Monday, March 15, 2010

Luna’s Stage Three Open Heart Repair has been scheduled.

Luna at Panera Bread on her 2nd birthday; where she ditched her kiddie meal in favor of Mama's Broccoli Cheddar soup.

I had planned on posting about Luna’s 2nd birthday and her subsequent wellness appointment with her pediatrician when I got The Call from Children’s Hospital Boston.

If you ever wondered how these surgeries work; a liaison from the cardiac department calls and gives you the dates and logistics of your child’s upcoming appointments.

We had known all along that Luna would be going in for her sedated echocardiogram and (exploratory) cardiac catheter. What I didn’t know is that her Fontan surgery-last in the series of three surgeries to repair single ventricle anomalies-would be scheduled the Monday after Luna is discharged from her catheter.

So, this is what we’re looking at:

Wednesday, April 28th we’ll arrive at the brisk hour of 7:30 am to Boston for a day of catheter pre-tests, blood work, chest X-Rays and an EKG.

The next day Luna will undergo two exploratory procedures so her medical team can acquire two-dimensional and three-dimensional photos and live footage of her heart and arteries, both from the inside and outside of her body; these being the catheter and echocardiogram. For these procedures the young kids are fully anesthetized (there’s just no reasoning this kind of procedure to a two-year old-and adult can lay still for hours on end, not so much with a toddler).

Because she will be under general anesthesia she will stay the night for observation and be discharged the next day; Friday April 30th.

And here comes the surprise: Luna will then be admitted Monday May 3rd for her Fontan surgery.

It should be noted that the Fontan doesn’t pose any greater risk for her than either of her prior surgeries. The recovery is expected to be about a week. While the age of the Fontan kids (typically two-to-four-years-old) is better than the earlier surgeries in some respects (bigger, stronger, immune system has had time to beef-up), we’re still talking toddlers here. And just their developmental age-the stubborn phase-can keep them in the hospital a day longer. (for a good and easy-to-read-and-understand written description on the Fontan, click here.)

When I asked Luna’s cardiologist if there was any risk with having the surgery right on the heels of the catheter, she said “absolutely not.” Logistically it can be easier for the families as well, which can be summed up like this: let’s get this done and behind us-and all at once please.

There is a chance the surgery could be pushed back a week or so; and that depends upon who her medical team is made up of. Her lead surgeon and one of the most seasoned and senior of the cardiac department left to take another opportunity at Columbia Hospital. But thank goodness we’re talking Children’s Boston here, so there are a handful of other just as senior surgeons who will operate. (The rarity of her anatomy, especially her dextrocardia and ‘mirror imaged’ heart placement can and does keep even the senior surgeons on their toes-but I imagine because of her ‘uniqueness’ she does draw top talent who come across such special anatomy only a handful of times in their career).

So, for now it’s a go. Luna’s primary cardiologist here in New Hampshire will get back to us on who Luna’s dream team will be; and from there it’s on to the next leg of the journey.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Good luck! We're pulling for Luna at the me&thee!