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Post ACDF Low Heart rate, breathing issues

StlawSStlaw Posts: 5
edited 12/03/2015 - 1:53 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi - first of all, this site has been such a lifesaver for me as I prepared for and had ACDF c5,c6 on October 27, 2015 and I am so grateful for the information I gathered here. Thank you!

I am wondering if anyone else experienced issues with heart rate and blood pressure dropping after surgery?

I spent one night in the hospital and all through the evening and night, I kept passing out due to it and the nurses kept rousing me and telling me to breathe. It would come back up and later go down agiain. It seemed to get better the next day and I was sent home that afternoon.

Four days later, I was walking from my bedroom to the living room and I passed out and fell. When I came to, I could not breathe a deep breath. My children called 911 and while waiting on the ambulance, I stopped breathing and was turning blue. I was in and out of consciousness and after the medics started an IV, i began to improve.

At the ER, they thought I had a pulmonary embolism, but I didn't. My labs came back okay and I was sent home and told to stay hydrated.

Overall, other than the surgery being WAY bigger than I anticipated, my recovery seems to be on track and I have my 6 week appt next week to see if it is fusing. I have pain relief, but still have numbness issues and some concerning crackling sounds in my neck along with the weird throat stuff that seems to be common.

I haven't had any episodes since but it really scared me and my poor kiddos and I have a lingering concern about it.

I am just wondering if anyone has had any similar experience and if so, what was the cause? I'm not sure how far to go to figure it out since it hasn't happened again but can't shake it just yet.

Thank you!


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • StlawSStlaw Posts: 5
    edited 12/04/2015 - 8:44 PM
    Thank you! I read over the rules before posting, did I post incorrectly?
  • I experienced the same thing after both lots of surgery. Some people have more blood loss than others and some are affected by morphine. Mine was a mixture of the two, as my respiratory rate was very low in bed, a common result of morphine. I had an oxygen mask for some hours after I came back from recovery, in my room. The staff kept telling me to put it back on when I tried talking to my partner.

    i also had an episode of feeling very faint when I was taken to the loo .. only about a metre from my bed and I wanted to head back to bed but the nurse refused to let me leave the toilet and administered more oxygen. I had three procedures during that operation so blood loss means there are less cells to carry the oxygen around your body, hence breathlessness and fainting.

    The hospital were excellent to check you for a embolism as that can result after surgery, hence the need for those lovely hospital stockings :-)

    I had further issues at home but was very very careful not to use the stairs if I was alone in the house, rested lots and ate lots of iron rich food to help my body with the blood loss.

    I hope this will help you but especially help your children overcome their fears. My daughter and son both belonged to St John Ambulance cadets when younger, so my daughter knew how to help me with that after surgery, while helping her 'old ma' :-) during showers/dressing

    Tramadol can also affect your respiratory rate, something I was taking after surgery, which added to the problem at times of standing.

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    There is nothing wrong with your posting!
    It's all good. :)

    Spine-health, and we members, want to be sure all new members feel welcomed!
    And to have explanation of site, as it helps if someone is unsure of how to get started.
    And the link is also a good reference to even refer to later on.

    I wish you the very best in your recovery!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Thanks for your reply AJ Gormit, I appreciate it! I'm glad to know someone else experienced the same thing.
    I think I was as happy to get out of those stockings as I was the neck brace! Lovely thigh high monstrosities!

    My eldest daughter is pre-med, but it was pretty hard for her to handle all of this with me. My 12 year old daughter didn't leave my side for weeks though!

    I will say this about my premed daughter though - when I was taken by ambulance to the ER they started an IV. When my daughter and I arrived back at home, I realized that the hospital had left it in my arm! She was able to remove it because of her experience.

    Obviously a lack of communication between the medics and the er staff. Glad I had her there to help, I was definitely not in shape to remove it myself!

    Thank you again for your reply and Happy Holidays to you.

    Savage, thank you, I appreciate the welcome! This forum has been such a wealth of information for me before and after my surgery!
  • I didn't have the passing out issues but I have the neck cracking and the numbness very slightly but it's still coming and going.
    The neck cracking seems close to my skull not were I had my ACDF which was at C6-C7. I had my surgery 4 1/2 weeks ago.i had a severe herniation that was squishing my spinal cord.whcih was causing numbness all over and severe spacisisty.the spacisisty is gone and the numbness is mostly gone. The numbness keeps popping up,here and there whcih is discerning. That cracking is scary and it concerns me that it could be a major problem. I see dr December 18 for 6 weeks check up. I'm still in collar when I leave the house and sleep.
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