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Q&A about more surgery

posted Mar 8, 2013, 7:04 AM by Becca K.   [ updated Mar 8, 2013, 2:50 PM ]
The following Q&A occurred mostly in my head, though some was spurred from conversations with my mommy.

More surgery? Why? Natalie’s portal vein is 100% blocked. It has been for over 2 years. Maybe 3. We don’t know the exact moment the darned thing decided to close. It’s closing has put excess pressure on other veins, vessels, collateral, etc.  Her spleen is enlarged because of the excess pressure.

When? We don’t know. It will depend on Natalie, I guess. We will do a scope and see if there are any varices (varicose veins). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esophageal_varices (Graphic pictures of the esophagus contained at the link – just saying.)

What if they see varices? If the varices are severe – they will try to band them. One could burst (i.e. the bleed that I spoke of previously) and that would be BAD.

Does the banding work? Not always. But sometimes. Reassuring, right?

Why surgery (again)? The Distal Splenorenal Shunt Procedure selectively reduces the pressure in the varices (the large, swollen veins that develop across the stomach and esophagus) and controls the bleeding. During the surgery, the vein from the spleen (called the splenic vein) is detached from the portal vein and reattached to the left kidney (renal) vein.

So what now? We schedule a scope. Then we watch and wait. We have the luxury of time, for now. She hasn’t had a bleed. That is important. (KNOCK ON WOOD). If she did, the time table becomes much smaller.



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