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I doubt that she has ALL of the following... effusion, atelectasis, pulmonary edema ,and pneumonia. More likely, the radiologist reading her chest x ray or CT scan saw things which were clear (an effusion is clear on either Xray or CT) but the atelectasis can mimmick pneumonia as can pulmonary edema.
atelectasis, a localized collapse of the lung, is quite common after surgery as is pneumonia.
a pleural effusion is less common and usually is a result of pneumonia or a heart problem.
The fact that she has a fever adds some evidence to the pneumonia possibility.
I'm glad they have started her on 'triple antibiotics', this gives her the best chance of clearing this infections quickly...
the reason for three different ones is that certain bacteria are resistant to our most commonly given antibiotics.
I'm sure they are concerned about the possiblity of 'aspiration pneumonia' given her recent general anesthesia... this is caused when some saliva or stomach contents are inhaled into the lungs, and this requires coverage with an antibiotic to cover entirely different bacteria than usually cause pneumonia.
finally, since she is in the hospital, they probably have her on Vancomycin along with levaquin and flagyl (just guessing here) because MRSA bacteria, common in hospitals, could be causing her pneumonia and Vancomycin is the only antibiotic that reliably kills this bug.
As they get more studies back and figure out exactly which of the hundreds of bacteria that can cause pneumonia she has, they can tailor the antibiotic coverage more specifically.
She is gettting excellent care and should recover fully. One thing, if the pleural effusion is large, they may need to drain it.
This is done either with a small needle and plastic tube, or with a larger plastic tube called a 'chest tube'.
She definitely has some hurdles to overcome, but they are on the money with her care.
She has survived the most dangerous threat to her life, the appendicitis, and now she has an unfortunate, but relatively common consequence of being sick and having to have surgery to fix it.... the pneumonia.
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Thank you 911Doctor! She's taking Vancomycin, Cipro and one of the cephalosporin drugs- Ceftriaxone I think. We were just wondering how is it that a 69 year old can come down with appendicitis? Isn't that most common in people WAYYYYY younger? But then again when I was 15, I was dx'd with gallstones and had to have a cholecystectomy- AT AGE 15! My mother, on the other hand, also had a laproscopic cholecystectomy- but when she was 61 back in 2004! Will her SpO2 levels even out and allow her to be weaned off of the continuous O2 soon do you know?