Biopsy results are in


News we were praying for.

I wish I could say it smooth sailing now, but when Lauren was in surgery having her biopsy the Dr. found that Lauren has an arteriovenous fistula in her groin area.  When you hear the Dr. trying to explain to you what it is, all I heard was Lauren has something wrong and she might need surgery.  I went numb.   At this point, we spoke with her transplant team yesterday, yes they gave us the great news no rejection, but they also told us the they are contacting a vascular surgeon.  Our first appointment they told us will probably be they will need to do an ultra sound  to see the extent of the fistula.  Then we will know more.  To try to explain what I am talking about:

An arteriovenous (AV) fistula is an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein. Normally, blood flows from your arteries to your capillaries to your veins. Nutrients and oxygen in your blood travel from your capillaries to tissues in your body.

With an arteriovenous fistula, blood flows directly from an artery into a vein, bypassing some capillaries. When this happens, tissues below the bypassed capillaries receive a diminished blood supply.

Causes of arteriovenous fistulas include:  This is how Lauren’s biopsy procedure is done.

Cardiac catheterization. An arteriovenous fistula may develop as a complication of a procedure called cardiac catheterization. During cardiac catheterization, a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted in an artery or vein in your groin, neck or arm and threaded through your blood vessels to your heart.

If the needle used in the catheterization crosses an artery and vein during your procedure, and the artery is widened (dilated), this can create an arteriovenous fistula. This rarely happens.

Catheterization procedure
The patient lies face up on a table during the catheterization procedure, and is connected to a cardiac monitor . The insertion site is numbed with a local anesthetic, and access to the vein or artery is obtained using a needle. A sheath, a rigid plastic tube that facilitates insertion of catheters and infusion of drugs, is placed in the puncture site. Under fluoroscopic guidance, a guide-wire (a thin wire that guides the catheter insertion) is threaded through a brachial or femoral artery to the heart. The catheter, a flexible or preshaped tube approximately 32–43 in (80–110 cm) long, is then inserted over the wire and threaded to the arterial side of the heart. The patient may experience pressure as the catheter is threaded into the heart. The contrast agent, or dye, used for imaging is then injected so that the physician can view the heart and surrounding vessels. The patient may experience a hot, flushed feeling or slight nausea following injection of the contrast medium. Depending on the type of catheterization (left or right heart) and the area being imaged, different catheters with various shapes and ends are used.

F3.large Hope this picture helps explain.

The procedure usually lasts about two or three hours. If further intervention is necessary, an angioplasty, stent implantation, or other procedure can be performed. At the end of the catheterization, the catheter and sheath are removed, and the puncture site is closed using a sealing device or manual compression to stop the bleeding. One commonly used sealing device is called Perclose, which allows the doctor to sew up the hole in the groin. Other devices use collagen seals to close the hole in the femoral artery.

The femoral blood vessels are important conduits for blood traveling between the heart and lower limb. The femoral artery carries blood to the lower limb while the femoral vein carries blood back to the heart. These structures are common sites for conditions that cause narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels.

This past week-end, I kinda lost it.  The thought of something wrong, living in the hospital again was very overwhelming.  I needed to get my anger out and thank god for my family, I took it out on them.  Mom, Donna and Laureen sorry, but thank you.  Your family is the only ones that you can let loose and know they are there for you.

Will post when we hear more.


Lauren’s yearly heart biopsy

So tomorrow we are venturing off to Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston Ma. for Lauren’s yearly biopsy.  It will be a two day event.  On Thursday first appointment is her echo, then a clinic visit and finally a stress test.  Day two –  heart biopsy.  Being a two day hospital visit, we are staying over night at a local hotel.  During the visit Lauren will not be in the hospital.  Just day appointments.  So after her appointments we plan on visiting some of the wonderful people that helped us during our time there.  Like seeing old friends.

Wish us well, that everything goes well.  Let’s pray for a negative test result, meaning no rejection.


A update on Lauren’s results from her Biopsy

News from Boston

Lauren had her biopsy, a couple of weeks a go.  As I said, there was no rejection.  They wanted Lauren to have her blood work done again in  week to recheck her taccrolimus levels.  They were a little low, so they upped her dosage for a week and then have it rechecked.

Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressive drug used mainly after allogeneic organ transplant to reduce the activity of the patient’s immune system and to lower the risk of organ rejection

Friday Lauren’s Dr. from Boston called and said, they have to make another adjustment.  So now they lower it a bit, and also lowered her potassium by one capsule 750mg.  Lauren has been taking 5 a day so now 4 a day.  Tacrolimus can interact with your kidneys.  So Lauren’s kidney levels were elevated. They also adjusted her torsemide from 100 mgs. twice a day to 50 mgs twice a day


Torsemide belongs to the group of medicines called loop diuretics. Torsemide is given to help reduce the amount of water in the body in certain conditions, such as congestive heart failure, severe liver disease (cirrhosis), or kidney disease. It works by acting on the kidneys to increase the flow of urine.


These are all the meds Lauren has to take every day.  I sometimes feel like  small pharmacy here.

Since the transplant, I have learned the lesson that medicine is a science.   It takes a lot of adjusting.  Factors can be the time she takes them, food Lauren eats, exercise and most important fluids she drinks.

Lauren takes a total of 26 pills through the day.  We fill her pill boxes once a week so everything is organized and ready for the day.

We have a new phrase around here ‘It’s that time of the month”, meaning refill time.


Today is the waiting day, Lauren’s biopsy results……….

DonateLife Logo CMYK_large

Yesterday, Lauren had her heart biopsy.  Off to Boston.  Her last biopsy was 3 months ago all  good.  Lauren had her heart transplant on Dec. 30, 2013. Since the transplant she has had 2 slight rejections, the dr.’s told us that is normal.  Well, it might be normal to have a slight rejection, those are the words you do not want to hear.  They needed to adjust her medication to correct rejection.  The rejections were at the beginning of her journey after transplant, we haven’t had one in a while.  Thank God.

If you read my last post, it explains the biopsy process.  When a body receives a new organ through transplant it will always see it as a foreign organ.  That is why a recipient must always take rejection medication every day.

So anyway, it was a long day yesterday for Lauren.  Biopsy, echo, then a visit to the clinic to talk with the dr.  From what they saw everything looks good.  Her pressures where a little high, but they always have been.  After the biopsy, they send it to the lab and check for rejection.  That process takes 24 hours.  So, by the end of the day we will receive a phone call with the news.  Please, say a prayer…no rejection.