This post is for the benefit of my very curious and, for the most part, medically-minded family. While my mom was here she found these information sheets on the surgeries they will perform to "fix" Christopher's heart, and she thought they were interesting, so I thought I would share them. They are kind of hard to see, so if you're really curious there is a great animation of everything here.The top picture on this one shows a typical hypoplastic left heart. The doctor drew on it as he was showing me how everything works. Notice that the left ventricle is not formed, and the aorta is very small. The next picture shows what they did during the first procedure. They open up the pulmonary artery and the aorta and connect them in order to make a bigger aorta, then they put in a shunt to get blood from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery in order for the lungs to get some oxygenated blood. When the procedure was first done, the BT shunt (colored in red on the bottom picture) was the standard. The other option nowadays is the Sano, which is the black tube drawn in by the doctor. That is the one that they did on Christopher because the doctors at Primary Children's believe that kids who get a Sano shunt "just do better." Our cardiologist told us that it's a little scary because it cuts into their only good ventricle, but that the kids who have this type of shunt typically survive illnesses better than those with the BT shunt. I was glad that we didn't have to make the decision! The other thing they do during the first procedure is they "core out" the atrial septum in order to allow the blood to mix freely. Now there is one big atrium and one ventricle.
Here is the information on Stages II and III. We have been told to be prepared for Christopher to have some nasty headaches after the second stage because the blood from the brain goes directly to the lungs, and when he cries and it backs up into the brain, it hurts! Those babies come out of surgery basically sitting up so that gravity can help with this. Stage III is not technically "open heart," and I think there is actually a catheter procedure being developed to do it, but I'm not sure of that. I guess we'll find out in a few years!
Here are his battle wounds. All of the holes in his stomach are from the chest tubes and drains. The patch on his neck is where they had an internal jugular IV, and the gauze next to his belly button is where the PD catheter (a drain in his abdomen) was.
When Matt and I went in on Tuesday night we saw this list on the board and we were amazed. Christopher was getting better pretty slowly, so to see so much get done it one day was fantastic. Now I will translate it for you. They gave him more blood, started a new peripheral IV, discontinued his heparin, pulled out the drain in his stomach, pulled out the line that was in his heart, pulled out the internal jugular IV, pulled out the arterial line in his right wrist, got him off of the milrinone (that was helping his heart when he was so swollen and they were trying to get more fluids off of him), and did a complete echocardiogram to make sure everything was working how it should be. The completion of this list means he is ready to get out of the cardiac ICU!
This is what his IV tree looked like on Tuesday night. Compare it with the one in the pictures right after his surgery to see the huge difference. And the pump that's sideways is my milk, so that doesn't even count! When I went to see him yesterday he was only on lipids, so there were even fewer pumps. It's so fun to see him get better so quickly!
Being extubated and free of any drains meant I got to hold him again. It was SOOOO nice! I don't know if I'm ever going to get anything done when he comes home, because I don't know if I will be able to put him down. I know he looks a little blue in this picture, but that's just because of the lighting. His color really is pretty good. Just another FYI for the curious, after the first surgery the oxygen saturation is supposed to be between 75 and 85%, so the babies typically are a little bit pale or blue and it's normal.