Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Anaemia, CHF, Oedema, Gastric ulcer

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 34 Replies
  • Posted By: abbiesmum
  • October 20, 2008
  • 06:02 AM


I'm hoping someone could shed some light on my symptoms/conditions as I've been ill for almost a year now.

I am a 37 year old female.

In Dec of last year I was admitted to hospital with a Hb level of 2.9, lower limb oedema and heart failure symptoms (presumably from the anaemia).

I was treated with a blood transfusion of 2 units and referred as a day patient to a haemotologist.

From Jan - May I was treated with iron infusions which did not increase my Hb levels to more than 6.0, so I was then given a 'total body dose' of iron (ferritin?) which helped enormously and increased it to 10.5 and then 12.2 (within 3 weeks).

In the meantime (Feb) it was discovered that I had a gastric ulcer of 4-5cm in diameter and I have been taking Omeprazole (initially 40mg, increased to 80mg recently) since. This was not caused by any underlying H Pylori infection.

I have chronic diarrhoea, I vomit almost daily and suffer from extreme nausea. The diarrhoea is being treated by taking coedine phosphate 60mg 4 times daily. I also take Tramadol when the pain is very bad, however, I tend to avoid this as it causes me to sweat profusely.

Over the past 3 months my Hb levels have been falling again (now at 7.5) and I've been suffering from lower leg and ankle oedema, a very swollen abdomen and breathing difficulties when I exert myself. (to the extent that climbing a staircase is fairly laboured for me) This is also especially bad at night and I find it difficult to breathe if I am laying flat.....it is much better for me if I am propped up in bed. It almost feels as if my swollen abdomen (rather than the anaemia!) is causing these breathing difficulties as my diaphragm feels pushed up into my lungs.

Incidently, I was asthmatic as a child, but have had no problems since the age of 16 or so and do not wheeze when I am having these breathing difficulties.

I have had several attempts at further endoscopies which have failed as I have extremely bad veins and any sedation has always been troublesome. I have been unable to tolerate an endoscopy without vomitting profusely and am awaiting a barium meal examination to check on my gastric ulcer.

My haemotologist has now suggested that I have a CT scan and insists that one should have been requested before now. I noticed that she had written that I had an enlarged liver on examination and 'progressive CHF' (I can only find a reference to 'congestive heart failure' if I google this term).

I am due to have a further 'total body dose' iron replacement on Friday of this week and will see the consultant again at this time.

Could anyone shed any light on what they think is wrong? The logical thing for me to do would be to ask, but I'm almost too scared to (if that makes sense!). I feel out of my depth now as I've been to my GP on various occasions and have always been palmed off with 'you have an ulcer and you're anaemic'.

Can anaemia cause heart failure? Should I still have such a large, problematic ulcer after all this time? Or is there possible something more serious wrong with me?

I feel as if I've been ill for such a long time and no end is in sight......any suggestions/possible questions to ask would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Reply Flag this Discussion

34 Replies:

Thanks! A moderator will review your post and it will be live within the next 24 hours.