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DrThomasMd
DrThomasMd, Board Certified Physician
Category: Cardiology
Satisfied Customers: 64005
Experience:  Classical homeopath also board certified in integrative and holistic medicine. Many years of practice, also all of medicine.
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My dad died of congestive heart failure at 46 years old, 5

Customer Question

My dad died of congestive heart failure at 46 years old, 5 years ago. Only he didn't know he had it. He went into the hospital for symptoms of not being able to go to the bathroom, urinate or bowel movement for three days and had excruciating stomach pain. Once admitted they discovered he had a perforated bowel and needed surgery. After the surgery his 3 day recovery was going normally (he also had a colonoscopy bag inserted during surgery) until the 4th day where he seized and passed out. Before he passed out his mental status was detoriating, he was hallucinating and talking out of his head, the doctors assumed this was at DTs because he had been an alcohol for 15 years. After he seized and passed out they took him to the heart cath lab and discovered his major heart artery was 98% blocked and most of the others were at least 50% blocked if not more. They explained there was nothing they could do. He was on life support for 24 hours with fluid drains inserted until we were allowed to exercise his living will and sign to turn off the support... he died 30 minutes later. I have been in several medical classes since then and have an associates in science and am in the nursing program and my concern is that something went wrong here. How could he have such severe congestive heart failure without any signs and symptoms? He had high blood pressure and was on high blood pressure medication since he was 25 as well as high cholesterol, he was not overweight or obese. I am wondering if I should obtain his medical records and see if it is possible that his congestive heart failure was brought on by his surgery for the perforated bowel. I just don't see how it got so severe, so fast, without him having any signs or symptoms of it.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Cardiology
Expert:  DrThomasMd replied 9 months ago.

Hello

What was found on autopsy was coronary heart disease.

But no complete blockages.'

This is not the same as CHF

If they found CHF this would have meant the heart was not pumping well, which can be for multiple reasons.

If he had a heart attack, this could do it.

It can also be chronic for years, and the patient can "compensate" which means it does not have symptoms, unless the patient is stressed beyond their compensations. For example, walking is OK, but running a marathon would brink out symptoms, or trying to run a marathon.

I am very sorry about your dad.

It is unclear that there was anything wrong here on the part of the doctors.

Delaying the surgery was not an option with perforated bowel.

So, yes, the stress of surgery could bring out other chronic problems, but that is a standard risk of this surgery.

If there were problems with his heart that they could have seen before surgery, and if they did not do something during surgery that should have been done for his heart, then this could be sub standard care, but there is nothing in your story at this point to indicate this.

OK, so you might have more questions or want to give me more information: Please use reply to expert if you have further questions. Also, please click a positive rating [hopefully excellent—that’s how we are paid, per rating]. If you forgot something, just use reply and come back. I am here

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
There was no autopsy performed. The cardiologist told us after they left the cath lab, that he had severe congestive heart failure and there was no way to unclogged the hardened vessels. The cause of death on the death certificate was congestive heart failure. He didn't have a heart attack, cardiac arrest ect. They told us that he seized, went unconscious, they rushed him to the cath lab and made the discovery of the blocked arteries. They put him on life support as well as some fluid draining tubes and made us wait 24 hours to exercise his wishes on his living will. My dad didn't run marathons but he did do construction on the side of his full-time job. I just wanted to be sure this wasn't a surgical complications. I want to obtain his medical records and read the reports. I am having a hard time with closure even after five years, because it all happened so quickly and unexpectedly.
Expert:  DrThomasMd replied 9 months ago.

I understand totally.

If he did not have CHF from a heart attack, then it was chronic.

It was not a complication of the surgery per se, but certainly could have been part of his

level of risk, and contributed to his death.

Hello

What was found on autopsy was coronary heart disease.

But no complete blockages.'

This is not the same as CHF

If they found CHF this would have meant the heart was not pumping well, which can be for multiple reasons.

If he had a heart attack, this could do it.

It can also be chronic for years, and the patient can "compensate" which means it does not have symptoms, unless the patient is stressed beyond their compensations. For example, walking is OK, but running a marathon would brink out symptoms, or trying to run a marathon.

I am very sorry about your dad.

It is unclear that there was anything wrong here on the part of the doctors.

Delaying the surgery was not an option with perforated bowel.

So, yes, the stress of surgery could bring out other chronic problems, but that is a standard risk of this surgery.

If there were problems with his heart that they could have seen before surgery, and if they did not do something during surgery that should have been done for his heart, then this could be sub standard care, but there is nothing in your story at this point to indicate this.

please click a positive rating [hopefully excellent—that’s how we are paid, per rating]. If you forgot something, just use reply and come back. I am here

http://www.justanswer.com/medical/expert-dr-thomas/