Friday, July 13, 2012

details on Mark's heart

I took Mark in for his 2 month checkup and Dr. Shinn heard a faint murmur. She sent us to a cardiologist, Dr. Payne, for an echocardiogram (ECG). Mark cried hysterically the whole time and it took forever to finish. I had a feeling something was wrong and it wasn't just a typical heart murmur.

Dr. Payne told us she saw a narrowing of his aorta, called coarctation. She said he needed surgery soon. She also said the pictures from the ECG were blurry and that Mark would get another one under sedation when we met with the surgeon. We were in shock...

Dr. Payne referred us to a surgeon, Dr. Guleserian at Children's. We did a lot of research and decided that the very best surgeon for us was most likely Dr. Guleserian. After meeting with her, we were certain of that. No doubts in our mind - a huge answer to prayer.

We took Mark in for his sedated ECG and he did great. Thankfully, he loves his paci and is just a really good baby. He couldn't eat all morning and hardly cried at all. The ECG took forever again and a doctor ended up coming in the room and asking for different images, trying to find them himself, etc. Again, I had a feeling something was wrong.

After looking at the results briefly, the cardiologist told us that on top of the coarctation, the anatomy of Mark's heart is unique. His right subclaveal artery is in the wrong spot. This is the artery that takes blood to his right arm.

We went across the hall to meet Dr. Guleserian and she ran over to take a look at the images herself. She told us that this artery is potentially in the way of the aortic arch that needs surgery. She may have to cut that artery in hopes that blood vessels would grow around it to compensate. She has seen this before and even operated both ways - where she cut it and where she could go around it. That made us feel better that she's dealt with this before. She won't know until she gets in there what she will be able to do.

A couple days later, I talked with Dr. Guleserian on the phone and she had found something else. Mark has some thickening of the "strings" off his mitral valve. This is something she won't address with this surgery and we will monitor very closely. We don't know much more about it yet. She said she wanted an MRI to get a better look of everything going on before the surgery. No surgeon wants surprises during a surgery.

So here we are today, sitting in the waiting room at Children's while Mark gets his MRI. He was perfect all morning. He couldn't eat after 8am and didn't go back for anesthesia until 12:30. He just happily sucked his paci and smiled at us every now and then. He has a breathing tube and muscle relaxers on top of anesthesia so he cannot breathe on his own. They do this so they can control his breathing for breath holds (lasting 20-40 seconds usually) to get a picture of his heart when it's not moving.

A little scary for sure. But like I said in my last post, I feel peace about God's plan for Mark. Open hands. Trust. And may God be glorified through this.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. I am so proud to call you my friend!

  2. So sad to hear this Liz, but at the same time so happy to see God glorified through it. Bravo to you guys and how you're handeling it. We'll pray for you and sweet Mark.