When we were called and asked to come in to Dr. Rouse’s office just a couple of days after Fabgrandpa’s stress test, I knew it would not be good news. Doctors don’t call you that quick when it is happy or good news. So, when we went in and heard that Fabgrandpa needed to go for a Cardiac Catheterization, I was not surprised. The stress test was on Monday, August 8, the counsultation in Dr. Rouse’s office was on August 11, and his procedure was scheduled for August 18. Dr. Rouse told us that they would do the catheterization, and if they found any blockages, they would insert stents into those arteries. Fabgrandpa would be in recovery for 6-8 hours, and then we would go home. It didn’t happen exactly like that, but we are now back home after a three day, two night stay in the hospital. NOTE: Graphic photos are ahead, if you are squeamish, don’t click to read more.
When we got to the hospital for the Cardiac Catheterization, Fabgrandpa was taken back to a prep area, and had his groin shaved. After that, an IV was started, and he was given an injection to sedate him. After he was prepped for surgery, Becky, Emily, and I were allowed to go back and visit with him for a bit before he was taken to the operating room in the Heart Center.
To get the catheter into Fabgrandpa’s heart, a sheath was inserted into his groin. He was given a radioactive dye, and then the catheter was threaded through his artery to his heart. X-rays allow the doctor to see any blockages. There, Dr. Rouse found two arteries that were 95% blocked. There were also “numerous other veins and arteries” that are 40-60% blocked. (They will treat those with medication) Once the diagnostic part of the procedure was done, the doctor inserted two stents into the first artery, at the top of Fabgrandpa’s heart. This artery blockage was so long that it took two stents to open it up. After those two stents were inserted, they finished up for the day, and brought Fabgrandpa to his hospital room.
Once in his room, Fabgrandpa had to lie flat on his back, with his legs straight, with the bed at no more than a 30 degree angle, for six hours. At the end of the six hours, the sheath was removed from his groin. It left a fantastic bruise, which will eventually spread down to below his knees and into his scrotum. It is really ugly. (He agreed to have these photos posted to let others know what this surgery entails).
When the sheath was removed, it created a “pseudo-aneurysm” in Fabgrandpa’s groin. This does not happen to everyone, but when it does happen, it has to be repaired, and quickly. If it were to burst, the patient could bleed out. So, they took Fabgrandpa back to the Heart Center operating room, and called in a vascular surgeon to inject a syringe of collagen into the “bubble” on the artery. This surgeon happened to be Dr. Whitney, who did the Carotid Endartorectomy surgery last year. That procedure took about three hours.
Because Fabgrandpa is such a big guy, they were not able to give him as much radioactive dye as they would need to stent both blockages in one day. On Friday, he was taken back to the Heart Center operating room for another cardiac catheterization, this time through it was through his left arm. They were through with the procedure by the time I got back to the hospital, and Fabgrandpa was back in his room.
There was a big bandage with a plastic cover over the sheath insertion point. He had to have that on for four hours, with a nurse coming to remove air from it every thirty minutes. This was not as bad as the groin area, but it is still bruised.
Fabgrandpa’s other arm is also bruised, due to the two IV’s that were inserted. One of them was for the normal saline solution, IV medications, and things like that. The other one was called the Emergency IV, to be used in case of cardiac arrest or other problem that may have come up.
After another overnight stay, Fabgrandpa was finally released to come home around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. They came to take out the two IV lines, read the home instructions, and went over medications and other things related to the the discharge from the hospital. We finally got home around 5:30 p.m.