Tuesday, March 25, 2008
OK, I'm going to try to tell you what is going on medically with Grant and what is going to happen to him. If you aren't interested in the science part of the heart then just skip over this one. I'll try to say it as quick as possible.
When I posted about reading Grant's chart and looking at the list of things that were wrong with him, one of the things was he was V-Fib. "Ventricular Fibrillation (VF or V-Fib) is an irregular heart beat. During V-Fib electrical signals are very fast and irregular. The heartbeat can be so fast and chaotic that the heart muscles quivers rather than pumps. If the abnormal heart rhythm is not treated right away, VF is almost always fatal." This is from the pamphlet on the ICD. Teresa and the paramedics saved Grant's life.
(ICD) is an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. An ICD can sense when your heart rhythm becomes dangerously fast, slows down or stops. Depending on the arrhythmia, the ICD will send electrical impulses to override the fast rhythm and bring it back to normal, or it will interrupt the fast rhythm by briefly shocking the heart. After the shock the heart rhythm usually returns to normal. The ICD can either slow the heart down, speed it up or restart it.
The procedure will happen on the first floor here at Providence tomorrow morning, if no emergency surgeries come up. They will put the unit under Grant's skin. It will be about the size of the new Nano with a couple of wires that extend off of it. They will place it on his left upper chest, under the skin but over the muscle. They will take the leads and insert them into the vein by the left clavicle and run it from there into the right side of the heart. The ICD will be visible with Grant's shirt off, and as thin as he is it may be with it on.
The ICD has a computer device in it that checks all the rhythms of the heart. It has a battery that apparently will last between 5-7 yrs, and it has a beeper in it that will tell Grant when it needs to be checked. He will have some sort of way to check it through his computer and then send that info to the cardiologist so she can assess what is wrong. The entire "generator" will apparently be replaced when the battery wears out.
Grant will need to meet with the cardiologist the first week and then a first month and then every 3 months from there on out.
When the cardiologist was telling us all the thing the ICD is capable of doing I said that it seems as if this would be an expensive piece of hardware. She said "it's like a car, a really nice car".
Grant is still doing very well. People are coming to visit and keep saying he looks great. He stands up and greets people when they come in. What a change a couple of days make.
Thanks for your replies to the blog. I'll send out more later.
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