For those of you who have put our appointments on your calendar, I apologize for not catching you up earlier.
The cardiac catheter procedure was yesterday. We got to the hospital at around 7 a.m. for Charlotte’s bloodwork. As much as I hate having my own blood drawn (total needle-phobe, I am), holding Charlotte for her blood draw was worse. She screamed at the mere idea of being constrained. I actually don’t think the needle bothered her too much because she stopped crying the minute we let her arms and legs go.
We went into the surgical “holding pen” where Dr. Pophal (the cardiac interventionist), Dr. Lahey (the cardiac fellow) and two anesthesiologists walked us through the procedure, risks, etc. Our friend Sam (one of Charlotte’s PICU nurses) got off shift and came to keep us company.
The distraction was welcome–this time we didn’t completely break down when they rolled our sweet girl away.
The procedure took about 4 hours. Charlotte was intubated and put under general anesthesia. Dr. Pophal inserted two catheters and then injected dye so that he could look at her blood flow and pulmonary pressures. To make a long story somewhat shorter, here’s what he found:
–The pressures (TR jets) measured by echocardiogram (bounced sound waves) in August were not as severe when measured directly, but pressure was not ideal either
–The left pulmonary artery measured about 6.5mm and shows now constriction
–The right pulmonary artery (RPA) measured about 4.5mm.
–The RPA also showed a significant restriction at one point, bringing it down to about 2.5mm
Dr. Pophal performed a balloon angioplasty on the RPA to reduce the restriction. Ideally, this should have brought the pressures down immediately, but it did not. On the positive side, the right pulmonary artery and the right lung are at least now receiving the correct amount of blood flow, so hopefully they’ll catch up with the right side.
Charlotte did amazingly well with the anesthesia. They were able to extubate her right away and we sat in the recovery room with her as she shook off the drugs. Charlotte was transferred to the 5th floor for 6 hours of observation. We had another terrific nurse–Julie–who helped us with everything, including (you guessed it) reinserting the NG tube when the little scoundrel pulled it out.
Much to our delight and surprise, Charlotte was released last night and we all slept at home.
Today she’s been lovely, adorable and not happy eating. We’re hoping it’s just left over discomfort from the breathing tube….