Our son, Jacob, will be having the Fontan procedure sometime between March and April of 2011. This will be his third and final open heart surgery to correct his congenital heart defect known as Tricuspid Atresia. His first surgery was on July 30, 2008 when he was 19 days old, and his second was on March 13, 2009 when he was 8 months old. He came through both of those with flying colors and has done great ever since. Lately we have been noticing some blueness in his face when he gets out of breathe so we decided to get him checked out by his surgeon in Cincinnati.
The third procedure will be quite a bit more invasive than the previous two. The recovery time is estimated at 14-19 days. He will spend a minimum of 4 days in the CICU and a minimum of 10 days in the step-down unit. He will have two chest tubes this time, one in each side, as well as a feeding tub and a catheter (all of which will be placed during surgery). There will be tons of other wires and tubes which are too many to name.
The procedure itself sounds simple and looks simple according to the video we watched. As if any surgery is simple, right? They will be placing a piece of Gortex conduit in his chest. They will disconnect the pulmonary artery from the lungs and the inferior venacava from the heart and place the conduit piping between the two so the blood can go directly to the lungs. The conduit will be adult size as it has to sustain him for the rest of his life. The surgeon told us that he would have a great deal of pain in his abdomen area, especially his liver while his body adjusts to the change in blood flow. This is the reason for the feeding tube. He will not feel like eating, and since nutrition plays a huge part in recovery they are going to do that for him for a while.
He will be on Captopril, Lasix and Enalapril for 6-8 months after surgery.
Because of this foreign material they’re grafting into his body there will be a higher risk for infection. This is why his surgeon wants to the surgery as the viral season is tapering off. We will basically be on home confinement when we come home for a few months. No visitors that are sick, or may have been exposed to any illness, such as having kids that are sick. We will not be able to take him anywhere unless it’s to go to the doctor. Everyone that comes into the house must sanitize thoroughly.
Basically infection is our enemy after we get home. We will be seriously sanitizing the house before we leave and might have someone sanitize before we get home since everything will be sitting there for over two weeks just gathering dust and stuff.
I hope this is enough but not too much information for everyone. Thank you again for your continued prayers for Jacob and our family. We can truly feel the love and prayers and it warms our hearts to have such wonderful friends and family who care so deeply.
We will go up to Cincinnati on March 1, 2011 to meet with his cardiologist. March 2 is when they will perform the echocardiogram and heart cath. The surgery itself will be on Thursday or Friday. They will call us back today to give us the exact date. I’m guessing Friday March 4th.