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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What Quality Of Life Can A Life Support Patient Have?

My father in law is 82yrs old..never complains of illness. He has a chest infection which rapidly led to fluid on lungs, which put a strain on his heart, which caused heart failure..and then life support. He seems to be responding to treatment and is fighting the infection. If he lives what quality of life will he have now with only 20% of heart working? Please? Janette
Mon, 14 Mar 2016
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Critical Care Specialist 's  Response
Hi, Janette, I understand your concern about your father's health condition and I'll try to help you.

It is unclear whether the infection that affects your father is in the heart muscle or the the membrane surrounding the heart known as pericardium or if he has a lung infection that led to heart failure. For each of them there is more appropriate prognosis.

If the infection directly compromises the heart muscle is known as myocarditis and the most common etiology is a viral infection. When heart failure is secondary to this type of infection it is usually severe enough, but over days to weeks contractility of the cardiac muscle returns to normal. This occurs within 70 to 80% of cases of viral myocarditis.

In the case of infection in the pericardium (the membrane surrounding the heart), there is often the formation of liquid within this membrane. When the amount of the liquid is large, this does not allow proper contraction of the heart muscle, leading to heart failure and is known as cardiac tamponade. Both virus and bacteria can cause this problem, but more commonly occur due to viral infections. In case of tamponade, the treatment is the surgical drainage of this liquid, associated with anti-inflammatory use and sometimes antibiotics. So, this cause is reversible.

On the other hand, when heart failure is secondary to pulmonary infection, it is usually reversible. Therefore, it is necessary to treat the cause of lung infection.

For all this, do not lose hope. if the causes of this infection are corrected, the heart of his father can recover fully or partially operating. However, the control of these infections depend on medications, but pricipalmente his father's body reaction force. The problem is that a person of 82 years has a very low reserve force to respond.

I wish your father recovers briefly.

Hope I have answered your question. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help you. Wish you good health.
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What Quality Of Life Can A Life Support Patient Have?

Hi, Janette, I understand your concern about your father s health condition and I ll try to help you. It is unclear whether the infection that affects your father is in the heart muscle or the the membrane surrounding the heart known as pericardium or if he has a lung infection that led to heart failure. For each of them there is more appropriate prognosis. If the infection directly compromises the heart muscle is known as myocarditis and the most common etiology is a viral infection. When heart failure is secondary to this type of infection it is usually severe enough, but over days to weeks contractility of the cardiac muscle returns to normal. This occurs within 70 to 80% of cases of viral myocarditis. In the case of infection in the pericardium (the membrane surrounding the heart), there is often the formation of liquid within this membrane. When the amount of the liquid is large, this does not allow proper contraction of the heart muscle, leading to heart failure and is known as cardiac tamponade. Both virus and bacteria can cause this problem, but more commonly occur due to viral infections. In case of tamponade, the treatment is the surgical drainage of this liquid, associated with anti-inflammatory use and sometimes antibiotics. So, this cause is reversible. On the other hand, when heart failure is secondary to pulmonary infection, it is usually reversible. Therefore, it is necessary to treat the cause of lung infection. For all this, do not lose hope. if the causes of this infection are corrected, the heart of his father can recover fully or partially operating. However, the control of these infections depend on medications, but pricipalmente his father s body reaction force. The problem is that a person of 82 years has a very low reserve force to respond. I wish your father recovers briefly. Hope I have answered your question. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help you. Wish you good health.