Thursday, July 12, 2012

Natalie's Cardiac Catheterization

Natalie went in on Monday, the 9th, and Dr. K went in through her right femoral artery and did a cardiac catheterization to reduce the blood flow to her hepatic hemangioma.
We had to check in at Randall Children's Hospital at 8:00am.  Because she had to be NPO for a few hours, I thought she would start getting crabby as it neared the time for her procedure, but she did great!

Getting checked in. All smiles!
Dressed in her little hospital gown.
Anthony's parents spent the day with us, while my parents kept the other three kids.
Granny cuddling with Natalie

It was very difficult to send her off with the anesthesiologist.  I may be a nurse, and I fully trust Dr. K and his team, but it still didn't make it any easier.  The mom in me took over, and I still had to shed a few tears.
The cardiac case manager, Tami, came out every so often and updated us on how things were going.  We were told the cath might only take an hour or so, but they had scheduled her for three hours just in case they needed extra time.  After the first hour, Tami came out and said Natalie was intubated and doing well, but Dr. K hadn't started coiling yet because he was still taking pictures.  We then kinda figured we ought to get something to eat and settle in for a long afternoon.
After another hour had gone by, Tami came out and assured us things were going well; but the hemangioma was so large and vascular, that there were more vessels to coil than Dr. K had originally thought.  He was coiling the 4th vessel, and still wasn't finished with the procedure.
After about 3 1/2 hours, Dr. K came out and told us how the procedure went and gave us pictures.

This was the hemangioma before the coiling (the dark, oblong area).
This is after the cath with the coils.

Dr. K told us she probably wouldn't have made it another couple of months without the cath, and that we should see a huge improvement in her very quickly.
When she woke up from anesthesia she was already like a new baby.  She was screaming and ready to eat!  She had to stay flat, with little movement, for at least 4 hours so the femoral cath site wouldn't bleed.  Once she got to eat finally, she was great!

We stayed overnight on the peds floor and she was on an IV Heparin drip to try and save the femoral artery.  Dr. K said that they used the smallest catheter they had, but it was still a little too big for her artery, and there was a good chance the artery might clot off.  The good news is, in babies and small children, the body creates collateral circulation (develops its own new blood vessels) to perfuse the leg.  The heparin was to try to keep it from clotting off, but only time will tell whether or not the femoral artery is gone.

The great thing about having the procedure done where I work, is that I already know the staff.  Melanie and Tom were our nurses and took great care of us!!
We got to go home yesterday, and Natalie was already showing a huge improvement the first night.  She was too tired to take more than an ounce or two at a time before the cath, and couldn't even stay awake long enough to eat.  That first night, she woke up every 2-3 hours to eat, she was taking 3oz at a time, and staying awake through the whole feed.  She would fuss when we messed with her and get feisty with things she didn't like.  It was great to see!  Dr. K even thought she looked so much better, and took her off of her Lasix and Digoxin- which he originally thought she would need to be on for a couple of weeks past the procedure.  The only med she came home on was 1/2 of a baby Aspirin daily to see if we could preserve the femoral artery.
God is so good!!! We are so thankful that he has kept his hand on our little girl, watched over her through her procedure, and is helping her get better so quickly! Also thankful for Dr. K and his team for taking such good care of Natalie and us.

Discharged and getting ready to go home.

Home!! Napping in Daddy's arms.
So alert and loving to eat!

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