Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ask Me Anything: Why did Peeper have open-heart surgery?

Im sorry but I can't remember why Peeper had open heart surgery. I know I must have read it at some point but I can't remember.

Peeper was born with two holes in the wall down the middle of her heart, one between the upper chambers and one between the lower chambers, called an atrial septal defect and a ventricular septal defect.

Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect, and ASD/VSD are the most common congenital heart defects.

The problem is that these holes between the right and left sides of the heart allow blood to backflow to the right side, causing more blood than normal to go to the lungs.

This makes breathing difficult and can impact a baby's growth, because they spend so many calories just breathing.

Most of the time, the holes will close on their own by the time the child is three, but if they don't, they must be repaired surgically, before the pressure causes permanent damage to the lungs.

To decrease the pressure in her lungs while waiting to see if the holes would close, she was on Captopril, which is a blood pressure medication and Lasix, which is a diuretic, from about three weeks old until after her surgery.

By the time she was about three months old, it was obvious that the holes were not getting significantly smaller, so she had surgery to close them, when she was four and a half months old.
The atrial defect was sewn closed and the ventricular defect, which was larger, was patched with Dacron, a silk-like material.

That stopped the backflow immediately, and as soon as she was off the ventilator, she was breathing at a normal rate.

Her recovery went beautifully, and as of a couple of weeks ago, her cardiologist said that if he didn't know better, looking at and listening to her heart, he wouldn't know she'd ever had a problem.

Ask me anything

1 comment:

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