Thursday, August 30, 2007

Transposition of the Great Arteries

Now I am not an expert but I will try and explain how I understand what was wrong with Jack's heart. Jack's pulmonary artery was connected to the left ventricle and his aorta was connected to the right ventricle. In Jack's body the blood was being pumped from the lungs into the left ventricle then back to the lungs because of the switched artery. The right ventricle received oxygenated blood from the body and pumped through the aorta and back out to the body again. There was basically two separate systems running in his heart. This inhibited the oxygenated blood from the lungs and the oxygenated blood from the body from mixing. This will probably explain it better.
Normally the PDA closes at birth allowing the new babies lungs to oxygenate their own blood, Jack was given a medicine called prostiglandins that allowed this hole to remain open so some of the blood could mix. Mixing of the blood was also facilitated by a hole between the right and left ventricle (VSD) and through a hole between his two atria (ASD) that allowed for the blood to mix as well. Because of the holes in his heart he avoided being ventilated prior to surgery. This meant great things for us as we were able to hold and love him before the surgery knowing we wouldn't have this chance until after he recovered from his surgery. Through the series of echo cardiograms that the doctors did to understand his heart as well as they could they discovered that the bend in his aorta caused it to be too narrow for blood to consistently pass through. It was shaped similar to a candy cane and Dr. Hawkins had the job of widening the passage. Obviously this complicated the surgery even more, however, Dr. Hawkins is an aggressive surgeon and opted to do the switch of the aorta and pulmonary artery, correct the arch in the aorta, patch the hole between the ventricles and the atria, and close the pda in one operation. We were told that with these complications the operation could easily be drawn out over 3 or 4 different surgeries but that Dr. Hawkins wanted to go in and correct everything and be done. Thank goodness for a competent and confident surgeon who specializes in these procedures and has become one of the best in the country. At every turn through this experience we have felt the Lord's hand in Jack's life and his sweet spirit comforting our heavy hearts.

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