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Reply with quote  #1 
So what is a dangerously low level of blood oxygen when a person has congestive heart failure? At what point do they normally hospitalize or put someone on oxygen?
MIL's was reading just 88% oxygen today when the occupational therapist measured it. I think that's pretty bad, isn't it? She was also complaining of dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Blood pressure was low, heartbeat was erratic. Legs looked swollen too. Mentally, though, she was sharper than many days!
Occupational therapist and nurse were concerned, and they put a call into the doctor on call. I'm sort of expecting them to send her to the hospital sometime over the holiday weekend. I hate to think of this dragging on until Tuesday, which is the next day the doctor visits at the AL.
Reply with quote  #2 
That is low as a normal person s/be in the mid 90s.  Swelling in her extremities indicates fluid buildup which can be controlled with meds or an IV.
Hopefully they will address this soon.  Sounds exactly what happened to my mom b4 she was diagnosed with CHF.   Hospitalization can contol it, but meds may also help if they diagnose in time.
Reply with quote  #3 

88 is too low. As it drops she will become more and more confused. She needs to get the fluid off.

Reply with quote  #4 
I agree, 88 is too low. Had she just finished doing activities? Sometimes my mom's would drop that low if she was on room air during therapy which is why she wore her oxygen during therapy most of the time.Also recover time after activity is important. She was/and still is on 2 liters which isn't really a lot so she can be on room air for periods of time .Definitely the dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath show low O2 level which increases confusion also since the brain is not getting enough oxygen to the brain. That can kill brain cells. Swollen extremities are definite signs of fluid build up. Has she had a weight gain? My mom had a scale connected to her insurance health site; she had to weigh every morning and her weight was called in. If she gained too much overnight or over a certain period of days, they called her and it was reported to her doctor. Then after she was hospitalized in March and we tried to keep her at home, we watched that weight like a hawk (in March, she weighed 195 at 8:30am at Dr.'s office and was sent to hospital. By 2;30 that pm when she was admitted, weight was already down to 184 after IV diuretics. They also took 750ml of fluid off her lung (that's a wine bottle full) using needle thorocentesis. She left the hospital at 175. After second hospital visit for confusion (dementia), she had to go to skilled nursing and her target there is 178; she is weighed daily. Fluid can build up very quickly and causes a host of problems. If the doc doesn't call soon, I would call him myself even on a holiday.I have a number for the SNF doctor. Or take her to the ER yourself or insist that the AL send her. Also insist that the AL get a daily weight and check her O2 levels frequently. If she has other health issues, this makes them worse. In the case of diabetes, blisters/ulcers can form on her legs which are very dangerous unless treated by a wound care professional. Been there, done that too. Started with weeping, drops coming out of her skin, then progressed to blisters to ulcers.
Reply with quote  #5 

Is she on oxygen?  If so, what level?   My mom is on oxygen, I think they said below 90% you should be on it.

Reply with quote  #6 
She has not been on oxygen, except when she's been in the hospital when the congestive heart failure gets out of control. She was feeling bad even without the exertion. The simplest thing, like pulling on a pair of pants, exhausts her.

My guess is that the CHF is getting worse and it's time for her to go on oxygen. It's sad.
Reply with quote  #7 
You are right. It sounds as if she isn't able to keep good O2 levels on room air. I would push for frequent checks and for O2 to be available to her. My mom started with O2 at night, then during the day when needed. She can still be on room air for pretty long periods of time, even during activity, but the NH keeps her "hooked up" most of the time, just to be on the safe side.
Reply with quote  #8 
Blood oxygen level should be no lower than 92 according to our pulmonary dr moms is usually 94 and even now she is ok oxygen all the time but she has lung problems along with heart trouble
Only Girl
Reply with quote  #9 

That is way too low, it should be at the very least 90-92, she needs to be on oxygen now. I am sorry about this but it will help her feel better....

Reply with quote  #10 
The AL just called. They are worried about her shortness of breath, so they are sending her to the hospital to be evaluated and likely put on oxygen. Not sure why it took them so long, she was supposed to be seen by the AL's doctor two days ago.

