Nerve damage after heart surgery?

Has anyone experienced nerve damage after bypass or other chest/heart surgery? 9 1/2 months ago after my CABGx4, I noticed a droopy eyelid. Still have it. Eye doctor says it's not Horner's Syndrome, which from reading on the Internet, happens sometimes with chest surgeries. My surgeon said Horner's Syndrome was "very rare." OK, but it still happens. Vision not affected. OTC med "Clear Eyes" will open the eye so it doesn't look like I'm exhausted on that side of my face, but it only lasts a couple of hours. Don't like using it every day. ALSO, my cousin experienced nerve damage in her foot after her bypass; not sure if it's on the same side as where they took the vein. Been over 3 years for her and she still has a droopy foot but at least she can drive again now.

Wondering just how common this is, and is it permanent? I feel worse after the CABGx4 then I did prior to, even tho I had a mild HA. I wonder sometimes if I should have gone on with the bypass surgery but what's done is done. Barb

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Hello. I had bypass surgery 4 years ago and experienced nerve damage to half of my left breast (no feeling)...the surgeon
said that if the feeling didn't come back within approx. 18 months, then it would probably be permanent. Looks like it is.
It no doubt comes from taking mammary artery to use for the left main bypass.

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Thanks Santafenewmexico! It's been 9 months since my surgery, so maybe (I hope) things will be better at 18 months. Otherwise, I guess I'll have to live with it. My left side also still numb, but I expected that (from the mammary artery). How long has it been since your heart surgery? I still have depressing days because I thought I'd be back to having lots of energy and feeling like my ol' self by now. But some days are emotionally a roller coaster. Today is one of them. Thanks for your response. Barb

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Well Duh, Santafe....I just reread your post and I see it's been 4 years since your surgery. Sorry I didn't pick up on that before I sent my last post. Like I said, today is a bad day! :-) Barb

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Hiya, Barb! I had CABG x4 right about the same time that you did. It now feel like that procedure aged me 20+ years since I had no prior symptoms other than a sudden increase in BP. PHOOEY!

As to the nerve damage, my balance has been off and both left leg and left breast area are numb. The latter two are very common aftereffects of the surgery. My balance issues appear to be "machinehead" artifacts from being on the heart bypass during surgery. Could this be what caused the problem with your eye?

I'm with you, girl, in having some really down days. But at least we're here to gripe about it. <G>

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No worries! You've got alot on your mind and frankly, I think it took me a good year to feel even half way back to normal after my bypass surgery. Try to go easy on yourself and exercise a little everyday, eat well, pamper yourself and remember that you went through a very difficult process and a huge insult to your physical body! And who wouldn't feel at least a little depressed after such a life-changing event?! I've been told that's quite common. I saw a therapist a few times after my surgery when I was feeling discouraged and blue. It helped. My therapist was connected with the cardiac program at the hospital. And talking things over with a good friend can be helpful too--that little big of socialization that reminds us we are still part of the world. Good luck with everything and all the best! By, the way, your energy will return with proper nutrition and daily exercise.

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Thanks Tink8it and Santafe -- both of you blessed me this a.m. by sharing your experience. Maybe the eye problem is from debris in the brain that I understand can happen when on the bypass machine (no one told me that before the surgery, but what could I do anyway?). My left leg is not numb much as they didn't do the usual vein strip - they did a "keyhole" surgery that removed the vein. A tiny hole at the ankle and groin and maybe a 2 inch cut near the knee. Don't know how they got the vein out, not sure I want to know, but I don't have the big scar my mom did when she went thru this and she did great, lived to be 84.

Tink8it, my blood pressure was high also and then I started with the jaw pain. Did all the right things, went to the ER (nothing showed up); went to my regular doctor, called my cardio doctor and because I had a stress test 3 months earlier that was good, none of them seemed to think it was my heart. I even told the cardio nurse that I thought I was trying to have a heart attack. I'd read enough about unstable angina. Ten days later of off/on symptoms, had the MI (fortunately, very little damage and then something did show up in the ER)..after the HA, my cardio doc told me that stress tests are only 85% accurate, but that's pretty good accuracy I guess. And finally I think my cardio doc believed me when I told her that I had frozen shoulders prior to my heart events. Shoulders cleared up after getting the heart fixed on two occasions (stents the first time 12 years ago). You would think I would have gotten the message about diet/exercise then but I didn't. I pretty much ate what I wanted and hated exercise so boom, had the MI last fall.

