British Heart Foundation
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Pericardial effusion

I am a 31yr old female, I eat well don’t smoke and drink occasionally. In Nov 2017 I attended my GP with a suspected chest infection, I was sent for blood tests that showed raised haemoglbin levels and after more test was diagnosed with polycythemia and referred to a haematologist. During investigation a chest x-ray showed an enlarged heart so an echocardiogram was arranged that showed a large amount of fluid around my heart. A drain was arranged which I had 3 weeks ago and I had approx 2 litres of fluid drained. I have been back for follow up this week and it is accumulating again, it’s doubled since my last echo 9 days ago (2.4cm to 4.8cm) With all the tests I’ve also been diagnosed with marfanoid habitus, which they say has allowed my pericardium to ‘stretch’ so much. I now am being referred to have a ‘window’ cut in my pericardium. Has anyone else been through something similar? Felling a bit overwhelmed with it all now. Aoiffe

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I had an effusion after my aortic valve change, because of my warfarin they wouldn’t drain but instead put me on a course of steroids which cured it. Haven’t had any reoccurrence.

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I have been back to see my surgeon today and I am being scheduled for a Pericardiectomy as a clinical priority. I have income worries because of the time off needed for this. Also the physical repercussions. I don’t think I’ve been made aware of them all since I’ve agreed to have it done. I was blind-sided today. Aoiffe

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I can imagine, at your age you wouldn’t expect any of this. This all sounds critical to your health, but there might be sickness benefits you can claim?

Really hope it goes well xx

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Hi Aoiffe. Sorry to hear about your health issues. You may like to try and speak to the BHF helpline they will be able to answer questions about the procedure itself. Also try to speak to your GP about your concerns. You may want to speak to citizens advice about your income whilst off sick there maybe benefits that you are entitled to but worth exploring now.

Take care and let us know how it all goes. Zena

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