Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stella's Heart, Part Two

Well this morning we went to the cardiologist. Yes it took that long to get in, for record her echo was March 16th so it took two months to get in to see this pediatric cardiologist. I think it was worth the wait though because I really liked the doctor a lot.
So we went in and they did her blood pressure, heart beat, weight and height and then we did an EKG with the nurse. Thankfully it was very fast and Stella actually cooperated (which she normally does not ). The cardio came in and listened to her heart and she can definitely hear a large murmur so asked me to explain more about why we were there.
I told her that Stella had a bad bout of allergies/cold and we took her to the pedi where they heard her murmur for the first time and sent us for the echo. The results of the echo seemed to say there was a small opening on the left side of her heart so we were referred to her. The cardio hadn't gotten her echo results which is why she was questioning how we ended up there. They got the echo results sent over super fast and she went over those.
Essentially Stella has been diagnosed with PDA which is Patent Ductus Arteriosus. Here is a good link about it....http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/...eartworks.html

Basically there is a blood vessel in the heart that allows the mothers lungs to function for the baby while the baby is in the womb. It should close after birth or within a few weeks. Stella's has not closed...as she has gotten older it has caused her murmur to become quite noisy and it is also causing the left side of her heart to enlarge. Now the good things are that hers is measuring 4mm, which is not a HUGE emergency size opening and her heart enlargement is still mild to moderate at this point. It isn't causing any other health problems at this point but it does need to be addressed.
The question is a matter of when and how. Because Stella is a lightweight at 19 pounds they would ideally like to wait until she gets a bit bigger. The cardio would prefer to see her around 25 pounds before they proceed with surgery but said if we needed to we could do it at her current size...obviously bigger=safer for going under anesth and any surgery on an infant.

We have 2 options for surgery, traditional surgery through the chest which we want to avoid, OR a much easier option for recovery would be a surgery using catheter. The cardio definitely wants to go that direction which we are thankful for.

Basically they will do a tiny knick in her groin and feed a catheter up to her heart and them put a Amplatzer Duct Occluder into that blood vessel to close it off. Here is the link about the device. http://international.amplatzer.com/I...1/Default.aspx

It's a tiny mushroom shaped pc that goes into that opening and helps close it off as the blood clots there.

Sooooooooo overall we are happy that Stella isn't having any other problems associated with the PDA and that we did catch it and can take care of it. I hate that she has to have ANY kind of surgery but I am glad we have an option besides a traditional chest entry.

At this point we will do another echo in June to monitor her heart enlargement and the opening. If at that point her heart is continuing to enlarge or there are any big changes we may go ahead with the surgery then. If everything is holding steady we will wait til Sept/Oct to try and get some more weight on her before we go in for surgery. Cardio said she avoids any surgeries during the winter so we will be making a decision in the fall (provided everything stays about the same) whether to do it before winter or waiting through the winter and doing it in the spring just to avoid illnesses/germs/etc.

Thanks for everyone for praying and thinking of our girl. We know that she will be fine and we are grateful for modern medicine that makes it possible to take care of it through a minor procedure versus a major surgery! Keep praying that her measurements and enlargements hold steady so we can get her fattened up before surgery.

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