I realize I never updated after Lukas' heart cath. My apologies!
The cath itself went far better than we had expected. Lukas did not require the balloon angioplasty. Dr. Hoyer actually said that aside from the stenosis Lukas' conduit is in great shape. While no interventions were necessary, we did learn a few things during the procedure.
1. The veins they would typically use in a leg approach were occluded on both sides, most likely from the trauma of multiple sticks and lines during his time in the NICU and PICU before, during, and after his operation. This forced Dr. Hoyer to use a neck approach, which they will continue to do in future caths.
2. We also found out that Lukas has fairly good sized pulmonary artery branches. Dr. Hoyer mentioned that many times in truncus patients these PA branches can actually be quite small, so when the conduit is placed it is often far larger than the PA branches. During the cath, we found out that Lukas actually has the opposite problem—his conduit is actually too small for his PA branches, which measure 11mm and 16mm. This is good news in that a large conduit will be utilized during his replacement (hopefully not for another year or so).
3. Lukas was quite anemic. Dr. Hoyer explained to us that small blood samples are taken during four different measurements of the heart. In each of these samples Lukas' hemoglobin was only ranging between 6.7 and 6.9. These numbers should be over 10, and closer to 11. So, Lukas is now on a pretty high dose of iron supplementation and we have already seen significant improvements in his coloring, appetite, etc.
Sadly, Lukas did have a bit of a hard time coming out of the anesthesia. He thrashed about for a good 45–minutes before he settled down and fell asleep. Being such a sap, I cried and cried as I whispered in Lukas' ear—telling him it was okay, and that his mama was here now. I rocked him and cradled him close to my heart as he fell fast asleep in my arms. I can't tell you how blessed I felt in those moments with him.
I am just so thankful and happy that our sweet boy is safe and had such a good report. I was also immensely thankful to have such a great support group at the hospital with us. My brother, sister-in-law, nephew, sister, mom, and stepdad were all there helping to keep our mind off of the procedure. Interestingly enough, we sat in the very same waiting room where we waited as a family 2–years earlier during Lukas' first open heart operation. It brought back some very profound memories of my thoughts and feelings as I paced around on that same carpet, nervously waiting for the OR nurse to bring us updates.
We even got an opportunity to see and talk to Dr. Turrentine—Lukas' cardiothoracic surgeon. He couldn't believe how good Lukas looked and how much he had grown. He couldn't wait to read the report from Dr. Hoyer. Before we left, I just had to tell him thank you. I also told him that he did a damn fine job on Lukas. I'm so very thankful for that man. He will never know the depth of gratitude I hold in my heart for all that he did in saving our little boy. He's here with us today because of his love, compassion, time, and talents. Thanks, Dr. T.
I'm hopeful that we can hold off on another open heart operation for a year or so. During our last visit with Dr. Farrell, we were looking at possibly replacing his conduit this coming spring. I am hoping with such a good report from the cath that we are able to put this off a bit longer.
As always, thank you for continuing to think of our sweet little boy and our family. We are very fortunate to have such a strong, healthy little boy. I am always cognizant that things could be very different, and I am so beyond thankful for all that he has brought into my life.