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ds grunting when breathing. Rapid laboured breathing. V worried

(30 Posts)
MommyD Tue 21-Dec-04 13:32:05

ds2 is 16 months old. he was taken into hosp last thursday because of suspected respiratory distress - continual grunting and laboured breathing. He stopped as soon as we got to hosp. His blood oxygen was low. They ventilated him and we went home. Took him back Friday as he started it again. Got to hosp and he stopped (again!). They said he had no chest infection and he had to just get over it.
It is now Tuesday - he is still grunting, rapid breathing, tired, not sleeping, not eating, seems hot but no temp. Calpol makes him cheer up a bit. Sometimes he is absolutely fine, smiling and interested, then suddenly it hits him again and he is not the baby I know.
What would you do? At hospital they make me feel like a neurotic mother as he seems fine when he gets there, but I am so unhappy with this grunting on every breath. The only time he doesn't do it is when he is asleep.

Any ideas what it could be? Just a virus?

lockets Tue 21-Dec-04 13:33:42

Message withdrawn

lockets Tue 21-Dec-04 13:34:13

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ChristmasCracker Tue 21-Dec-04 13:34:21

Has he had a chest x-ray MommyD ???

StuffTheMagicTurkey Tue 21-Dec-04 13:39:02

Yes, a chest x ray with nothing untoward found would have put my mind at rest.

PreggieMum Tue 21-Dec-04 13:41:06

I personally would trust your instincts and take him back to the hospital if you feel that he's still not right. It's far better to be safe than sorry IMO and it's wrong for the hospital to make you feel like a neurotic mother as a mother knows her child best.

No ideas what it could be though.

ChristmasCracker Tue 21-Dec-04 13:42:07

Yes i think perhaps i would insist on an x-ray to put your mind at rest. Both Dd2 and Ds have been in hospital before with similar symptoms and have always been given a chest x-ray just to rule things out.

MommyD Tue 21-Dec-04 13:45:06

No - he wasn't given a chest x-ray. As he seemed fine when we were in the hospital (both times), perhaps they thought it unnecessary. How can I INSIST on an x-ray? What would they be looking for - fluid?
What's croup - he had bad, bad, bad bronchiolitis this time last year.

AMerryScot Tue 21-Dec-04 13:52:16

My DD gets a viral wheeze (first time when she was 15 months). The local hospital will keep her in if her SATs are below 94% or breathing rate >50bpm. The reason for being in hospital is in order to get oxygen.

There's a big difference between upper respiratory problems (URTI and stridor) and chest problems (accessory breathing and recession). If upper respiratory, you can try to see if steam helps; but if the problem is lower down, the child probably needs tohave some muscle relaxants (ventolin) and oxygen.

Trust your instincts. You will not be made to seem foolish at the hospital, and you'll be seen straight away.

Earlier in the year, I hummed and hawed about DD's breathing before finally taking her to the hospital - she was unconcious when we arrived and needed a lot more treatment than if I had taken her earlier in the day.

ChristmasCracker Tue 21-Dec-04 13:54:05

If it was croup he would be making a sort of barking noise when he coughed, it is quite distinctive.

An x-ray wouold just be looking for any signs of infection. They are probably right and there probably isn't any, vbut IMO they should do one just to rule it out.

Unfortunatly the only way to insist on an x-ray is to tell them you are still concerned about him and are not leaving until they do one.

You know you said his blood oxygen was low, can you remeber what it was ??

ChristmasCracker Tue 21-Dec-04 13:55:38

I agree with Amerryscot , we ummed and arred about taking Dd2 once and within munites of us being there she was very very poorly and it turned out she had pneumonia.

LIZS Tue 21-Dec-04 13:55:49

Croup is more associated with a persistent barking cough during which they find it hard to catch their breath. Often worse at night. Steam and inhalers can ease the symptoms but it is viral.

I was wondering if it could be a recurrence of the bronchiolitis or perhaps a susceptibility to chestiness and wheezing triggered by a virus, change in temperature or humidity of the air around him etc. They can test for it though so perhaps give the hospital a call and ask if they can check him over again.

