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Cardiac Rehabilitation

Irregular Heart Beat and Scarred Lungs

01/09/2007

Question:

I am a 44 year old male who had a Liposarcoma 8 years ago. I get CT Scans on a regular bases. I had one a week ago and the findings showed that I had mild pleural parenchymal scarring in the left lung base. I also had a small anterior pericardial effusion. I have been experiencing SOB, lung pain (Upper Airways), chest discomfort and irregular heart rhythm. When I take my pulse, I can feel it pause. The pain to my upper airways has been going on for a month. It seems to come and go.

What can be causing this? What could have caused the scarring to my lungs? Can the Pericardial effusion be causing my irregular heart beat? The Doctors at Kaiser Hospital have not been able to help me with my medical condition. I need some answers. Can you please help me?

Answer:

Karen Kutoloski, DO

Occasionally a pericardial effusion can cause an irregular heart rhythm, but there are also quite  a few other things that could be causing the irregular rhythm. Your doctor would most likely have you wear a holter monitor to try to identify the type of rhythm abnormality, and also perform blood tests and possibly other tests to determine the etiology of the rhythm abnormality.

You can visit the MetroHealth Heart & Vascular site section called Abnormal Heart Rhythms for more information.

Ralph Panos, MD

From your question and the information provided, it is difficult to provide definite answers.  Depending upon where the liposarcoma was originally located and how it was treated, the lungs may be affected by radiation or chemotherapy.  In addition, any infections such as pneumonias may cause inflammation and scarring within the lung.  It is unclear whether the changes on the CT scan are related to your  symptoms.  Further evaluation with pulmonary function testing to assess airflow or obstruction to airflow would appear warranted.  You should discuss your breathing symptoms with your primary care physician and consider asking for a referral to see a lung specialist or pulmonologist for further evaluation.

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Response by:

Karen   Kutoloski, DO Karen Kutoloski, DO
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

Ralph   Panos, MD Ralph Panos, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati