Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Harper's Heart

About a month ago, I took Harper in for her 18 month check up. She was so well behaved when they were checking her out. She is in the 16th percentile for weight and she is somewhere in the 70s for height. The doctor came in and checked her ears and eyes and listened to her heart. As he was listening to her heart, I noticed that he was taking a really long time and moving his stethoscope around a lot. Harper was so good and she sat still the whole time! After he was finished listening, he told me that he heard a murmur in her heart. He said that his concern was very low because of how healthy she is, but since he did hear something there was still some concern. He put in an order for a test and that happened today.

I took Harper in to the Center for Children in Lowell, AR. After they checked her height, weight and blood pressure (on her arm and foot), she had an EKG. An EKG is just a test that is used to check the rhythm of the heart (I think). They put a bunch of stickers on her chest and belly and attached clips and chords to all of them. It was not fun for me to watch this happen but she was so well behaved.

After the EKG we spoke to the cardiologist. She listened to Harper's heart with her stethoscope and she explained to me that there was a murmur and she wanted to have an Echo done. Echo = heart ultrasound. I took her in to have the Echo done and they had cartoons on the TV and a Sesame Street toy so Harper was all set. The Echo test was very very long. They put three stickers and clips with chords on her and then they started the ultrasound. They looked at her heart from four different angles and took probably 15 minutes at each angle. They looked right on top of her heart, to the right, to the left and right underneath her neck. Harper did such a good job! For the most part, she just laid there and watched the cartoons. Towards the end of the test she was getting a little impatient.

After the Echo the cardiologist came back in and explained to me the situation. This is what she showed me:



1) When babies are born they have a blood vessel that connects the Pulmonary Artery to the Aorta. Normally, this blood vessel closes off soon after birth. Harper's has not. This is called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA).

The cardiologist said that the PDA is tiny and there is very little concern.

2) When babies are born they have a hole in the wall that separates Right Atrium and the Left Atrium (the two upper chambers of the heart). Normally, this hole closes within a few weeks or months after the baby is born. Harper's has not, her hole is 5 mm. This is called Atrial Septal Defect (ASD).

The cardiologist said that the ASD is moderate and there is not much concern.


The good news is that neither of these things are very serious right now. The cardiologist said that we need to have Harper checked on a yearly basis and if these two things haven't closed off on their own within a couple of years, there are some non-surgical procedures that they can do to close them off.

So, that's that. It was a nerve-racking day and I was very nervous as the cardiologist was explaining all of it. I did get a little emotional on the drive home and when I was explaining it all to Ryan, but I think it was tears of relief. It's never a good thing to hear that your child has a heart defect, but it's nothing too serious and it can all be resolved either on its own or very easily.

Other than that craziness, we are all doing great! We have set a closing date for the house, but I'll write about that another time. This post has worn me out and it's bedtime!

10 comments:

Lisa said...

Hey Abby--what a scary experience. I'm no cardiologist, but we do learn a lot about the heart and heart tests in nursing school. Send me an email if you ever have questions about the heart or just want to talk about it. Way to go Harper for being such a good girl!

Samantha said...

You're lucky that Harper is such a sweet little girl. Lexi doesn't even let the doctor listen to her heartbeat with out screaming and fighting. I'm happy that everything looks good and that she's healthy.

P.S. Where are some maternity pictures?!

The Lusks said...

So glad to hear that she is ok! I cannot even imagine how scary that was for you!

Sariah said...

It's definitely difficult to hear that something is wrong with your baby! I'm glad to hear that it's nothing serious at this point and hopefully it won't ever be anything serious!

That's awesome that Harper sat so still and was so good for everything! Sydney always freaks out at the doctors.

lance, miss, & my said...

I am so glad harper's okay! what a relief. I would've been so nervous having them do all those tests!
sounds like she can still be little miss super athlete!:)

Katie S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie S. said...

I deleted my comment above because I found a few grammatical errors that would have driven me nuts.

I am so relieved to hear that for now, it is not as serious. Poor little girl. That makes me wonder if Hannah's doctor is as careful checking her vitals as Harper's doctor. I am so glad that he caught that so that you can be aware and check her progress. What an angel to sit still for all of that checking!

Joy Elizabeth Jackson said...

Oh Abby! I had no idea you were going through all of that! Please let us know if we can do anything. I'm so glad Harper is okay.

Jeremy and Kara said...

I'm sorry that you have to go through that at all. Curtis also had a murmur at birth and at one month he was checked by the cardiologist. It is also a murmur that is supposed to correct itself. The doctor didn't hear it at his last appointment, but she is going to check again at his 1 year appointment, and if she does then we have to go back to the cardiologist and he will have to have surgery. I don't think he has it still, since in 8 months no one has mentioned a thing. But I totally feel for you. As I can relate. So if you want to talk, I'm here. Thinking about you.
kara

Nicole said...

I would have been an emotional wreck having them do all those tests. You are an amazing mom and Harper is such a sweet girl. Arkansas is lucky to have you.