Sunday, February 6, 2011

Little More Info

Here is some information my dad wrote up about what is up with Tanner. It is a little technical, but hopefully everyone can understand....

Little sweet Tanner is on his way up to Primary Children to get his coarctation of the aorta repaired. We have had some concerns about this over the last couple of days but things were not conclusive till this am at which time there was enough concern to do a heart ultrasound and it showed that he did indeed have a coarctation.

A coarctation is a narrowing in the aorta. It usually occurs just below where the blood vessels leave to the head and arms. The normal aorta is about 6 to 7 mm (about the size of a straw in a soft drink) and the narrow area is 2mm (about ½ as thick was a normal piece of spaghetti. This blockage over time would be bad for the part of the body below the arms plus the heart would become tired and go into failure from pumping against the blockage. So it needs to be fixed as a newborn when it is this tight.

During pregnancy blood bypasses the lungs as there is no oxygen there, through a blood vessel called the “ductus arteriosis”. After birth this closes off. Fortunately for babies with coarctations, this vessel enters the aorta about the site of most coarctations so blood actually flows through that for a while and helps out. When that closes off things go down hill. There is medicine (which Tanner is on) which helps keep that open and helping the circulation until there is time to fix the coarctation, (usually surgery though occasionally it can be fixed with a heart catheter and a balloon procedure. ) So he is very stable at this point, and the next step is evaluation by the heart experts at Primary Childrens to decide what method to use to repair this.

This is one of the most common newborn heart related surgeries. The prospects are good, though it is still of course critical.

Hopefully the pictures below will help explain what is going on.

Love you. Pray for little Tanner.

Wayne and Gwen

Here are some pictures. This is a schematic representation of the “ductus arteriosis” that helps blood flow continue to his lower body till the coarctation is fixed. 1 is the coarcation. The red bar represents the “ductus arteriosis” which keeps blood flowing better to his lower body. He also has an opening between the upper chambers and lower chambers of his heart (the white circles). These help now as they help the blood mix so the blood going through the ductus arteriosis has higher oxygen levels. That helps. Things would be ok without that, but it helps. As time goes on these may close off, or may need some attention but for now they don’t seem to be causing concern.

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