Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Heart of the Matter (4)

Well, that's that, then! Done & dusted, as it were. Bar the bruising.

Thursday I was scheduled for my Angioplasty "procedure" (apparently not an "operation"). In other words I was to be 'blown up' in order to open a blocked artery near my heart. Sounds straight-forward doesn't it. And in theory it is.

Only there can be difficulties or complications. And maybe I'm related to that fellow Murphy, because my angioplasty wasn't straight-forward.

This is a 'before' picture:

You can see the 'wire' which was inserted. They start with one about the width of a human hair! The one arrowed in the picture has a loop at the end. It is in an artery but there is no blood or width, because it's blocked of course.

The first difficulty the surgeon had was that the blockage was resistant - he had difficulty getting the wire to penetrate it, perhaps because it had been there a while and had solidified. So that called for a variety of wire thicknesses and endpoints.
But this next picture shows that the blockage has been penetrated but not yet enlarged, hence you can see the artery, but it is still very narrow.

But then, having managed to penetrate it, he then had difficulty getting the balloon inflated. They had to use several different balloons, of differing size, and because of the resistant character of the blockage, use considerable pressure to get them inflated.

But they did! This picture is the 'after' view, with the arrow pointing at the location of the 'blockage', although at that point it is probably more correct to refer to it as the location of the Stent.

But as you can see, there is ample blood flow, and it is moving through a much wider channel than the wire in the previous image.

But the outcome is that the procedure was successful. My blood is now coursing naturally and as it should be. I am left with a small pucnture wound in the groin and one wrist which will heal quickly. And that should mean a return to a more normal life.

Once the bruising and stiffness has gone down.

PS: If you're wondering how I know details of what happened during the procedure, I was conscious, albeit sedated. And I coped Ok I find surprising, given that I'm a coward, and have always disliked hospitals and things 'medical'!

Desiree spent most of the afternoon at the Hospital, and Jayne came along to keep her company, and then in the early evening Sarah, Charlotte & Craig dropped in to see how I was. It felt like a railway station!

But Jayne & Desiree decided that we needed a photographic record of my stay in hospital. So:

Wired up to keep track of my heart-rate and blood pressure

The tourniquet applied to the wrist. The redness is dye pumped into the artery to help identify progress

The monitor keeping track of my vital signs

The nursing staff had a little difficulty finding a pulse in my foot, and resorted to ultra-sound

Desiree was solicitous

Dinner was a little problematic, as I was not to use my right-hand, to protect the arterial wound in the wrist

Jayne made the most of the comfortable chair

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