3.26.2008

Here are some pictures of hearts: thought that this might help explain what is going on a little more. First of all, here is a picture of a normal heart. As you can see (you might have to click on the picture to magnify it) blood comes into the right side of the heart (blue to symbolize blood that has had all of the oxygen used up) into the Right Atrium (RA), then gets pushed into the Right ventricle that pumps it through the Pulmonary arteries, and into the lungs. This blood is oxygenated (via lungs), sent back through the pulmonary veins and into the Left aorta and left ventricle. The Left side of the heart then pumps the blood throughout the body.
So in a nut shell the right side of the heart takes blue blood (no oxygen) and pumps to the lungs; and the left side of heart takes the red blood (lots of oxygen) from the lungs and pumps it throughout the body!

Now...for Gracey's heart... The Hypoplastic Left Heart...
Below are a couple of images of basically what Grace's heart would look like. The most obvious difference is the absence of the left pumping chamber. In Grace's heart blue blood from the body comes into the Right side of the heart like normal, and the right side pumps it off to the lungs, but when it comes back it falls right back into the right side of the heart. Obviously this is a rather significant problem...blood never gets sent back to the rest of the body. While Grace was in utero there was a special bridge that all babies have before they are born that connected her right side of the heart to the rest of the body. This makes it so that when blood comes back from the lungs it mixes in the right side of the heart with the blue blood, making purple (partially oxygenated blood) that is then pumped back to both the lungs and through the special bridge to the rest of the body. This special Bridge is called the PDA. In the pictures you can see it near the top connecting the "PA" to the" AO". Normally this bridge will close after birth, and in most babies' cases this is just fine because the left side of the heart pumps to the rest of the body, but in Graces case it would mean serious serious problems. Basically, Grace would die very quickly if the PDA was to close off like it normally does.















The Medication that Grace has been on has kept the PDA open. Today the surgery that she just went through was to make the PAs (the arteries that go from the right side of the heart to the lungs) a little smaller as go off to the lungs so that more blood would be diverted through the PDA to the rest of the body. It seemed to work too, her legs and feet actually felt a little warmer. Tomorrow they will place a little tube (a.k.a. the "stent") in the PDA that will manually keep that open for the time being.
In the end, after tomorrow, Grace's blood will come from the body as blue blood, go to the right side of the heart, get pumped through smaller arteries to the lungs and then sent back to the right side of the heart to mix all up with the blood coming in (purple blood) and then get sent up thought the PDA (thanks to a tube holding it open) to the rest of the body.
That is basically what is happening to grace, as well as I understand it, not the most efficient blood flow (she never really gets "red" blood, just "purple") but it will work for now, and hopefully she can come home and wait for a transplant :-) that will be wonderful, and what we are hoping for at this point.

4 comments:

AJ Finnegan said...

Wow, I can't believe how well you just explained that!! I guess you've heard the info enough to repeat it in Greek, Latin, and Chinese. Or at least, Toph could probably explain it in Korean :)

We have faith as well that these procedures will do their job to hold her up until she gets a new heart. And then, she will be as healthy as any child can be :)

We love her so very much!

Anonymous said...

Wow! That was fast! And, Wow that you could explain all that detail! Thanks!! I know your G'pa gets it, but I didn't! :-)

Just wanted to let you know that we are praying for Gracey and you both! God is cradling her in His arms and loves her SOOOOOO much.

You two are such blessings!!!

We love you all!

G'Pa Chuck & Donna

Mythreesons said...

That was a really great explanation... I've been with you guys for a week and still didn't understand what ductous we were talking about all along... I feel a bit sheepish. I'm glad everything went so smoothly today and am thrilled that you may be holding her within just a couple days. It was such a blessing and honor to be there with her this morning... I love you guys so much and pray for you almost constantly. I will continue praying and know that there's more miracles in there for you guys. You have amazing faith and I love you all so much!

Super Daysh said...

Thanks for the explanation, little Buglet. Very helpful. We are still praying for you guys and hope that all will continue to go well for you. We love you oodles and boodles!