Pulsatile Tinnitus Following Hip Replacement Surgery — A Post-Op Complication?

Discussion in 'Support' started by bluebutterfly55, Jun 18, 2021.

    1. bluebutterfly55

      bluebutterfly55 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hello everyone!

      I am so glad I found Tinnitus Talk! I am currently very worried about my medical situation and want to share my symptoms and how they came about. Hopefully somewhere in this discussion there will be some hint of what or why or how my pulsatile tinnitus has suddenly occurred.

      I am female, age 65. On June 2 I went in for hip replacement surgery for a badly deteriorated hip (osteoarthritis). I also suffer from a neurological disease called CMT. It's a form of muscular dystrophy. I hesitate to even bring that into the discussion because I don't want it to throw anyone off track and think it has something to do with my symptoms, because I frankly do not think it does. But I'm including mention of it anyway.

      The surgery went well, except for one complication with my bloodwork. I had very very high potassium levels post-op which the attending doctor explained to me as being related to blood loss, and the blood cells burst open and flood the bloodstream with potassium. (I probably didn't explain that just right, rather complex science involved). This in turn caused my blood sugar to skyrocket, and they gave me insulin in my I.V. at some point. (I am not diabetic). They also gave me some sort of stuff to drink, maybe a Potassium binding agent? Which brought down the Potassium and I was released from the hospital after an overnight stay.

      My blood pressure during my hospital stay was low. They finally got it up to where they were okay with releasing me.

      I was also given a drug called Toradol (Ketorolac) for pain via I.V. (I'm trying to remember all the meds I was given in case any of them are ototoxic). I'm sure I'm leaving out quite a number of meds but this is the basics.

      Other than the Potassium spike, all went well, I went home and felt fine and looking forward with anticipation to my new hip, which greatly relieved me of the horrible pain I had been in for over a year. Surgery had been delayed due to pandemic.

      I first noticed pulsatile tinnitus after a couple of days at home. I actually thought someone was running a low humming machine outside my bedroom window, and when that didn't make any sense, I thought maybe my air conditioning unit was developing a hum. It was so odd. I turned everything off, including TV and just sat in silence to figure this out. Then I realized the "whoosh whoosh" sound was coming from ME. I was so amazed and freaked and worried about this that I immediately went online to Google it. Within literally about five minutes, I realized my symptoms matched the pulsatile form of tinnitus. I do not have any ringing. It's all whooshing in time with the beat of my heart.

      I could not believe this was happening to me. I've never had any sort of ear problems and I'm positive this whoosh whoosh was not there prior to the surgery. So, the question is: why is it here NOW? My fear is that perhaps my carotid artery was stretched or torn in some way? They always put a breathing tube down the throat of a surgical patient, so I'm wondering if maybe they hyper extended my neck and harmed some neck structures?

      I hear the whooshing in both ears. It's definitely bilateral. Also, I've experimented with pressing on my neck to see if I can stop it, but can't seem to find a spot to press where it makes the whooshing sound stop. Maybe I'm just not pressing in the right area or over the correct structure. The noise can go up or down in intensity depending on my heart rate or my activity level.

      I am so depressed by this. My hip feels great and yet now I have this horrible new condition that I didn't have pre-surgery. My plan for now is to watch it and see if it improves. I have physical therapy for my hip so I want to focus on that 100% and not be going back and forth to a whole new round of specialists. I see my GP in August and if it's not gone by then, will ask for referral to ENT first, as it seems that's the starting place (just to rule out any middle ear fluid). I also think intracranial pressure could be a culprit here also. Does anyone know the link between anesthesia and increase in CSF pressure? I was given a common anesthesia (starts with an "s" , difficult to spell!) but I've had it before so doubt it is a reaction to anesthesia.

      I've had surgeries before and absolutely never had anything like this. It makes me wonder about the Potassium situation, blood loss, etc. Anemia has been suggested as one of the potential causes of pulsatile tinnitus. I will get bloodwork in August to rule it out. A hip replacement is a bigger and bloodier surgery than any I've had in the past. I had spinal surgery about 4 years ago at L4-l5 for cervical disc issues, and had no complications and certainly no pulsatile tinnitus. Therefore, I'm wondering if a larger surgery could impact the intracranial pressure more. The surgery itself lasted about an hour.

      I'm sure I'm forgetting some key elements but will start with these facts for now and hope maybe the wonderful people here can guide me in a direction or share similar post-op scenarios? Thank you for all you do for sufferers of pulsatile tinnitus! I hope I am not going to suffer forever with it!
      • Hug Hug x 1

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