A Heart of an Update

Tonight I was reading some of my past blog entries.  I realized that I had not updated you all faithful readers (all three of you) about E’s cardiology appointment.  To recap, a little more than a month ago I discovered E had not been taking his heart medication to prevent the enlargement of the aneurysm in his aorta.

We were able to visit the local cardiologist and get an echocardiogram at the beginning of December.  In April, E’s echocardiogram measured the diameter of his aorta root between 3.3 and 3.4 cm.  Elective surgery to address the aneurysm is performed at 4 cm on patients with Loeys-Dietz Syndrome to prevent a life threatening and often fatal aortic dissection.  Dr. Quartermain (if you were a General Hospital fan in college like I was, yes, that is his real name) reviewed E’s echo.  The results were that E’s aorta root has dilated further to 3.6 cm.

My thoughts on this news:  it was not unexpected.  Since he’s gone so long without faithfully taking the medication and he is experience a time of rapid growth and development, I anticipated the aneurysm would have progressed.  The question was really how much.  Even though it was expected, we weren’t happy about it.  Every millimeter it grows is one step closer to open heart surgery.  How could anyone be happy about that?

However, the doctor did point out that we’re still a few years away from surgery.  3.6 is not 4.0.  It could have been worse news.  And the medication holds promise that we can put this surgery off.

After the appointment, E asked me to help him visualize the numbers we discussed at the doctor’s office.  First I showed him what 3.3 cm looks like on a ruler.  I explained to him this was the diameter of his aorta in April.  I then showed him 3.6 cm on the ruler.  I explained this is where he is now.  Obviously, this seems like a minuscule difference.  His comment was that was little change.  Then I showed him the infamous 4.0 cm on the ruler.  4 mm.  That’s the difference between where we are now and surgery.

4 mm……the thickness of a dime is about 1 mm.  That’s small.  It was a sobering thought for all of our family.  Since that time, medication has been taken faithfully.


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