If you have been following, you know I had a health scare after Christmas where I ended up hospitalized for a few days following a TIA ('mini-stroke'). Next, I found out I have a hole in my heart called a PFO (when the flap that everyone has in utero remains open instead of closing). The next test was a transesophageal echocardiogram where a camera was lowered down my throat and bubbles were injected so that my cardiologist was able to get a closer look at what the bubbles did when they reached my heart. He found that I have a congential (present at birth) heart defect called an atrial septal aneurysm. This is when the tissue that should go straight across between the two chambers has a bulge in it which makes it look more like a 'U' shape than a straight line. My aneurysm has at least two holes in it which caused the bubbles to go across in the opposite direction of the PFO bubbles which means blood is going across both ways in the top two chambers (and it is not supposed to be going across at all). This can cause to much pressure on the right side of the heart which can lead to all sorts of health issues. The next step is to go in through a vein in the leg and send a catheter all the way to my heart and measure the pressure. If it is too high, I will need surgery in which an umbrella-like device is put in to close off the holes.
I am scared to have a heart procedure. Of course, there are risks. I don't sign off on those easily, not with four children who rely on me to take care of them. It is interesting that there will be less sedation for this procedure than there was for the transesophageal echo (camera down my throat). I am having a hard time imagining being awake while a catheter is finding it's way to my heart. On a lighter note, I have a fear of saying something lame while under sedation. I was glad I could not speak during the test with the camera down my throat. I don't want the cardiologist to have to listen to a frantic monologue of my fears about this heart problem, the ones I think about when I wake up at night. That being said, I am lucky that I have an amazing cardiologist who answered my litany of questions during my last appointment. He never once looked at his watch or made me feel stupid for not already knowing the answers. He even took time prior to the appointment to gather articles and pictures online to show me what is going on with my heart. He has done this procedure over 500 times without complications. I am so grateful that I have such a competent doctor who is incredibly humane.
I wrote the first part of this post before the procedure. I have since had the procedure. I don't think I said anything during the procedure. It was in a brightly lit operating room with the cardiologist and lots of nurses. The cardiologist took blood samples from my heart so he could check oxygen levels in the blood and measured the pressure with a balloon like device. He then did the mathematical equation and the pressure is not statistically significant. This means I will be on yearly monitoring and blood thinners and will not need heart surgery at this time. I am incredibly relieved! This is the best news we could have hoped for.