Wheezes and Smoking

  1. Hey all,

    This may sound like a weird or stupid question, but can smokers have wheezing without COPD?
    I had an OB patient last week who smoked during her pregnancy, and delivered a 5 lb 13 oz, otherwise healthy baby. On the 2nd day post-cesarean, she developed atelectasis and had dyspnea. No pneumonia yet according to CXR. Anyway, I listened to her lungs and at the apices, she had wheezing and pretty much coarse breath sounds every else that would improve with her breathing deeply and coughing. I used to hate it when nurses would chart "coarse breath sounds" because I didn't know what that meant. Now I do! Her lung sounds were very course, kinda like rhonchi, but the word "coarse" described it best. My question is, do my findings make sense? Do you think she just has more secretions being a smoker and thus has these sounds?

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    About zacarias

    Joined: Oct '01; Posts: 1,352; Likes: 83
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 14 year(s) of experience in tele, stepdown/PCU, med/surg


  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    yes, often when they don't smoke due to being in the hospital or what-not, they develop wheezing. Since one of the hospitals in which I work is strictly NON-smoking on premises, and people have to do patches or gum til they are out, I see this ALL the time, esp after the 1st 24 hours or so w/o a cigarette. I guess those poor ole lungs are trying to "clean out" when smoking is absent. Yes, I see it all the time. But, with that said, I always chart and report any adventitious lung sounds I hear and monitor closely. That way, I can note any worsening/distress or changes. I Don't assume it's benign for any reason. Hope this helps.
  4. by   Tweety
    A lot of times it isn't until they have a major operation like a c-section or some kind of trauma that problems with smoking show up in younger people who smoke but don't have copd.

    Their smoking has decreased their ability to cope with the stress of surgery and wheezing and coarseness are heard.
  5. by   tattooednursie
    Smoking? While she was pregnant? Even I have morse sense than that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. by   ShandyLynnRN
    Mandi, you would be surprised. Once smoking is an addiction, it is very hard to quit. Especially for those women who have difficulty seeing their "baby" as such before they can actually lay eyes on him/her. I didn't have that problem, but I know many who have.
  7. by   tattooednursie
    I would never. If I wanted that baby bad enough to make it, I'd want the best for it. I don't want kids actually, so I probably won't have to deal with that. I have heard how hard it is to quit, and I know that I will regret my little habit later in life.
  8. by   Jay-Jay
    Originally posted by FutureRN_Mandi
    I have heard how hard it is to quit, and I know that I will regret my little habit later in life.
    Mandi, dear, I think that "later in life" has caught up with you already. As a rule, healthy young non-smokers do NOT get pneumonia! I know many smokers who have had pneumonia, and decided to quit smoking afterwards. Guess what? They never got it again!

    Something to consider, as you finish your recovery. Hope you can quit NOW before the smoking damages your body any further.

    You're right though, that it usually catches up with you in later years. There were five kids in my mom's family. Three of them smoked, and died of cancer/respiratory problems. The two survivors are my mom, who just turned 90, and her baby sister, who is 83.
  9. by   renerian
    I am on week #35 no smoking and before I quit I had wheezes all the time.

  10. by   CANRN
    Smokers, no matter how young, tend to have 'scattered wheezes throughout'. Many times during report a nurse will say, breath sounds "a smoker's sounds"

    I used to smoke. My Dad died of lung CA in July '95, my sister died this past Sept 8, she was only 47 of lunch CA, My mother was diagnosed with small cell lung ca about six weeks before my sister died. My sister was only 42 when she was diagnosed. The past few years of my life has been consumed with taking people I love to cancer treatments. I have had to take family leave to care for my mother. We just learned this week that her cancer has spread to her spine.

    Renerian, GOOD FOR YOU! I wish you the best! It's amazing how well you feel huh? and I'll bet you smell better too! LOL

    If you smoke, I urge everyone to try to quit, get yourself mentally prepared. Yes, it's hard, but the rewards are so worth it.

    Smoke free for 15 months.
  11. by   researchrabbit
    Originally posted by renerian
    I am on week #35 no smoking

    WAY TO GO!!!!!

  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Congratulatoins to all who have given it up. Best wishes to those trying. It's never too late to try and quit........and it can be done as so many here can tell you!
  13. by   renerian
    CanRN sorry I could not chat with you this morning. I work from home and the phones are ringing which is good!!!!!!!!!I am so sorry cancer has hit your family so very, very hard.


    Last edit by renerian on Jan 30, '03
  14. by   2banurse
    Originally posted by Jay-Jay
    As a rule, healthy young non-smokers do NOT get pneumonia! I know many smokers who have had pneumonia, and decided to quit smoking afterwards. Guess what? They never got it again!

    Although I agree that once you stop smoking, you are less likely to get pneumonia again, but unfortunately once you've had pneumonia there is no guarantee that you won't get it again if you stop smoking. Of course, stop smoking! Just don't expect that you are not still susceptible (sp?) to lung ailments in the future.

    As one who DOES NOT SMOKE, I've had pneumonia over a month ago and due to some of the damage to my lung tissue, I've been having more asthmatic-like conditions. With all the other contaminants in the air (including second hand smoke), it is becoming more difficult to find the best environment to heal your lungs after having pneumonia.