on it. I totally respect your decision and standing as long as you have the facts, conscious of your decision and stand by your decision.

I hope this helps. I wish you well and let me know if there is anything more that you would like us to talk about at this time.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Ivo Ditah

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 3984 Questions

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Suggest Remedy For Breathlessness While Lying Down

Brief Answer: Talk to the geriatrics service for help! Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. With total refusal of surgery, your symptoms would not get any better. This is caused by heart failure with excess fluid accumulation in the lungs that causes coughing. It is only leaning forward that would help relief this problem. Also, using several pillows to be in an almost upright position would be able to help as well. I will suggest that you talk to the geriatric service so that they can help design and get a special device to help you lean on it and be somewhat comfortable. Otherwise, there is really none out there that has been specially designed for this purpose. Also, could I please know some of the reasons for which you do not want to have surgery? I believe this would make a huge difference in the quality of your life should you be able to undergo one successfully. I hope this addresses your query fully. I wish you well and the best of possible outcomes. Feel free to request for more information and clarifications if need be.