Oesophageal Patients Association
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Post op cough after Ivor Lewis

Hi, My Mum had her Ivor Lewis in Nov 2017, since then she has had an horrendous cough, especially when talking and eating? The upper GI specialist nurse said it seems it is a reflux cough? She is due to have a stretch in two weeks. After having a barium swallow, it showed things were moving slow through her new plumbing. Has anyone else had a cough post op and howlong did it last? Any advice would be grateful. Many Thanks.

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Hi Deborah

I think it is quite normal to have a cough following the IL procedure. I certainly experienced one when I tried to talk. The coughing gradually increased until it reached a point where I couldn’t finish a sentence. If my understanding is correct it is due to the collapsing of the lung, which is an integral part of the procedure. The good thing to look forward to is that it does stop. I can’t be exactly sure when mine stopped but I recall it didn’t last too long.

I hope your mother’s cough improves. Best wishes.

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Thank you for your advice. It’s good to know it eventually stops. I hope you are doing well.

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Yes, it probably will be a reflux cough. I still have it a bit and my op was last september. Your mum should be on medication for the reflux. Also she should sleep propped up. Being flat is bad as things come back too esily. Hopefully the stretch may help though i have o eperience of that

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Thank you for your advice. Hope you are doing well after your op

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I am not sure whether that means it is a reflex cough, ie something that is triggered by sensitivity because of the effect of the surgery on her lungs; or a reflux cough, caused by stomach contents refluxing up. Try taking Gaviscon Advance, which may help with the reflux, and it may be that the dosage of any medication like Omeprazole that she takes might need to be adjusted. But Gaviscon will be a short term remedy that will last for a few hours.

Is it worse at night or when she lies down? That would indicate that reflux might be the cause.

Coughing can be very debilitating, as you know only too well.

For the first months, taking a deep breath (or yawning, or sneezing) might itself start off coughing, but this is all to do with expanding the lungs, ribs and chest. It is worth doing gentle, progressive exercises to try and combat this because in the first stages of recovery, one does tend to breathe in quite a shallow manner, and to feel very protective of one's chest area, for understandable reasons. But exercise does eventually sort this out, notwithstanding that it can be painful on the ribs first of all to take deep breaths.

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Hi Alan, I think the nurse thinks it’s because stomach content is coming up and tickling her throat? The cough is persistent day and night, especially when she talks.

She sleeps elevated, and is taking her reflux meds and Gaviscon advance, but nothing seems to be helping. She has had quite a few chest infections.

She has her stretch on Wednesday hopefully it will help. They did say food isn’t moving down as quick as it should. Maybe that is why it could be causing so much reflux coming back up and aggravating her throat, making her cough so much?

Thank you for you advice.

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If food is indeed backing up, that might well explain the problem.

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Hi Deborah,

I’m sorry to hear about your mom’s cough. My husband had IL op March ‘18 and started coughing after. He had lots of post nasal draining with the cough and it would cause him to throw up clear sticky mucus , especially when he tried to talk or walk. It was exhausting for him. He tried lots of meds and finally about 2 weeks ago, seems to have found what works for him & is not coughing so much. He uses 3 nasal sprays, and takes a codeine cough syrup —-at first took that 2 times a day but now just before bed. He also uses a Nasal wash & steam. It’s been 7 weeks post op....we see improvement when we look back from 2/3 weeks, hard to see it day to day. But everyone says recovery takes a long time. Tell your mom to hang in there. She’s lucky to have you!!

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Hi,

Thank you for your advice. We will certainly try the nasal sprays and codeine cough syrup. The cough is so exhausting for her. I hope her stretch on Wednesday helps.

I hope you husband is recovering well. It’s such a big op. With everything they have been though, I suppose it had to come with a few issues to overcome.

Everyone who goes through this op are so brave.

Wishing your husband a good recovery.

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Thank you! I hope the stretch goes smoothly & helps with your mom’s coughing. Keep us posted! This site has lots of helpful advice. Better advice comes from those who’ve been through this. It is so good to know that there is support here. Take care!

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Thank you. This site has been so helpful. It’s such an informative site, people are very supportive on here. Definitely best taking advice from those who have been through it or helping people recover. I will let you know how Wednesday goes, Fingers crossed it helps. Best wishes to you and your husband.

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Hi yes i had a cough still do sometimes need to spit out mucus to clear the throat.Firstly I used to get extra breaths and hiccups its to do with the lung bing deflated during surgery and where the stomach now lies higher up in the chest. I take Gaviscon advance along with Lansoprazole.

Good luck hope the stretch works.

Debbie

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Hi Debbie, thank you for your advice. My mum brings up white lumps with mucus. Fingers crossed the stretch helps on Wednesday as the cough is so exhausting for her. Hope you are doing well.

Debs

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On the note of reflux sensitivity of throat post IL Op. I note a significant reduction in the quality of acid now. I had bit of regurgitation last night but no cough due to that.

Although I struggled to speak even two words because of coughing. This maybe due to having pneumonia, a month in bed with tubes in throat and pleuritic effusion pains.

Now it's better. Does take it's own time to heal.

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Thank you for your advice. My Mum did have fluid build up on her lung with an infection about a week after her IL op. They had to drain the fluid. Maybe this could of contributed to the sensitivity and enhanced her cough? Hope you are much better after your IL op.

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Hope she is getting better each day. Best of wishes for her recovery and for you to stay strong to see to her.

Nowadays I cough occasionally like after eating ice lolly or trying to laugh loud etc. Just a brief cough but not continuous.

I left hospital after 6 weeks with pleural effusion and was told was Dr that it will heal itself over the time. The pain was that time managed with stronger painkillers but haven't had pleuritic pain as such.

I believe the cough subsided over the month or so but it must have stretched due to having caught flu at home.

The issue is disturbed sleep due to cough in the nights. But eventually it gets better.

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Hi ...is this her 1st stretch since her op ? The reason I ask is that my hubby Tony had his Op Aug 17 and also had a bad cough and sneezed every single time he ate anything!! We found that within two weeks of surgery the scar tissue was narrowed and he needed a Stretch and that was the cause of the cough etc because the tubes were being “aggravated “we were told. He has just recently had his 7th stretch and I can tell you that the coughing did eventually cease and the sneezing only starts up when the scar tissue is tightening again. This too is gradually improving and hopefully won’t have to have many more of them !Im sure that’s Mums problem too , hope she gets it sorted .

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Hi Debbie, yes it is her 1st stretch, hopefully it will help. I think they are planning to stretch her pylorus? Your poor husband 7 stretches! They certainly have had a lot to deal with! Hope your husband continues to improve and recovers well. Thank you for your advice.

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