For the last week the team of nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors have been more closely following the deposits in Hana’s pump. I realize using the word “pump” is a little confusing especially since it is both a verb and a noun. The Berlin Heart is both the Ikus (air compressor and computer) and the external “chamber” of the heart through which you can physically see blood moving. It is the latter part, the chamber, where deposits collect and clots may form. They decided that an “area of deposits” had caused enough discussion that it was time to change out the pump (chamber).
If a large deposit or clot were to break off from the walls or valves of the pump chamber than that could cause Hana to have a stroke. This is obviously very serious. Usually by now they have already changed out the pump but somehow Hana made it 110 days with the original pump that was implanted.
When Hana’s surgeon was done with his transplant surgery he came up to the floor where we were getting ready. We had moved a bunch of stuff out of the room to make room for carts and equipment. They had certain drugs and blood on hand downstairs in the CVICU in case we needed to go down there. We moved the position of the crib and they set up a sterile field next to it.
Hana had to have her arms and legs tied down with restraints. I put on the iPad and let her watch Rachel And The Trerschoolers. Everything was set up. The surgeon scrubbed down the cannulas with betadine. They unhooked her from the Ikus and hand pumped. Then the surgeon cut ties holding the pump on and clamped the cannula. He put the new pump on, which was filled with saline, and the OR person (surgical nurse, I’m guessing) put the new ties on while Hana’s bedside nurse hand pumped. The actual procedure time was only a couple of minutes.
Hana did lose the 15mL of blood that was in the old pump. Some of it did flow out and over the sterile cloth and onto her diaper and legs. I requested to have the pump when they are done with it (they examine the deposits). I think it will be great for Hana to be able to have it some day.
Hana did great during the whole thing. There was one point where she squirmed, when the surgeon had blocked her view of the iPad! She just seemed so relaxed! It was really interesting to watch the surgeon at work since this is the only scenario in which I would have that opportunity. He was great. Serious, down to business, very clear on who is doing what. He is quick and moves on. He seems very busy and does not linger. It seems really nice that we do not have to go to the OR for the procedure. We don’t even have to go to the CVICU.
Everything went well. They monitored Hana for 30 minutes after the procedure. Then we hung out, had some lunch and then a nap. In the afternoon Hana and I had some visitors which included some older boys but they were really great with her and she loved their company!
Overall, it was a good day!
128 days in the hospital, 110 days post-Berlin heart, 102 days on the transplant list.