Well, anyway, it has helped my feelings just to hear back from folks in the same boat. I am doing good with the diet and exercise thing now... maybe too good with the diet. I'm paranoid about eating a piece of cheese. LOL..........seriously ladies, thanks for your replies. Guess I was just having a small pity-party this a.m. I didn't invite any guests but glad you showed up!! Barb

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Hey Barb, sounds to me that you're right on target with everything and good for you sticking with the diet and exercise. Those two things will go a long way in keeping that great new blood of yours flow strong and healthy. By the way, I hear that the only really definitive picture of what's really going on in those arteries is the angiogram AND our own instincts and understanding of our own bodies and rhythms...Really glad to hear from you about your experience as I am new to this site and have had no feedback at all! Take care!

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Oops, re-read my post, Barb, and meant to say that great new blood flow of yours NOT "new blood!!!!!" ;^)

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Hey Santafe, thanks for your post. I wish I had some new blood, younger and full of energy! I looked at your profile today and I am older than you, almost 68. When I saw how much you have been through and at such a young age, it made me feel bad that I've griped so much today!

Think today has been a downer for me because a friend from church lost her husband last Saturday to a heart attack and I've tried to be a comfort to her all week and in the meantime, feeling pretty down myself. I have times when I feel a little short-winded and that unnerves me but then I think my anxiety causes that; not something I feel or think about all the time. Just one of those days. Going to church tomorrow will help me bounce back - I have a great support system there as well, some of the ladies there also have heart issues. Plus a triage nurse and OR nurse that was with me through bypass also attend my church (as does one of the lady cardiologists). Hope you continue to do well for all you have been through. Thanks so much for your input. Barb

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I know that this is a little further down the track now than the other replies, but yes I too suffer neuropathic pain post sternotomy. I have times when I feel like I am about to have a heart attack but it never is, its just the neuropathic pain and if I can do enough stretches, take enough pain killers and anti-inflammatories to can make it through the next few days the pain slowly eases but on the odd occasion it may last a week or two. By that stage, I am starting to feel a bit stressed. I do find it even affects my breathing and get short of breath. Just blew my last couple of weeks by buying and loading into and out of my SUV 10 bags of heavy compost. I wonder if I will even learn. Doc referring me back to Cardiologist for an exercise test, just to make sure. I think the nerve pain really makes my heart twitchy and once I get the pain under control, the twitchiness of my heart seems to settle too. I am now 11 years post-surgery and I had hoped that with time it would have lessened. I too had my bypass done using my left inferior mammary artery and yep I ended up with a numb left breast. Its only partly numb now but that's one of the parts that really hurts the most when I get the neuropathic pain. I am ever hopeful for a wonder drug to ease this. I would be interested if others have struck this, particularly the twitchiness of your heart. Its almost like the nerve pain really upsets it.

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Ladies if you want a discussion to stay open, did you know they keep them going longer if you recommend them.
I had a crown glued on with expoxy and it hurt for 6 months. certain times of day....
I have some knowledge and 2 books on homeopathic remedys. I don't know if any of you are familiar with them?.

they give hope where nothing else does. I use them for my cats also.. not a miracle but have saved me loads of money and given hope.
anyone can google if you have pc homeopathic remedys for nerve pain or damage.............

relatively inexpensive if you order the granuales its more expensive.... my lady sells them by 1/2 oz and 1 ox and one bottle of 2 oz............
also from

I just had 2 root canals laying flat gave me I don't lay flat at home.
before the 2nd one must have been stress............. developed a painful UTI............BEFORE THE 2nd rc.........................
I took some Cantharis and uva ursi..........its better but not gone yet.......taking garlic and took some strong oregeno first........ and it was hanging on.
boy do we want those symptoms to leave fast.........................

.. ......ericka price I believe is her name with the website. she has quite good bit of info but as I scanned it I didn't see the nerve damage. I've read about it in my larger book................ on homeopathy.................

keep the faith. and we will hold each other up times are tough........... hugs d

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Surgery when there is injury to glandular and the deeper tissues and muscles, and it acts on muscular fibers of the blood vessels. Surgical injury to muscles, nerves, joints and ligaments with intense soreness. Breast surgery including mastectomy.
For toxic affects of General Anesthesia during surgery [30c as needed right after surgery].
If a known bleeder to prevent hemorrhaging [30c just before and right after surgery]. Amputated finger for pain in stump of.

I posted this in another discussion just hoping an alternative remedy gives hope...........

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