So I was reading through my blog tonight, and I realized that I have never actually explained what “Persitant Pulmonary Hypertension” is. I guess I orginially hoped that people would just “google” it to find out what it was, but that was when I had only a limited understanding of it myself. My understanding has broadened (that’s an understatement) so now I can explain it like a champ.
So here’s a simple run down. The heart pumps blood to the lungs. The blood receives oxygen from the lungs and then the blood goes through vessels in the lungs to carry the now oxygenated blood to the other organs of the body. Little Jack has PPHN which means those vessels in the lungs are constricted (or not open enough) for the oxygenated blood to get through in order to get the blood to the organs of the body. And that is PPHN.
The problem now is that Jack’s heart kept pumping and pumping and trying to push that blood through those constricted blood vessels. The more the heart worked, the more unecessary muscle it built up. If the heart were to build up too much muscle, it would close off all cavities and cease to function. The cavities in Jack’s heart were getting smaller and smaller (filled with muscle) so the decision to put him on ECMO was made. The idea is to give his overworked heart a break (in order to lose the muscle build up) and also relieve some of the pressure so the PPHN can ease up.