This morning, just like every Friday morning, the heart failure/transplant team met. It is a team of physicians, surgeons, Nurse Practitioners, social workers and more. The CVICU physician that was on over the night, joined them today to add his account of how things went last night.
They decided to recommend the Berlin Heart for Hana. They also approved her to be listed for transplant. Both these things are huge, heavy decisions. The Berlin Heart is a ventricular assist device – basically a pump to help Hana’s heart. It requires major surgery to implant and certainly comes with risks – mostly risk of stroke. With this device they hope that her heart will shrink enough to allow her left lung to inflate again.
Once you get a Berlin Heart you must stay on it until you get a transplant. Once you get a Berlin Heart you can not leave the hospital. They want to implant the heart early next week unless things degrade over the weekend. So what this all means is that Hana will be in the hospital until she recovers from having a heart transplant. Then we will have to live at the Ronald McDonald House for three or more months before we can go home. Once Hana recovers from the Berlin Heart surgery she will be listed as a status 1 on the heart transplant list, meaning they are the first patients on the list to match a heart when one becomes available.
Today Hana is relatively comfortable. She has a bit of a fever and her heart rate is high. They are starting another antibiotic and increasing her milrinone. She is also getting another blood transfusion.
This all weighs very heavily on us and will take some time to process. We have been so amazingly lucky to have so much support. We are so grateful. Now, things feel more fragile than ever. Hana is such a little trooper, she amazes me!