Does deep coughing hurt my heart?

I had my MI almost 2 years ago, have a stent, and am now "stable" according to my cardiologist. Now, I'm experiencing my first bad cold in years and I have a deep cough although my lungs are clear. It settled in my bronchial tubes. When I cough, I cough deeply & it racks my chest. The cough seems to be improving, but until it does I'm concerned about possible cardiac problems as a result. Do i have cause for concern?

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Not really sure how to answer your question. I know for me, I am not suppose to cough alot, but I had a triple bypass a year ago and I am not sure if it is because of all the muscular/skeletal pain I still have from that surgery or if it is because it could aggrivate my already irritated heart issues. I am suppose to use Robitussen DM, but if that don't control my coughing I am suppose to call the dr. and he will prescribe Robitussen with codeine in it for me to calm the coughing down. So for me, I know I am not suppose to cough alot, and I am not sure if it is because of my conditions CHF, CAD, Diabetes, and Triple bypass surgery, stents x2, and previous pulmonary edema/probable heart attack...See they aren't the best at telling me why, just that they tell me I shouldn't cough too much and if I do, then to call for stronger meds. I do know that when my CHF is acting up the coughing is considered really bad...sooo if you have doubts maybe just do an fyi to your PCP and then they will tell you if you need to let your cardio know...I constantly get, we will let Dr. so and so know, but it sounds like it could be cardio so go ahead and give your cardiologist a call too. Oh yeah, we are expected to let our PCP Dr. know what the cardio said too:)

Hope you start to feel better soon...being sick sucks and then adding worry to it is not good(((hugs)))

Love in Christ,


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I, too, have had bypass surgery. Mine was 4 years ago and counting - nasty little heart attack a few weeks after surgery. I had the misfortune to come down with a cold that led to bronchitis and then caught the flu all about 6 weeks after surgery and 4 weeks after MI. My GP told me back then that colds, flu and cough for heart patients have to be watched just due to the risk of complications if something like bronchitis or pneumonia sets in. I am not sure if our hearts are more at risk but I do know that we need to be very vigilant when we get sick. I had a nasty cold before Christmas that went into my chest and required 2 shots, steroids, antibiotics and 2 inhalers. I got bronchitis and was approaching pneumonia without even realizing it. Back to the doctor today for another shot and round of antibiotics and steroids because my face swole up over night with a massive sinus infection that came out of nowhere and felt like all the bones in my face were broken.

Just a note - there was a story on ABC news the other night about buckwheat honey being just as good as over the counter cough meds.

The studies were done in kids but if it works for kids it ought to be a good alternative to try for adults too. For those of us who are limited in what OTCs we can take due to our heart meds, it is another resource to try when that deep, painful cough gets unbearable. My mom used to give me honey with lemon as a child for colds and cough heated up and it sure helped back then.

I hope you feel better soon, but if you don't start seeing improvement you need to see your doctor.


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Hi Allheart - are you by any chance taking an ACE-inhibitor heart drug? These meds help to dilate blood vessels. Side effects of these meds do include sharp, barking, dry cough. I've been taking Accuretic, an ACE-inhibitor since my heart attack and I sometimes experience surprisingly horrible-sounding coughs, worsened when I actually do catch a (rare) common cold. No affect on my heart, except being embarrassed in public because I sound like I'm coughing up a lung! Coughing can also be a symptom in heart failure - makes sense, because coughing is the body's natural way of clearing the airway and bronchial passages.

Other examples of ACE-inhibitors are Lotensin, Vasotec, Accupril, Altace, Capoten, Prinivil, Univasc among other brand names. Taking an iron supplement sometimes helps mitigate this medication-induced coughing because it curbs the production of nitric oxide, which can irritate bronchial passages in the lungs.

GOOD LUCK - hope you feel better soon.... :-)


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I was taking lisinopril initially, but switched to Cozaar because of the cough. What I have is a very bad cold that is going around here. In fact, my husband and in-laws have it as well. Actaully, my cough seems to be getting a bit better, but it's a long slog. Taking guaifenesin, 100 mg every 4 hours .... seems to help.
Thanks for your concern.

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Hi Allheart,
In post operative scenarios, deep breathing, then coughing out the last breath is a technique employed by our nurses to ensure that our lungs are expanding properly, so that we can avoid one of the most common complications of surgery-- pneumonia.
At two years out, and general good health, your heart and sternum have most likely healed to the point where they can withstand the "racking" cough, though awful and uncomfortable it most likely is. With heart disease you may want to pay particular attention to making sure your secretions are thin and easy to cough up-- drinking lots of warm tea and water, humidifying the air if appropriate, and even using a fairly benign medication that helps thin your mucus (Mucinex- OTC) can help. Some docs will give you a cough suppresant like codeine, but the danger with that is that you stop coughing up the crud in your airways. I use codeine very sparingly with a cold-- usually only at night so I can sleep.
If you're still feeling iffy, set up an appt with your doc, who can likely do more to reassure you, and perhaps Rx something that'll help modify your symptoms.
BEST of luck and health to you, my dear!
Please let us know how things work out for you. In addition, I'm personally interested in any new and interesting symptom management strategies you might come up with! Cold season is certainly upon us (knock on wood..)

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Oh, and P.S.-- a good deep cough can often turn around a run of PVC's-- really. FYI.

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Thanks Melissa. Great positive & helpful input & I will take it to "heart". I appreciate you.
Love, Linda

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