Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Very Sick Little Heart

**Warning! Once again, this post contains graphic images of a human heart. Don't look if you get queasy!**

The pathologist came to visit us today. He sat down with us and showed us the anatomy of Christopher's old heart, and after talking to him and a few other doctors, it is clear that from a medical standpoint, there is no reason for this little boy to still be alive. This is me holding his little heart. The blue arrow is pointing to a valve in the pulmonary artery that comes off the heart. The red arrow is pointing to his aorta, and the complete lack of a valve. I looked very closely and I could see a tiny little fiber that used to connect the valve, but any other evidence that there was once a valve there was gone. For those of you who don't know what this means, I'll make it as simple as I can. When blood is pumped out to the body through the aorta, the aortic valve closes to allow some of that blood to flow through the coronary arteries, thus feeding the heart muscle itself. There is nobody in this hospital who can figure out how his heart was getting any blood. In other words, he should have suffered from a major heart attack. Go ahead and try to tell me that God doesn't still perform miracles! Obviously, there is a purpose to Christopher's still being alive.
Here's a comparison of his ventricles. On the top is the hypoplastic (extremely small) left ventricle. The actual chamber is smaller than the tip of my finger. In a healthy heart, this is the bigger chamber, as it is the one that pumps the blood to the entire body. On the bottom is the right ventricle. Quite a bit bigger!
This last picture was hard to take with an unwilling baby. He just wanted to play! Your heart is roughly the size of your fist. This is a comparison of Christopher's fist to his old heart. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the heart looks to me to be about twice the size it should be. That's happens with heart failure.
I had to include a cute picture to finish the post. Christopher and his daddy. These boys just adore each other. It sure makes my heart happy to have moments like these! We are so grateful to still have our son.