Cardiac Cath Update

Charlotte came through her procedure with flying colors. She did very well with anesthesia and spent the early evening resting and staring into space. This was a great improvement over the delirium tremors and other responses to anesthesia. We were able to bring her home late Monday night.

Dr. Pophal told us that the catheter confirmed the restriction in the Right Pulmonary Artery (RPA). He was able to alleviate the restriction with a balloon angioplasty procedure, reducing the restriction from severe-to-moderate down to moderate. He remains concerned, however, because the ratio of blood flow to the left and right lungs is still quite uneven. Because of the RPA restriction, the left lung is receiving more volume and velocity of blood flow. This puts Charlotte at greater risk for pulmonary disease. Finally, her pulmonary valve (the homograft) leaks quite a bit (it has since the chyllus efflusion episode in May 2005).

Bottom line? Charlotte’s heart team will confer at the cardiac conference on Monday, 12/18. Dr. Pophal suspects (and we agree) that they will recommend we schedule her second open heart surgery. Perhaps in 3 months, perhaps in 6.

I have a huge lump in my throat as I write this. We have known, of course, that the second surgery was coming. And given that she was 5.25 lbs. at the first surgery and is now 25 lbs., it’s not surprising that the surgery will be soon. But, we’ve been able to pretty much ignore the fact that she’s a heart patient up until now. Reality has officially smacked me in the face this week.

As for Charlotte–she was a living doll throughout the whole day. In pre-op, she sat on her bed and colored. Then she played with the LPN’s stethoscope for 20+ minutes. This was particularly amazing because she usually breaks into tears at the sight of a stethoscope. She liked this LPN (Ana Maria) so much that she blew her tons of kisses, too.

Just before they took her for the procedure, Charlotte started crying (it was nap time and she hadn’t eaten in 12 hours). She very clearly said, “I want mommy” and “I want my mommy.” So, once again, we have a developmental breakthrough in pre-op. (The last one was the appearance of her first tooth as we waited for her g-tube procedure.)

p.s. I had some amazing pictures of Charlotte from pre-op and post-op, playing with the stethoscope, smiling at Ana Maria and posing with Dr. Pophal. Somehow, they have disappeared off my media card. My digital woes continue.

1 thought on “Cardiac Cath Update

  1. This is my first visit and though I usually don’t read long posts, I skim them, I read every word of this one. At one point my husband and I had a sick child/medical procedure to deal with around the holidays and I remember feeling that the rest of the world was going along on its way why our world was falling apart. The idea of a child having a “cardiac team” is a sobering thing. You seem pretty strong and Charlotte sounds as brave as they come. Lots of good wishes for you and your family.

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