We are leaving for vacation in 2.5 days, for our annual beach week with the clan. I sure hope a MIL issue doesn't screw up the vacation. It's an 8 hour drive in the opposite direction from MIL, not like we can bop in and say hi if things aren't going well.

MIL is not the type to pull a health crisis to ruin our trip. Actually, I doubt she's aware we're even going on vacation. DH mentioned it when we visited a week ago, but she doesn't have a sense of the calendar much any more.

Short of her dying, I don't think DH will cut short the trip. I sure hope not. This is the only vacation we will get all year - maybe for quite some time after that, money is tight. DH is incredibly stressed and needs this break, I've been worried about him. The rest of us are pretty stressed and need a break too.

Oh, and DD (age 17) finally agreed to go on antidepressants this week (she really needs them), but the med is keeping her up all night. She is on night 3 of almost no sleep and starting to get hysterical. Have to call the psych doc tomorrow, see if we can try a different med before we leave.

And, as usual, I have WAY too much to do (job, family, community organization commitments) before I can start gathering stuff and packing for our trip. I was hoping to clean up the house - it's looks like a tornado hit - as DD's BF is coming on Saturday to join us for the beach. Oh well, he's seen her dorm room, at least it's not quite as bad as that! LOL.

Reply with quote  #11 
MIL is in the hospital. This morning, SIL talked to the nurse and was very optimistic. MIL was sitting up in a chair with oxygen and complaining she wanted to go home, although the nurse said that might not happen today.

Tonight, SIL visited the hospital and had a totally opposite view. SIL spoke with the doctor. MIL was admitted with congestive heart failure and shortness of breath. Her legs are swollen again. The doctor stressed that her heart is EXTREMELY weak.

I hope we don't have a crisis that requires DH to cut short our vacation and go up there. Our beach is isolated, and it would be difficult and very expensive to get anywhere near an airport to fly to see her. I would be torn about whether to go with him, or stay so that the kids can enjoy their vacation. I guess we'll worry about that if it happens.

At least DD is feeling better today. She finally got a decent night's sleep. And I have some of the vacation preparations done.
Stanley bryson
Reply with quote  #12 
My name is Stanley I'm a veteran and I have chf an low oxygen ,I didn't know what was wrong.I couldn't walk without shortness of breath ,I was tired.I had a Dr.appt.and they put me on oxygen after checking me out.I am now on oxygen 24/7 it dropped down to 83 and everyday I'm scared.
Mike Gamble

Super Moderators
Posts: 55
Reply with quote  #13 
Hello Stanley. Welcome to our online support group.

I did some research and found a very interesting and encouraging article on the American Heart Association's website.

A Patient’s Guide to Living Confidently With Chronic Heart Failure

I found one paragraph especially hopeful:

"Re-engage in Activities

Achieving desirable QoL [Quality of Life] involves getting back to doing as many of the same enjoyable activities as possible that you engaged in before CHF. This may also be an important opportunity to begin new activities that will help you regain good QoL. Walking, bicycling, social events with friends, joining a support group for CHF or ICD patients, and hobbies are all examples of activities that may help you regain life satisfaction. Our actions have a tremendous effect on our sense of well-being. Make sure that you talk with your healthcare provider [I recommend talking to a cardiologist] to get specific guidelines on activities that are safe and then make a point of doing them."

I know from my own experiences with rehab programs that making a point of doing the recommended activities every day is hard ... especially when you first start out. But, persistence pays off. The only part that's frustrating is that it takes a while for the results of your efforts to become obvious. [In my case, I was eventually able to stop using one of my inhalers that had been prescribed for my COPD.]

While it may seem trite, hang in there! You can live a more enjoyable life ... with a little effort on your part.

Sherrill D Johnson
Reply with quote  #14 
Hi my name is Sherrill and I just found out that I have COPD and CHF and I am oxygen 24/7 at 2mg and I hope and pray I will get better
Reply with quote  #15 
Hi i have CHF have for years totally under control now i am on o2 24/7 at 3 litters barely staying at 95 scared.
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