Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tough Day

Thursday was a tough day. I was the cardiac faculty on call, so I knew from the start it was going to be a long day. I came in early because there was a conference on echocardiograms that I wanted to go to. Anyway I was wandering in, and my pager went off... never good in the morning. "Case going on in room 7" I change quickly and get in there. A heart transplant. Just starting really... It's patient with bad heart failure that has a Heartmate (a type of left ventricular assist device). Of course he's had about three previous heart operations so there's lots of scar tissue in the chest makin the operation much more dangerous and complicated.
Anyway... the new heart is in the patient about 3 pm or so. It's not going well as we come off bypass, but we're doing reasonably. All of a sudden, the blood pressure drops and I see a bunch of air on the echocardiogram. Part of the hears stops functioning well... So I assume some air has gone down one of the coronary arteries. We crash back on bypass... Left heart starts functioning a bit better but now the right side doesn't look so well. We end up after struggling a bit assisting the right side of the heart with Abiomed right ventricular assist device. This are settling out, the all of a sudden the left side of the heart is starting to look bad.... Now a discussion ensues on if they need to put the patient on ECMO (extacorporeal membrane oxygenation). Ends up they endup supporting the left side of heart with a left sided Abiomed.
Now we are supporting both sides of the heart, and the patient is relatively stable We're pouring clotting factors and blood so the patient will stop bleeding. They'll try to wean the patient off assistance early next week. So this patient came into the hospital with a bad heart and a Left ventricular assist device... now has a different heart and assistance for both sides of the heart. Only time will tell. By the way it's 9pm we're finally done. a quick 16 hour case. I'm so exhausted.

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