Peak flow after surgery

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I had a left lower lobectomy aged 18 in 1975. I think that equates to half of the lung (but only a third on the right). My peak flow, however, is about half what it should be for a man aged nearly 60 (I can manage 350 on a good day) but at other times it's pretty poor  (this morning it was 250). 

Is there any rule of thumb for post operative peak flow? My doctor doesn't appear to know and just says 'keep an eye on it'. 

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  • Posted

    I had BOTH lower lobes out in 1955. When younger than you were. My peak flow is Very poor now. But it was 150 for several years but through walking every day I have improved it to 200. I am not on oxygen & get about fine as long as I don't try too many hills or steep slopes & of course I cannot run. But your peak flow is excellent mine has not been that good for years

     

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    • Posted

      Interesting to know you had the op so many years ago.  And interesting too that you can improve PF though exercise.

      Did they get rid of the brochiectasis completey or did you have residual problems? I have asthma now, but I suspect there is a little residual bronchiectasis in my right lung - even though a scan some years ago concluded that there wasn't.

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  • Posted

    Not sure what peak flow should be for a man , But seams quite low to me , are you under a consultant?, best to get advice from him , you may have an infection.
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  • Posted

    My previous Pulmonologist gave me a PeakFlow meter and I used it in front of him and think I got to 450 - this was about 18 yrs ago. I am female and middle aged at that time. I have asthma, COPD and BX. But at that time I did not have BX that I knew of.   I asked him what should the figure be and he told me you don't look at it like that - he said it's to compare your own readings.  I assume a normal reading would be at the top of the scale for someone without lung problems.  The idea is we are supposed to keep beating our own numbers.  So that tells me that something must make us improve. I have been told that the more you use the PF meter the better you do. Can't recall though who told me.   The doctor never told me that exercise or anything would improve my numbers but it would make sense that if there is any way to strengthen our lungs it would improve our numbers.  Anyway because of my utter confusion over the whole thing and the fact that I couldn't get my numbers any higher I never used the PFMeter again. By the way according to my Pulm. Function Test my lung capacity then was 64%.

    A year ago my PulmonaryFunctionTest showed my lung capacity to be 50% - My bout of pneumonia that I've talked about apparently set me back a lot.  My Allergist did that test (not as extensive) not my Pulmo. and I'm hoping when I have the full PF test next time that it will show a better result.  Two months after that awful result I had a follow up appt. with the Allergist & again they tested me and I blew my lungs out and he said I only had 46% capacity that time. I couldn't believe it. At that rate I'd be dead in no time. I'd had my inhalers and wasn't clogged up with mucous or anything.  But I had stopped walking as I hurt my foot so maybe that's the difference but I think if exercise made any difference at all I wouldn't have dropped from 64% to 50% in the first place.  Hopefully one day I'll get back to walking up our short little hill which makes me wheeze getting to the top.  But obviously the little exercise I WAS doing over the months/years sure didn't help the PFT numbers.  .  It's very discouraging and I would like to know if somehow we can raise our PFT numbers and does that also affect the Peak Flow rate? 

    I hope someone can give us positive results they've experienced.

    Tabatha

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    • Posted

      Hi Tabatha - and thanks for taking the time to reply and share your experiences.  I've no idea what my lung function is as a %, and don't know how to find out.  I think my wisest course of action will be to go and see my GP (that's a general doctor here in the UK) and talk it through.  The fact is as I approach my 60s I want to be sure I am doing everything I can to preserve my lungs - which have never been good at the best of times it has to be said!

      I hope that your hoped-for improvements materialise very soon and that  you get up that hill with little effort.

      Cheers

      Jon

      ps I blew 320 this morning - which is a slight improvement!

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    • Posted

      Dear Tabatha

      PLEASE don't worry,  I have lived for many decades with worse peak flow AND  lower  lung function than you have now.    My peak flow varies between 150  and 200  and I lead a very active life.  I cannot climb  hills without stopping  and more than 2 flights of stairs would prove a trial.  BUT  I can walk several miles,  have many activities , and can do most of the things that I always have done,  just perhaps at a slower rate .   Of course you should do everything you can to stay healthy,   especially trying to stay clear of infections.  As I have bronch I get about one chest infection requiring antibiotics every 3 months or so , and this is what seriously diminishes lung function

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    • Posted

      Hi, Jon,  it is the Pulmonary specialists who prescribe or do in their own offices the Pulmonary Function Tests.  They take about 20 minutes and you blow and breathe and inhale and they do all kinds of things on the computer and it gives them a reading of how you are doing and it gives them a nice printout which they give to the doctor and he can glance at that and tell you in one or two words if you're better or worse.  My first doctor typed up a very nice report about 3" long which I appreciated even tho I didn't understand it.  But my current Pulmo who I thought would type a report didn't.  He scribbled on the bottom of the report what his 'findings' were. Next time I saw him I asked him if he didn't do a typed report like I AM USED TO.  Ha ha.  He said 'no I don't do that; I already do too much on the computer'.   So I have to be satisfied with 2 or 3 lines of doctor's handwriting.  The internet has quite good descriptions of the meanings of all the words on a PFtest but it's still hard to fathom.  It could be that because you have had surgery that that test is not something that would be of benefit where the PF meter could be.   It's easier using that than going thru a PFT and gives you an instant score.  The PFT shows whether a person is obstructed or restriction and depending upon which word describes you that tells the doctor how to treat you.  Like asthma is obstruction and emphesema is restriction (or something like that). In my case I'm obstructed.

