CSN Login
Members Online: 10

Pericardial Effusion - procedure -update

Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2347
Joined: Jan 2009

So up and down we go.  I thought I was picking Dick up this afternoon and now we find out he has a pericardial effusion that the heart doc is going to drain tomorrow at noon.  We were both surprised when the tech came in to do an echocardiogram on Friday.  He mentioned that he saw some fluid but no one really addressed it as a problem until today when the heart doc showed up.  So keep us in your thoughts tomorrow.  They will test the fluid and see if they can tell what caused the build up.  It could be chemo, infection or cancer or other things.  I'm feeling quite drained right now.  I'll go in tomorrow at 8am and will stay the night.  The good news is Dick's sister is coming in on Thursday. 

It always feel better after I share things with you.

Take care everyone.


Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3177
Joined: Jan 2010

Prayers heading your way that procedure results will be just an infection with a good dose of antibiotics to make the fix.

I have glad that you have family coming to help you both.

Always wishing you, Dick and your family the best.


Marie who loves kitties

Cathleen Mary
Posts: 765
Joined: May 2011

Kathleen, Sometimes it seems the woes just never end. So sorry. I had a pericardial effusion a few years ago...having it drained made me feel MUCH better...I hope the same for Dick. Prayers that all goes well and and he can return home more 'light-hearted'.



Posts: 897
Joined: Aug 2013

That's what my brother had. it seems that this fluid build up around the heart can happen with chemo/cancer. They drained it and kept him for quite a while. His wasn't caught right away, so there was a lot of fluid which apparently put pressure on the heart and caused a mild heart attack. He is doing well now, but is supposed to monitor his salt intake (which he doesn't do well). They say it can also happen right after a surgery, too.

Hope all goes well and he recovers quickly.


PS he had had clots removed from his lungs a few weeks before this. They left a small metal wire inside and think that could have been a reason as well. We will never know for sure, but it seems to happen without doctor carelessness.

Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2347
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Everyone,

The procedure went well and they got out a  moderate amount of fluid.  They kept the catheter in and hopefully it will come out tomorrow.  Dick was in horrible pain when they brought him back in the room.  They finally got him enough pain meds that he is sleeping.  I just hate seeing him in pain.  I feel helpless other than telling the nurses that we have to get the pain under control.  I hope that they keep the pain meds at a level that he can sleep through the night.  I will be here all night and keep a good eye on him.
The  surgeon mentioned that the partial blockage in the small intestines could be from tumor or a slight twist.  I think I have read on here that people have run into problems with partial blockages from scar tissue too.  Is that correct?  Is someone has a blockage from tumor, do they have it taken out?  It almost seemed like surgeon was saying well, then another one will grow.  We may be looking at leaving Hawaii for a bit and heading to Los Angeles or Boston for some care and maybe clinical trials.  We have family in both places.    I'd love to hear about others with stage 4 who have had blockages.

Posts: 435
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Kathlees, glad to hear your husband is doing better, I hope he's recovered from his latest procedure and possibly home by now.  My husband is also stage IV and has had a few blockages.  Scar tissue can cause them, dehydration, diet or just about anything else.  They can come on in a matter of minutes with no warning.  My husband usually starts with pains and then vomiting.  As I have mentioned, this past March we switched oncology centers and hospitals after a horrendous 17 day stay in January.  He went into the ED after an x-ray ordered by a NP at his GI office.  He had been complaining of pain for about 2 months and all doctors had told him he was fine.  Finally January 14th an x-ray showed a blockage so we went to the hospital.  Nasty NG tube again and 7 days of very poor medical care (residents) and burned out nurses before he finally had a ct scan and surgery to remove a very large aggressive tumor in his small intestines.  He had a similiar tumor removed from his colon 13 months prior and for 7 days they kept saying he had a blockage when it was a large tumor.  He had an obstruction the previous March after his 5th treatment of Folfox, when he was extremely constipated.  That cleared with an NG tube and belly rest and 4 days in patient.  He is currently on Folfiri and after the 4th treatment had another obstruction (May 10th) when I took him to the new hospital we switched to.  No NG tube and ct scan within a few hours (not 7 days like the other dump) showed no tumor.  Belly rest and 6 days in patient relieved it.  So much better care at new hospital.  Within his first 24 hours, we had 4 visits from oncology.  While he was in the other place, I had to call his oncologist (in the same building) to tell them they found more cancer and then we waited 4 more days for him to show up! 

I wish I knew what we could do to avoid blockages, but it sounds like they just randomly happen. My husband had 2 feet of his colon removed and about 2 feet of his small intestines also.  Both his surgeries left a large scar (around 6") and have caused 2 more hernias, which have been giving him pain and trouble now.  It's always something right?

I hope you're all back home safe and sound.  A trip to the main land would sure be a big undertaking. 


LivinginNH's picture
Posts: 1428
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Kathleen,

Yes, a blockage can be caused by tumors, scar tissue or colon twisting.  My Rick had a partial blockage twice and a full blockage once, which almost killed him (or should I say, the doctor almost killed him, but that's another story).  Anyway, for the second one, they put in a stent which was needed due to excessive scar tissue.  It worked for a bit, but then it failed and a major surgery was then required.  I transferred him to Tufts Medical in Boston for emergency surgery, and this time they removed the colon (with scar tissue and additional tumors) and did an ileostomy and a colostomy at the same time.  He obviously wasn’t too happy about having two bags, but it did stop his terrible pain. Unfortunately, having tumors recur in the colon isn't uncommon, and Rick had a very large one during the third blockage.

As for wanting to fly to Boston, in my humble opinion I wouldn’t recommend that since the flight would probably be too much for him.  And from what others have said about USC Norris Cancer Center (Dr. Lenz), and Stanford, my personal choice would be to go to one of those instead.  I’ve been to the major hospitals in the Boston area, and although I liked our surgeon at Tufts, from what I’ve seen at MGH, Dana Farber, Tufts and others, I doubt that any hospital here would do that operation any better than one in CA. (And sadly, although most of the doctors at these hospitals are great, but the aftercare from the medical interns and nurses isn’t anything to write home about.  I found it necessary to stay at these hospitals day and night and care for him myself. The stories I could tell you….)

Anyway, I hope that today finds Dick without as much pain and that things will get resolved soon.

All my best,


TheLadySkye's picture
Posts: 187
Joined: Oct 2013

I am not exactly sure how it goes for small intestine tumors that are colon cancer.  My small intestine tumor was from a rarer small intestine cancer, and I'm not sure it makes much of a difference.  My oncologist seems to prefer the CT for monitoring even though it's really hard to visualize the small intestine, but she doesn't feel like recurrence in that area is likely.  The do look, but are more focused on the lungs and liver.  

If they do find a tumor in the intestine, a small bowel ressection to remove it with clear margins and associated lymph nodes is what is recommended if things are operable.  Sending many prayers to both of you!

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 4563
Joined: Feb 2009

Prayers on the way for success and for your strength.  Hope he is feeling better soon and can come home.



Posts: 2182
Joined: Oct 2011

I am glad the proceedure wnet well and they have his pain under control.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2015 © Cancer Survivors Network