ZocdocAnswersChest pain following gall bladder surgery?

Question

Chest pain following gall bladder surgery?

Hello. I had my gall bladder removed a week ago. I feel good from surgery. I am having nagging sharp chest pains after meals or sitting for a period of time. The pain worsens upon deep inhalations. I called my physicians nurse and she had me go to ER for fear of pulmonary embolism. This was a waste of time and embarrassing. After IV, pain meds and cat scan, all results were normal. Today I spoke with my surgeon and he says it could be from laying on operating table?! What? I had chicken lugiuni this afternoon and I am now experiencing chest pain when take deep breaths. Any advice???

Answer

Any chest pain that worsens with inspiration is called pleuritic chest pain. Your doctor's were absolutely right in sending you to the emergency room to rule out a pulmonary embolism as a cause your pain. Pulmonary emboli are common in the post-operative time period. You should definitely not be embarrassed at all. If your tests including a x-ray and CT scan are normal, then the things like pulmonary embolism, pneumonia have been ruled out. The other possibilities include pleuritis which is an inflammation of the pleura (outer lining of the lung). This can occur from just being intubated from the surgery or lying on the surgical table as your surgeon pointed out. If this is the case, it should resolve on its own. Another possibility is pericarditis, which is inflammation of the outer lining of your heart. This tends to cause a lot of pain and usually causes a special sound to occur in your chest when your heart beats, and causes pain that gets better when you sit forward. Your association of the pain with eating is a little strange, but could mean that you are experiencing chest pain from reflux which can sometimes worsen with breathing. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Bring with you the records from your surgery and the ER visit. The two of you should be able to work this out. Good luck.

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