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    • Posted

      Dear ohara,   Can YOU tell me how you can tell when you have a chest infection requiring antibiotics??

      I knew when I had pneumonia as I felt really really awful and went right away to a Walk in Clinic.  But I haven't felt anything like that since yet I read on this site of all the people who often have infections and need drugs.   I'm hoping I'm not missing something that needs attention.  I feel good every day other than BX clogginess and some occasional green mucous but not consistent.

      That pneumonia did do a number on me for sure and i've never recovered those numbers as I said.  I'm shocked really that I've sunk so low : ( .  

      But thanks for your positive note and your experience; that will help me a lot and might even encourage me to use that PFmeter.

      Tabatha

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    • Posted

      Hi Tabatha...Have you had a definite diagnosis of Bronchiectasis?  after a CT scan?      As constant infections are symptomatic of Bronch.   I know its very hard to diagnose  and I 'Belive''  that the only way is a CT scan, unless they look right into your lungs with a scope.

      To answer your question.....Normally I always get a chest infection after any cold....I can get one without having a cold first but, they ALWAYS follow any cold.    Your lungs fill up more with mucus,  which for me turns a greener colurs & becomes thicker and harder to cought out.   Therefore breathing becomes more difficult.  I usually get a fever...but start off shivering for several hours first.  There is neverany doubt that it has 'gone to my lungs'  as they say, and each time this happens it does damage to my lungs  ( I only have 3 lobes left so not much lung cacpacity to spare)  so paramount for me is to avoid infections and I do everything I can do do that.  I am on Azithromycin  three times a week and have been for 5 years, but still do get at least 4 infections a year.  This is a very reduced number to before I was on Azithromycin.   Sometimes the infection is hard to get rid of, and it needs MANY courses of strong antibiotics to clear it up, often  ending by IV antibiotics

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    • Posted

      Hi, Ohara - here is my CT results - I've never bothered to copy and paste my stuff to anyone before so this is a first:

      ' 6/14/07  Atypical Pneumonia.            Vague infilt. vs inflam. chngs all lobes L&R since 11/24/03. Vague patchy infilt. upper lobes, R midlobe, lingula & lower lobes.  They are predominantly central & suggest scattered inflammatory or infectious process.  There is bilateral apical scarring,  bronchiectasis most pronounced centrally & in R upper lobe. R apical lung scarring either stable or progressed.  A spiculated density in superior segment L lower lobe that is stable or less pron.  Note made of spiculated area lateral basilar segment R lower lobe that appears to correspond to a more Focal area of inflammatory changes on current exam. Scarring inferior margin of R middle lobe has progressed & there is pronounced Bronchiectasis R middle lobe.'

      So there you have it as far as 2007 goes.

      I've had about 15 CT scans up til about 5 years ago mostly all with one dr. and nothing since as they said I have too much radiation.  My current dr. has not done a CT scan and I'm not sure he's aware of these previous CT scans.  He doesn't ask but I gave him a typed list of everything I'd had done and he said he's not going to read it.  I know what you're thinking : ) I'm fairly sure he would tho if I was sick.

      I'm guessing my supplements and vits take care of my health and my juicing every morning.  Plus I don't go out in the world where bacteria lurks.  I have had CTs since that 2007 and as u know they all change and they read much better than this one where I had pneumonia. Others still reflect problems but I selected that one since it's the first time that BX was even mentioned.  I suppose I could have had it before 2007 but it was not indicated in the report.

      Do you live in England or in the states?  I think if I lived in England I'd be sick a lot due to their dampness and cold.  

      By the way, I had to have surgery in 2010 and you know they alwas do a chest X-ray to see if you are strong enough etc.  Well that x-ray showed nothing wrong in the lungs.  All normal.  i've wondered if none of the results they see on CT scans show up on X-rays. You'd think something would show up as not being normal.

      I'm guessing you have so many infections because you don't have the strength in the lungs to resist - does that make sense? or is it not the lungs so much as your immune system?  Have you ever checked that out?  I didn't know you could until this year when a man on this site said he had gone to Immunologist and that put me on that path and we slowly working on trying to improve my immune system and if you've read some of my previous messages you'll see I do some alternative supplements to help prevent infections and I really think it works for me.

      If I ever have another CT scan I'll let you know the results - I'm anxious to have one but not going to ask for one : )

      Tabatha

       

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