As much medical terminology as I am learning, there are still plenty of times when I cannot make heads or tails out of what a specialist is telling me. Evie’s cardiologist is very good at what he does, but sometimes I just need another doctor to explain things. After trying for a few days to grasp the interpretation of results from Evie’s 30 day heart monitor, I finally gave up and called Evie’s pediatrician, who assured me that even she struggles with communicating with cardiologists and other specialized physicians. Many just live in their own little world of dichotomy, both assuming everyone knows what they know and that everyone is an idiot who knows nothing.
So her pediatrician explained it like this:
It is quite common with trached children to have this supposed irregular heartbeat, not because they are actually having an irregular heartbeat, but because monitoring does not pick it up properly. When we breathe, there is a pressure change between the outside air and our lungs as the air travels through our nose and mouth. With a trach,the air goes straight into the lungs without the pressure change. The lungs receive the full force of the air. So when Evie breathes in, the force of the air in her lungs actually blunts the sound and feeling of her heartbeat and pulse. It doesn’t affect her heart’s ability to pump blood throughout her body, it just seems to cancel out the heartbeat in monitoring. So when she is hooked up to her pulse ox, there may be times where her heart and breathing are lined up enough that it may only be reading every other heartbeat, which makes it appear that her heart rate has plummeted.
Does that make sense? I hope so.
From here we will just continue to monitor her heart like we do lots of other parts of her. We’ll see her cardiologist in November and again do basic testing to make sure there is no change. I’m so grateful that we have a pediatrician who is willing to help us understand things. She has been such a blessing to us as we try to organize 17 doctors, specialists, and therapists.
I think we’re relieved. We treat good news very cautiously around here, so even though we’ve had this news for over a week, we’re just now starting to process it and be happy with the results.
Evie is VERY happy though. See? She’s doing a happy dance: