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Respiratory Therapist/Breathing Problem Following CABG x3


Dear Sir,
I had CABG x3 last year and have had a strange problem since. I'm not short of breath as such but I do have problems getting a good satisfying deep breath, and yawning even feels weird, it almost feels as though I'm 'airlocked'. I first became aware of it about 4 weeks after my op and I still have it 8 months on. I had my breathing checked recently with a spirometer and another device the name of which escapes me. You basically suck into a tube as you would with a straw and blow out again into the small device slowly and steadily, and everything seemed to be in order. I can exercise but it's more difficult than it should be because of this, I have heard that the diaphragm can sometimes be damaged after this type of op.
Your input would be gratefully received.

Good Morning James,

Thank you for entrusting me with your personal health related questions and concerns. I work primarilly in a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, and see many CABG and heart valve repair patients every day, but I have not seen any that have had any diaphragmatic issues associated with their surgeries. If your Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) score out as normal, and you don't necessarily feel short-of-breath on a regular basis, there is probably not something serious going on, but it may be something as simple as your surgical scar causing a restriction on your chest, making it hard to expand the chest fully to feel like you are taking a deep, satifying breath. Have you had any issues with the scar from surgery?

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Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT


I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators (Respirators) - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness - Prolotherapy (from a patient's perspective) I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.


Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

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Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

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