Friday, August 01, 2014

My heart condition

I know I have briefly mentioned my heart condition in my blog before. I told how with my pregnancies there was a very small chance of it being passed down genetically. Fortunately that didn't happen. I am the only one in my family that has this or any type of structural heart defect. It's called Transposition of the Great Arteries, now referred to as Transposition of the Great Vessels. It's a congenital defect and there is no explanation for why it happens at this time. The defect happens while the heart is developing in the very early stages of life. The abnormality is very severe and is not compatible with life. So shortly after the baby is born he/she will need open heart surgery to correct the abnormality.

This is a normal heart. This picture shows the circulation of blood. Below I have a picture of a normal heart compared to a heart with Transposition of the Great Arteries.

Here you can see the structural differences. This defect does not allow the oxygenated blood to be carried out into the body. The heart keeps circulating the oxygenated blood towards the heart and the de-oxygenated blood away from the heart. 

Today they do a procedure called the Atrial Switch operation. It is very effective and has great long-term results.  But, I was born in 1984 and during that time they were using a procedure called the "Mustard" procedure. The Atrial Switch procedure came along a couple years later, so I'm one of the last to have the Mustard procedure. Now, don't get me wrong, the Mustard procedure saved my life and was a great "fix" for it's time, but it just doesn't withstand time and the wear and tear on the heart. 

This is a picture of what the heart looks like after the Mustard procedure. Now, the left side of the heart is doing the work that the right side of the heart was created to do and the right side of the heart is doing the work that the left side of the heart was created to do. Not really ideal, but hey, it works and I'm 30! 

Over time these areas that have been surgically altered get leaks and become obstructed from scar tissue and another heart surgery is necessary to rebuild these areas. I have come to that point in my life. The doctors say that since the onset of these symptoms caused by this deterioration is slow that I really don't notice how bad I feel. That I have adapted to the changes in my health overtime and once I have the surgery and recover I will realize just how bad I was feeling. This makes me excited. I can't wait to see what they are talking about. It's just what I have to go through to get there is frightening. But, I am optimistic and know I am in great hands. 

1 comment:

  1. My brother, born in 1980, has this same exact heart condition. xo