Dusk and I met with his cardiologist this morning and reviewed all of the tests run during his stay at UCLA last week and have a plan going forward. He has surgery scheduled for Monday, February 29th to replace his current ICD/pacemaker with a more robust bi-ventricular device.
His current device was only really intended to be a defibrillator, an insurance policy if you will, to shock him out of an arrhythmia back into sinus rhythm. And thank God for that, since that's exactly what it has done twice now. But it was never really designed to pace him for any significant amount of time. His heartrate has always been low, but when they implanted his device, it was not so low that it was causing him problems. As a result, they only put one lead to his heart, intended to provide very minimal pacing and be available to provide a shock if needed.
For reasons we don't fully (or heck, even partially) understand, his baseline heartrate has gravitated lower in the past year or so, and his need for pacing has amped up considerably since November. While he used to be paced hardly at all, he is now being paced upwards of 70% of the time. Which isn't ideal with a simple single lead pacemaker, since pacing from a single lead causes the heart to beat in a pretty funky rhythm.
That funky rhythm alone puts him at a higher risk for more arythmias. His low heart rate puts him at a higher risk of arythmias. The medications he is on to treat his arythmias put him at a higher risk for more arythmias, particularly when combined with a lower heartrate and funky rhythms.
Did you follow all that?
The long and short of it is that his current device isn't helping his heart or protecting him particularly well, so, they will be doing surgery to remove that device and put one in that provides leads to 3 different places in the heart, allowing it to pace him more effectively.
The surgery should be a relatively quick one. But, if you've been following our blog for any length of time, you know that Dusk's body doesn't always respond particularly well to medical intervention. So we're expecting at least one night in the hospital. We would appreciate prayers that it's ONLY that one night.
And, while you're praying for our family, please keep Sierra in your prayers, as she has a dental procedure next Thursday. It's not a huge one, but because she struggles with dental procedures in general, it will have to be done under anesthesia. Please pray for a smooth procedure and recovery for our sweet girl.
Thanks, and, you know, Happy CHD Week!