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Heart Surgery

Posted by Tim :: Family News

by Kristen

Tim and I recently watched a movie called 'Something the Lord Made' . It is about the incredible story of how a surgeon (Dr. Blalock) and his technician (Vivien Thomas, an African American), discovered how to perform heart surgery. Not only had this never been done before but the thought in the medical community was that it could not be done and should not be attempted. However, through years of research, hard work, determination and great skill they successfully performed the first heart surgery on November 29, 1944! The surgery was done on a 'blue baby', a child whose heart was not delivering enough oxygenated blood to the body so the child would turn blue.

This story is amazing in and of itself. I would recommend the movie and from other things I've read it does tell the story fairly well. But, this story also touched our hearts for another reason. Wayne is scheduled to have a cardiac catheterization done on January 11 to close a hole in his heart called an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect). This procedure is a far cry from what was done in 1944, it is actually not even considered heart surgery, there will be no incision anywhere near the heart and sometimes the patient is only given a local anesthetic (although that is not the case for Wayne). But, this procedure would never have been thought of if it weren't for those men and women over 60 years ago daring to do the impossible.

Wayne's surgery will consist of an incision in his leg where a catheter is inserted in a vein. The doctor will then guide the catheter to the heart and insert a device (in this case an Amplatzer Septal Occluder) into the hole. Once the Dr. removes the catheter and makes sure the device in a good position the procedure will be over. Wayne will be in the hospital overnight and will go home the next day. Within 6 months heart tissue will grow over the device and there will be hardly any evidence anything was ever done. The only other way to close this hole would be to do open heart surgery which is much more invasive, and recovery time and hospital stay is much longer.

We are so thankful that Wayne can have this procedure done. It will help reduce stress on his heart that would cause it to wear out sooner than normal. Also, it may help him be less susceptible to chest colds (which have caused Wayne to be hospitalized a couple of times). We are also praying that closing the hole in his heart will help him to gain weight and grow bigger (although the doctors are not expecting this to happen).

We trust in the Great Physician. Please join us in praying for Wayne:

- safety for Wayne
- peace and comfort
- skill and wisdom for the doctors, nurses and anesthesiologist
- quick recovery
- the procedure would successfully place the device in the hole
- there would be no complications

Thank you for your prayers.


I forgot to mention that the surgery is in Des Moines at Mercy.

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