Okay, technically "Seth Goes to Procedure" is more accurate. There are no actual blades or cutting with his angioplasty.
We just met with the doctor and anesthesiologist. The doctor was very informative and we learned some things about a coarctation that made a lot more sense. I'll discuss them below. We took a few pictures of Seth and sent him into the operating room. The procedure is supposed to take around 3 hours "from time he's in our arms 'til time he's in our arms." The anesthesia will be much lighter this time. He'll be recovered in 15 minutes rather than 15 hours.
The doctor told us the reason for Seth's recurrence of his coarctation. (If you're not into detailed medical speak, you can stop reading here). When you're born, your aorta isn't being used. This is because it takes blood to your lungs, which aren't used in the womb. It also takes blood to your lower body, so while the aorta is shut off, you have a temporary valve called the pulmonary ductus artery (PDA) that bypasses the lungs and hooks on later. The PDA is made of elastic material which contracts in the first week of life as the aorta takes over. Coarctation is caused by (we were never told this before) some of that elastic material extending into the aorta. When it contracts, it contracts the aorta causing a narrowing (coarctation).
The surgery that Seth had a few months ago was set to remove that elastic material. The problem is, you can't tell the good stuff from the bad stuff. So the surgeon makes his best guess at what needs to be removed. Apparently, Seth still had some elastic material left in his aorta, so it continued to contract and re-narrowed the aorta. Obviously, it is less severe this time.
Now, we arrive at the angioplasty. They put a small balloon in his femoral artery near the groin, guide it up to the narrow spot, and expand it. The doctor used the word "cut" at this point-- "the balloon cuts into the narrowed material . . ." although I'm not sure how that works. Her explanation is that the wall of his artery is thicker and needs expanding. There is a very minor chance of breaking through the arterial wall, of course, and an even greater chance of having to do this again as Seth grows.
We were also told that if this procedure is unsuccessful, they'll repeat it. If it fails twice, it's back to surgery.
Of course, Seth took all this like a trooper. He was smiling, cooing, and oblivious as they took him into the operating room. We weren't quite so well . . .
|Seth in his hospital outfit. Apparently, they think he's a 2 year-old and not a 2 month-old!|