Thursday, February 28, 2013

Balloon Angioplasty Number 2

My last update on Mom was on February 16. So does that mean there haven't been any issues? Well, no. Loyal readers will know we usually can't go a week without some sort of issue.

At Mom's dialysis session on Friday, February 22, one of the doctors from Plano Vascular Center visited the dialysis clinic. He was the doctor who replaced Mom’s permacath when she had the massive bleeding incident in October. He periodically visits the dialysis clinics in the area to check on the patients’ catheters and fistulas. He had reviewed Mom’s file and said he thinks she needs to have another procedure like the one she had in December where a balloon-like device is temporarily inserted into the fistula. He said it’s not urgent. Mom scheduled that for Tuesday, February 26.

At some point after this doctor left, and before her dialysis session was done, the dialysis machine started clogging up. They had to stop dialysis early because they could not get the clog cleared up. The tech tried to do something with the needles in the fistula, but at some point he said he couldn’t get it right without hurting Mom a lot more.

Mom had the balloon procedure on Tuesday of this week, and it went fine. (It's called balloon angioplasty. Here's a good article about it that isn't full of medical terminology: This one was done fairly close to her right elbow. The procedure is done with a local anesthetic. The doctor threads a catheter with a balloon on the end into the vein or artery, and then slowly inflates the balloon once it's in the right spot. This widening of the blood vessel not only increases the blood flow through the fistula, but it makes it easier for the tech to get a needle into it. The doctor indicated to Mom that this is a fairly common procedure that is needed to maintain fistulas for dialysis, so she’ll likely need it again. She's been to Plano Vascular Center so many times it must be like going to Cheers (where everybody knows your name . . .)

Generally speaking, Mom is doing fair. Her hemoglobin was recently up to 9.7, which is as high as it's been since last summer, but she is still frequently tired and has a hard time staying warm, especially after a dialysis session. We keep wondering when things are going to become "stable" with her dialysis. Hopefully this isn't it.

No comments: