Happy 2nd Birthday Baby Brandt!

Happy 2nd Birthday Baby Brandt!
Busy as can Be--2 Years Old!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Before/After Norwood Procedure

So it's hard to go from this...(pre-surgery)

...to our sweet boy paralyzed and hooked up to all manner of wires and tubes.

BUT... from the point that they paged us to let us know that Brandt was off the heart and lung machine, we have not been able to even keep up with his tremendous progress. The surgery itself went smoothly. Dr. Bradley said they had to take the aorta repair very slowly, but he was pleased with the outcome. Brandt's only complication had been a drop in O2 sats on the way back to PCICU. They were checking to make sure no stenosis of the new shunt was taking place . . . this is a high risk anytime from the first surgery, really until after the second surgery. Stenosis is a narrowing of the shunt, and can block the body's only flow of oxygen to the lungs. But his echocardiogram showed good flow and no stenosis, so they felt the 02 drops were due to his body's adjustment to the restricted flow of oxygen, an expected result of the surgery. Before surgery nothing prevented the mix of blood with his ductus arteriosus open, so his 02 saturation levels were running high, between 90 to 100. Afterwards, the flow is directed with just the one shunt, and normal saturations until the second surgery (called the Glenn procedure) are expected to be between 75 to 85, sufficient for a baby's survival and growth.

Glenn prayed with the surgeon and his team to thank God for the results before we got to see Brandt again--we were both so excited to know he had come through safely. Glenn practically danced a victory jig, and had to be restrained from bear hugging everyone in the ICU as we came in to see our little Super B.

I had read about and seen pictures of all the vents, tubes, pumps, swelling and sundry medication pumps to expect, but the hardest thing for me was actually the fact that he was so very still. His swelling was much better than expected, but the paralyzing drugs were still in effect, his only movement a slight rise and fall of his chest. From this point forward though, Brandt started to defy everything the doctors told us to expect, in such a way we could only attribute it to God's miraculous work in his body through modern medical technology. We have been completely impressed with the cardiac team here. Drs and nurses work together very well, with Dr. Bradley having final say in pretty much everything having to do with "his" heart babies, but in predicting what we should expect, they have been "off" in a good way:-) For example, they told us:

  • "His blood pressure meds are unusually low, we will almost certainly have to increase them during the night" -- they actually DECREASED them during the night.

  • "He will have a '12-hour slump' with decreased o2 sats" -- I called in 12 hours and sats were steady.

  • "His kidney function is great . . . but we will have to increase his lasix to help him pee by tomorrow" -- they DECREASED the lasix during the night.

  • "His swelling will be worse tomorrow when you get here, his eyes may be swollen shut" -- his coloring AND swelling were even BETTER by the next morning!

  • "Furthermore Dr. Bradley will not even discuss closing his chest until Day 2"--but the very night of the surgery, Dr. Bradley had said at 10pm when he called to check sats -- if "trunk edema" (torso swelling) was still that low and schedule permitted, he would close his chest Day 1 post surgery!

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