05 April 2012

[Correction]: Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin

As Eddie was preparing to go to the OR, we told him the surgeons were going to take away his "other" heart. He gave us a funny look, screwing up his eyebrows, as if to tell us he didn't think that was such a good idea. As it turns out, he had the last laugh since he just came back to his room still attached to his Berlin heart!

So a couple surprises to note. First, after exploring with the transesophegeal ECHO, there were no signs of either left or right ventricular blood clots. We believe the LV clots dissolved or otherwise left the heart last night or this morning with no noticeable effect. The RV clot was clearly there during this morning's ECHO so we think it may have dislodged during today's procedure. But most importantly, there is no evidence of the kind of pulmonary distress associated with a pulmonary embolism.

Second, and perplexingly, we still found no bleeding in the pericardium. Since Eddie's bleeding seemed to have stopped about two hours before surgery (we thought it was probably due to a clot in his chest tube), Dr. Cohen was inclined to trust his eyes and leave good enough alone. That means the Berlin stays in place and we'll wait to see if the bleeding eventually stops.

Since the clots have disappeared, we're more comfortable turning off the Heparin for a couple days which should help the bleeding slow down. If we can get the bleeding to stop, then we'll turn the Heparin back on which should keep the Berlin pump clean. Regardless, we're back to playing the "wait and see" game and it's far too early to declare any definitive victory . . .

Sarah and I were treated to a bonus once Eddie came back to the room. Typically the nurses ask us to leave while they change his Berlin dressings (both for sterility reasons as well as some parents have been known to faint), but they thought it was about time we saw what they do each day. Neither of us fainted, but we can assure you it's not a sight for the "faint of heart" (pun intended). The combination of his ECMO and heart surgery incisions, two Berlin heart cannulae sites and two chest drainage tubes would have brought a smile to Victor Frankenstein's face.

So that's it . . . we'll keep the (non-alcoholic) champagne corked for now :-), but will celebrate each small victory as we find them.


  1. Wow, wasn't expecting this update but cautiously optimistic :) Love the picture of you two together and the Thomas train.
    Keeping you in our prayers as always!

  2. Wow, what a miracle....yet again. Thank you so much for the updates. We love you all,
    The Bostron's

  3. Happy to hear a little good news from the Harpers. A few answers to prayers! Hope things continue to go in a good direction for Eddie. Love you guys!

  4. guys, love you all and are happy to hear some goodness!! xoxoxoxo

  5. Catching up with you guys again - glad to hear that Eddie's heart machine (as we refer to it during daily prayers at our house) seems to be doing relatively ok.

  6. Prayers do work! So thankful he gets to keep the Berlin for now!

  7. Well, I guess this means we can all breathe a sigh of relief for about 3 maybe 4 hours??? I am amazed at how rapidly things change in this sweet boys life! I am glad to hear that things are looking brighter, for the time being anyway. A large miracle would be awesome, but I truly think it's the small miracles that keep us all going each day!! Love you nurse Sarah, nurse John, and sweet patient Eddie.
    ~Auntie Shannon