The Cardiac Catheterization

Last week we went into the hospital for my son’s second Cath procedure.  The doctor was unsure if we would only be there a few hours or if we would be there overnight so I packed a big backpack with clothes and books and tablets and water bottles and toys.

We had to wake up really early in the morning (5am to be exact).  Since he was going under anesthesia he wasn’t allowed to have any solid food after midnight and could only have clear fluids up until 5:30am.  I woke him up early to give him apple juice and then we sat around cuddling for a while.

We took off to the hospital at 6 and I sang to him the whole way over.  I have to admit that my thoughts ran along the lines of “What if he knows he won’t come out of the anesthesia this time and that is why he is being so cuddly?”  But I kept reminding myself that he would be fine. I trust God, I trust the surgeons.

SelfieaUpon arrival he received a super cute stuffed dinosaur and we oogled their fish tank.  We were taken back to change and prep and he was hooked up to all the wires. We had our briefing from the anesthesiologist (dude, is it just me or are the doctors getting younger?  This guy looked like he could be my little brother…) and the doctor who would perform the procedure as well as our cardiologist.

Two things were added last minute- he was eligible to participate in a medical study involving a new device that is used to measure pressures in the heart.  It sounded like a good cause with no risk so we went for it.  The doctors also decided to put a scope down his throat to perform an internal echo-cardiogram.  This added another 15 minutes or so to the procedure but gave even better views of the heart to be used later.

He was completely out of it for a few hours. This pic isn’t the most flattering but it shows exactly what he was going through.

Once he came out of the surgical room we were taken to the PICU while he came out of anesthesia.  Kids in the range of 2-5 years old deal with what the nurse called emersion (they are emerging from the anesthesia and spell check will not like any way that I spell that, its not a real word…), the feeling of being drunk or high.  Its disorienting and can be hard to handle.  He also was very nauseous and at one point dry heaved quite a bit.  I was glad when that was over because he looked miserable.

It took him about an hour to feel well enough to be moved back to the cath lab recovery room where we literally just sat and cuddled for several hours.  I could tell when he was finally back to normal because he suddenly sat up with a broad grin and started demanding crackers.  He scarfed 4 full graham crackers and two apple juice cups and was still requesting more when we left.

He had one cath line into his neck and one in his groin. He was stuck on both sides of his groin but they couldn’t get in the first time. So he came home with three huge bandages like in the picture.

He fell asleep on the way home, ripped his neck bandage off the next morning, wanted extra cuddles all weekend, and now has a beautiful nasty green bruise on his neck where the cath line went in.

Overall, the doctors were very optimistic about what they found.  He didn’t have any extra veins or arteries that had grown in to replace the cut ones (did you know they even did that?), his pressures were perfectly where they need to be, they got the extra heart pictures they needed to rule out a four chamber repair instead of the Fontan procedure as well.

I’m glad nothing went wrong.  Its reassuring for when the next surgery comes up in about 2 months.

3 thoughts on “The Cardiac Catheterization

  1. My son gets cardiac caths every 3 months or so. They check pressures and biopsy his transplanted heart. I TOTALLY get the horrible feeling of not being able to feed them for hours beforehand. They don’t understand and they are even more cranky because they are tired. I’m so glad the procedure went smoothly for you! So is he going for the fontan then soon?


    • Kirstin
      We are planning on having his Fontan in June but we are still waiting for the hospital to actually call with dates. I’m antsy waiting because I want to start arranging babysitting and for my husband to get the time off work and what-not. But I’m sure once we have dates I’ll be anxious about something else, lol.

      When my son was a tiny baby we were told that he could end up needing to have a transplant when he is older but they can’t tell how he’ll grow exactly. I’m hoping that isn’t in our future but we’ll roll with what ever we are given I guess!


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