My wife underwent a Stent Graft for an aortic aneurysm. The Cleveland Clinic is amazing!
My wife had an aortic aneurysm repair yesterday at the Cleveland Clinic and is coming home today! That procedure is an amazing minimally invasive advancement to fix a life threatening problem. Her aneurysm was 5 cm and was discovered by accident a few weeks ago during a CT for an unrelated issue. Needless to say; after that discovery we saw it as a ticking time bomb that needed immediate attention. Prior to this, she had not had any health issues and other than occasional mammograms, nothing that required imaging in the last 35+ years.
On the same day of my wife's procedure (yesterday), the nurse for my EP called to let me know that I have been cleared to receive an upgrade from my dual chamber PM to a CRT. She said that we can now schedule it. My EF has been around 40% as the result of pacemaker syndrome from dysychrony after being paced for over 35 years. My ventricular lead placement is apical. Obviously, the hope now is that with a CRT my EF will recover to normal or near normal. However, even if it does not, the thought of having my heart back in-sync is very exciting for me. I have had a congenital 1st degree heart block prior to going into a complete block at the age of 38. I have also had bradycardia and SA Node problems my entire life. As a result, my experience in life has been one of feeling a lack of energy and at times, occasions of almost passing-out when I over exerted myself prior to receiving a PM. My point is that I do not think that my heart has ever been in sync, which is why this is so exciting for me!
In any case, our experience with the Cleveland Clinic has been nothing short of amazing. I just had a second venogram last week. OMG I have to tell you that the procedure itself was such a gratifying experience. There was a team of about five people including the Doc. At the beginning and prior to starting the procedure, they all stood next to the table I was laying on and introduced themselves one by one. That seems to be how they do things at the CC. Each team member explained their title and their role in the procedure. The Doc was last to introduce himself and asked me if I have any questions. I did; and he answered every one of them very politely. Everyone was terrific. When the first attempt from the left side showed the vein occluded (brachiocephalic vein carrying my leads), I expressed my disappointment and the nurse sympathized with me. They did not seem surprised by the finding since my leads were in place for such a long time. The Doc explained that there was one collateral vein that may connect to the superior vena cava, but he was unsure. He said that it appeared to be open. This collateral vein was formed (by angiogenesis) when the left vein carrying the leads became occulded. So he said he would call my EP Doc and see if he wanted to explore that one further. After about ten minutes he came back and said my Doc wanted them to try to do so, but from the opposite side (right-side). The Doc wasn't sure how I felt about that and asked me. I said "hell yes, let's do it"! So they put another catheter in my right arm and tried again. I was so surprised that when they found it to be open; everyone in the room including myself cheered. They all understood the stakes for me. The Doc then yelled out to all of them what a great job they did! Honest to God, they acted like they just struck gold. It was clear that they knew the significance of this success, because they are all involved with "lead extraction procedures" and one nurse had even had commented to me earlier that they really do not want to try to extract a 37 year old lead (i.e because of the danger)! Then the Doc came to me and explained everything. I expressed my gratitude to him and everyone else. It felt so good that I almost started crying........and I don't cry!
Well, that is my story. I apologize for the length of this, so if you didn't finish it I certainly understand. I awaoke early this morning and had little else to do. It felt good to write this, but my point was to tell how great our experience with the Cleveland Clinic has been.
You know you're wired when...
You have a little piece of high-tech in your chest.
I am a competitive cyclist with a pacemaker!