AMerryScot Tue 21-Dec-04 13:56:49

Croup is an upper respiratory problem. The airways swell in reaction to a virus (usually a cold), and they produce what is called stridor on breathing. This is the classic "barking cough". It's not usually serious, and you relieve the symptoms at home using steam (in the bathroom in an emergency, or using a steam machine in the bedroom. It usually a nighttime condition.

In a bad case (high respiratory rate and recession of the skin between the ribs on breathing in), you can get relief by using a Ventolin nebuliser (either at your GP or hospital).

ChristmasCracker Tue 21-Dec-04 13:56:52

When he breathes is he pulling his stomach in sharply at all ?? sort of in and up under his ribs ??

MommyD Tue 21-Dec-04 13:57:52

Blood oxygen 80 on Thursday on admission to hosp. Crept up to 85. They said it was like this because of the cold. Nebulised and got it to 95
Friday it was 93 and the doctor said he was fine and let us go. Not really anywhere near 100

AMerryScot Tue 21-Dec-04 13:58:03

Like Christmascracker, my DD had pneumonia which we didn't know about, and this is what made her go downhill so quickly.

AMerryScot Tue 21-Dec-04 13:59:28

MommyD, our hospital would have kept you in at 93% (believe me, I have begged to be let out).

MommyD Tue 21-Dec-04 14:00:10

Off to see if his doctor can see him now....back later

ChristmasCracker Tue 21-Dec-04 14:01:07

Goodness yes Ds was kept in at 94% so i am surprised they let you out.


Good luck, hope you get it sorted.

StuffTheMagicTurkey Tue 21-Dec-04 14:03:47

good luck, you're his Mum and YOU know best . I'd be doing the same, just to be very sure.

AMerryScot Tue 21-Dec-04 14:05:49

Sats of 80% is a sign that the body is shutting down any unnecessary function. It's far more important to get the oxygen to the major organs than it is to the fingers or toes.

PreggieMum Tue 21-Dec-04 16:53:03

Did you manage to get to see the doctor? How is your ds now?

Blu Tue 21-Dec-04 17:17:23

Since it seems to start at home and wear off in hospital is there a chance that he could be allergic to something at home? Cats? the Christmas Tree?
My brother used to get wheezing and asthma attacks and couldn't breathe if an allergy set him off. Also, laughing too much. (we had to take him to the hospital for oxygen twice after watching 'The golden Silents' on a Sunday afternoon). Could it be any of this?

singersgirl Tue 21-Dec-04 17:48:03

Yes, take him back. Those sats are very low to be let out - he sounds like he needs regular nebulization and oxygen. It sounds like viral wheeze (asthma by any other name, but they don't like to call it that here if the child's under 4, I think). DS2 (now 3.3) was hospitalised with bronchiolitis at 9 weeks, and then developed viral wheeze with every cold from 13 months. He's been hospitalised twice and, as we were living in Singapore, has a home nebuliser which has kept him out of hospital on numerous other occasions. Take him back - they can deteriorate pretty quickly (not to frighten you, but my son's first hospitalisation was a real wake-up call - I had let him get so bad that he needed hourly nebulisers for the first 3 hours, 2 hourly after that for 12 hours, and he had been having four hourly Ventolin puffers plus inhaled steroids). Good luck - trust your instincts!

MommyD Tue 21-Dec-04 18:32:36

Didn't take him to the doctor - we made the decision to go and then he once again became his old self again. Smiling, running round the house and into everything. He has been fine all afternoon - we had given him calpol 20 mintues earlier. I couldn't face another doctor thinking that it is all in my imagination.
I find it hard to believe that calpol should make all the difference. After 20 minutes he is a different child with no grunting and rapid breathing. My Mum says he is just grunting like that as part of the temperature that he appears to have. If he had a chest infection (which I have been told twice that he doesn't) then capol surely would not have such a profound effect?

He is now sitting on my lap babbling away and ready for bed. I am going to see how he is tomorrow. I am completely bemused - fine one minute (for hours at a time) and then a different, sickly child the next minute, grunting and breathing rapidly.

Any other ideas?

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