On Friday morning while I was working, Kristen and my mother-in-law, Karen, went to visit the boys in the hospital. When they arrived home, Kristen said Dr. Tran wanted to talk to us as Sammy’s taken a step backwards. So I wrapped up a couple more meetings and raced to the hospital.
Dr. Tran said that Samuel was having bigger issues with his heart. The right side was pumping much harder. She had ordered an ultrasound and an echo, and two cardiologists had reviewed the echo. The verdict? Sammy’s PDA has grown! And she wanted to send him to another hospital for surgery!
If you recall, a PDA is Patent Ductus Arteriosis connects the two major arteries in the heart. The American Heart Association has a nice write-up on PDA’s if you’re interested in reading more. Samuel’s PDA was treated with Indomethacin several weeks ago and it shrunk it pretty good. However the doctors always said it wan’t closed and it could be redirecting blood that is meant for other parts of the body.
It seems that on Thursday or early Friday, the partial closure of the PDA lost its closure, and it got bigger. That means more blood was flowing to his lungs instead of flowing to other parts of his body. His lungs are getting saturated, like a sponge, and they’re working extra hard. Medicine won’t help at this stage of his development and all that’s really left is surgery.
The surgery is pretty straightforward. I’ve watched it on Youtube and the entire procedure takes 10 or 15 minutes. If you’re interested, here’s a video of another PDA closure from Miami Children’s Hospital about 7 years ago.
They say it takes longer to prep and scrub in than the surgery itself. It’s a dangerous procedure in that Samuel will need to be put under, and he’ll need a breathing tube inserted down his throat.
So with our consent Dr. Tran called the Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA and they sent an ambulance to take Samuel. I couldn’t ride with him, but we met up with him a bit later. The transport crew showed up, packed him up and took him away. We thought the surgery would take place today or tomorrow, but after he arrived they said he’s tentatively scheduled for the operation on Tuesday or Wednesday. It will be solidified on Monday.
Once the surgery is completed, he’ll need to stay for at least a couple days to stabilize and begin recuperation.
There’s no guarantee that this will cure all Samuel’s problems. His lungs are still in dire need of growth and maturing, so they may give him some other pulmonary treatment. One doctor even told us he may get some sildenafil citrate to help with his hypertension. (In case you don’t recognize the name sildenafil citrate, you may recognize it’s other name: Viagra.)
We hope Sammy is moved back to Walnut Creek because there’s a significant difference in NICU. It’s clear we’ve been at a 5-star facility with a private room, ability to bring in anybody we choose, etc. Oakland is a fine facility, and very well respected, but there’s no private room, we can only name four people to a list of visitors, and that list can’t change ever, it’s in a sketchy part of town, etc. It’s just not as nice, but as long as the care is up to standard, then who cares?
Karen will go home after a week of helping out, and my Dad and Melinda are coming out on Sunday to stay with us for a week and help with Jacob, since he can’t go with us to Oakland either. Plus I’m sure my dad will enjoy time with his grandsons.
Keep Sammy in your thoughts and prayers. This boy needs some good news soon, and he’s going to be a fat kid with all the ice cream I’ve promised him for getting better quickly!