4.10.12

DID YOU SAY YOUR BABY HAS A LLAMA HEART?

While it sounds very similar, an ALCAPA is different than an alpaca. ALCAPA stands for anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery. It is a heart defect that happens for no particular reason while the heart is first forming. This kills me because I was such a hippie while I was pregnant to try to give Lauren the best chance possible. I guess this just goes to show that I'm not God - thank goodness because I'm pretty sure I would do a terrible job!

When Lauren's heart formed, the left coronary artery, which feeds blood to the left side of her heart, attached to the pulmonary artery instead of the aorta. The picture below shows a typical ALCAPA, but, of course, Lauren's artery placement was not typical and it also had an extra branch coming off.

from www.health32.com
When her left coronary artery was moved, all three branches were left on the artery because they were unsure which two branches were the functioning branches feeding the two sides of the heart. The third branch caused there to be too much tension in the artery and the scar tissue started to build up and strangle the blood vessel. Before the second surgery happened, Lauren had a CT scan that showed that the third blood vessel wasn't an incredibly important vessel for feeding the heart and it was cut off to stop the strain from reoccurring.

Here is an illustration of Lauren's heart as drawn by her surgeon.
He's a very good surgeon, but perhaps not the world's best artist :) That being said, to have him walk us through her heart situation with the somewhat questionable visuals was so incredibly helpful to understand exactly what was going on in our little girl.

One of our doctor friends pointed out that Lauren's initials are actually the same as Left Coronary Artery. That is sort of laughable/sort of depressing.

Moving forward we have a huge prayer request. It is so incredibly obvious that prayer allows miracles to happen so we know that if we are diligent in praying, God will answer our prayers. Lauren is now in it for the long haul. As she grows her heart has the potential to restructure and remodel.

The centre part of her heart does not move as the left ventricle squeezes. This stops the blood from getting pushed out of the chamber as it should be. Right now, her numbers still place her in the cardiac failure range. I like to think that this just gives her lots of room for improvement. The muscle in the centre part of her heart is a combination of dead muscle from the lack of blood and "sleeping" muscle that surrounds the dead areas. All of the sleeping cells have the potential to be reawaken and begin to function again. That would increase the ventricle's ability to squeeze.

We pray that every one of the sleeping cells be reawaken.
We pray that her heart is able to eject just as much blood as a normal heart would.
We pray that the size of the left ventricles decreases back to the regular size.
We pray that, with time, her heart is able to function just as a normal heart would and that Lauren would never be limited by her heart.


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