I’ll cut to the punch: Charlotte will need open heart surgery to replace her conduit.
I can hear all of you gasping as you read that. We, however, did not gasp. I think we would have been more surprised to hear that she needed only angioplasty based two things: (1) Her last repair was just about 8 years ago and back then the anesthesiologist said he thought we’d have 8-10 years on the conduit they put in; and (2) We both remembered Dr. Gossett telling us that he didn’t think he could balloon a second time. So, this time it was a matter of where the blood flow restrictions are.
The MRI showed restrictions at the proximal point and through the right pulmonary artery (RPA). Given that the current conduit is only 16mm, she has definitely outgrown it. While they replace the conduit, the surgeons may also do some repairs to the RPA, which they did also in 2007. A larger conduit may allow easier interventions in the case of complications down the road. Moreover, she’ll feel better.
We’re hoping to schedule the surgery for the week of February 9 so that part of the recovery period can happen during our February school break (woo hoo). We anticipate 5 to 7 days in hospital and another 1 to 2 weeks at home, followed by restricted activity. Followed by some sort of lovely vacation in April.
Before then we’ll have an exercise test (tomorrow) as a baseline. We’ll follow up with a post-surgical exercise test. There will be other pre-op tests as well, I’m sure. Check back here regularly–the blog is about to get busy again.
It’s been a month since Charlotte has been on a horse, and while she’s not riding right now because she’d like to do the repair first, she’s eager to get back in the saddle. Literally.