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Thread: Fluid in Lungs

  1. #1

    Fluid in Lungs

    I haven't felt well all week and decided to appease my mother and go to the doctor today. The reason being that I've felt some weird tightness going on in my chest. They took blood, swabbed me for influenza, and x-rayed my chest. I was told they didn't find anything and that it was viral. I was OK with that and planned to rest this weekend.

    Now the nurse called me and said the doctor and radiologist saw a pocket of fluid in one of my lungs. The doctor thought that may be normal for me because I'm a quad (C5). If I feel worse she wants me to come in, and she wants another x-ray in 2 weeks.

    Should I be concerned about the fluid? Is it normal that I would have some? I am kind of skeptical because of a few areas of tightness in my chest.

    I'm not around much these days, but this is such a great resource. As always, thank you so much for the help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Oregon usa
    I get some build up, they say its because I can't cough or exhale fully. I have to have my mom "quad cough" me once or twice a day.
    c3/c4, injured 2007

  3. #3
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    fluid in the lungs is no bueno.

    there is a machine called cough assist. My son use one for a while when he was little. would something like this work for quads who cant cough?

  4. #4
    Mike Honcho Sh1wn
    I am a high level incomplete quad and have fluid problems

    Do you have a persistent cough ?

    I am asking this as my concerns would be are you retaining fluid and are you on a dieuretic or something ?

    I was retaining fluid and my Dr put me on a Lasix but my meds differ from others because we all are different .

    Sometimes I cough or gag hard for a little bit Ask Jody about my uuuky cough it is hard sometimes .

    Jody has kool ideas
    check out that machine that Jody linked out... Maybe theres something good out there

    In the Meantime I hope you all are feeling ok

    Sincerely; GL
    Last edited by GL; 03-19-2011 at 12:43 AM.

  5. #5
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    well I dont recall it being gross GL. My son developed steroid myopathy, which caused weakened thoracic muscles. I though we had it bad until we had to live at children's hospital with kids with cystic fibrosis. my son was negative, but had the same chest percussion pt, medications and digestive issues as the cf kids but he got to grow up. the cough assist looks much smaller, and easier to use than the one we used. we wore out four nebulizers by the time he was 12, and his lungs grew large enough to function better. anyway I dont know if this type of device would be helpful or if it is used with quads who cant cough, but it seems like it should work for anyone who cant cough.

    here's an example of human assisted cough. that shawn mentioned.
    Last edited by jody; 03-19-2011 at 01:34 AM.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the replies.

    I don't really have a cough at all right now. I am familiar with quad coughing, but haven't needed that for about 4 years or so.

    My chest feels tight on one side is why I'm wondering. In my almost 10 years as a quad, I haven't felt this before. I thought it was odd that the doctor mentioned that fluid in the lungs might be attributed to quadriplegia.

  7. #7

    Fluid on your lungs is not normal for anybody including people with spinal cord injury. Your doctor should not write this off. It needs a full investigation. Much depends on where the fluid has accumulated. The most common is called a "pleural effusion" where the fluid accumulates in the space between the lungs and the surrounding pleura. It should be in the lower part of your lung. It prevents your lungs from expanding fully and explains the feeling of "tightness" that you are describing.

    The first step in the investigation is of course the chest x-ray which you have gotten. If the volume is sufficient to be seen on a chest x-ray, the second step is to remove a sample by needle and evaluated for the following:
    • protein and LDH (lactic dehydrogenase) concentration to determine whether it is a transudate or exudate. A transudate is a fluid accumulation that results from excessive venous pressure in the lungs, causing fluids to accumulate; heart and liver failure cause transudates. An exudate results from local factors in the lungs, including pneumonia from bacterial or viral infection, a pulmonary embolus, or cancer.
    • cultures and gram stain for bacteria.
    • assessment for cancer cells or blood.

    As you can appreciate, none of the things that I mentioned above should be ignored and that is why I think that your doctor should aggressively follow this up. After the appropriate steps are taken to investigate and rule out the above possibilities, the pleural effusion can be removed by placing a catheter into the pleural cavity and aspirating the fluid out. This should relieve the pressure that you are feeling.


  8. #8
    Thanks so much, Wise. I'll try to get back to the clinic on Monday because the tightness is still definitely there.

    Have a great weekend.

  9. #9
    Mike Honcho
    You have a nice weekend too
    I hope you feel better

  10. #10
    Hope that you feel better.

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