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Bottom line: All that has gone wrong in Jessica's system today is (in the view of the physicians) fixable. This event will just cause her recovery to be slower and harder. Read on if you want more detail.
The dust is beginning to settle. We are over the worst of this inital episode. This is what has happened and what we understand.
Early this morning (about 4AM), Gene woke up thinking the hospital called us...they didn't. Two hours later, the doctor called us with the inital news that things weren't going so well. Ironically, they said the trouble started 2 hours earlier.
Jessica's blood pressure dropped significantly. They started to administer chest compressions and gave some medications to help the heart pump. Her blood pressure continued to be unstable. They decided to open her chest back up. They wanted to rule out bleeding around the heart (this would make it hard to pump). There was no unusual bleeding found. They decided to keep the chest open just in case (don't worry...they put a plastic film over it)
The blood pressure drop was subsequently thought to be due to poor liver function. The liver is responsible for breaking down the drugs that were given to keep her sleeping. If these aren't broken down, then the drug is hanging around and building up and she is getting overdosed. They stopped the sleeping drugs and gave her something to reverse the effects. The cause of the liver failure is still a mystery. They suspect the injury to the liver occurred sometime during or shortly after surgery. The surgeon has seen this occur in similar cases, but has no reasoning. He expected something like this to happen, but not to this severity. They are supplying her with blood products that usually come from the liver to try to maintain her system until it can correct itself (the liver has a great ablility to heal).
Another problem is her right ventricle is not pumping like they had hoped. This is where the blood gets pumped into the lungs. This is causing back-up of blood in the body and decreased flow into the lungs (where the blood gets oxygen to supply the body). This is causing kidney damage. They are using medications to help her heart to pump until they can find a solution. High doses of these drugs over a period of time can have a negative effect on the body. If they feel it is nessesary, they will put her on the heart-lung machine to give her heart and lung a time to rest and recover.
They have done studies to review the surgical repair that was done and feel that structurally, everything is perfect. (the plumbing is a-ok)
This is all of the information that we have...and it is probably more than you want to know unless you are in the healthcare profession and are interested on an academic level. :)
We have been extremely blessed with doctors that have tremendous devotion to their patients. The whole time we were there (well over 12 hours), the chief attending physician of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit stood by Jessica's side most of the time (except during rounds...and I THINK he ate). The chief cardiac surgeon was there most of the day (he came in between all of his surgeries and was also there late in the day). Even with their high position, both of them seem very humble. They took time with us several times during the day to discuss what was going on.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support!!!! We have great family and friends.