Posts Tagged ‘Classic Glenn Shunt’

A helpful book!

December 8, 2009

Every now and again I will mention this book, because I think it is so useful and important. I own a copy, but I am not affiliated with the publisher. I’m not earning anything if you choose to purchase this book.

A book that I highly recommend for any heart family is The Illustrated Field Guide to Congenital Heart Disease and Repair. This book is a great guide to Congenital Heart Defects – the book lists 35 seperate defects – and the operations used to correct them. There are also chapters on Echocardiograms, Electrophysiology, common cardiac drugs, and catherizations.

There is a little bit of Doctor-Talk in the text – an experienced patient or heart parent won’t have any difficulty with the terminology, but someone entering the CHD world for the first time may have a little bit of trouble understanding it. This really isn’t a problem, since there are many diagrams – you can see what you may not be able to read!

There are two versions: The pocket sized version is 4 inches by 7.5 inches, small enough to slip into a purse. It’s a little big for your pocket, but a man could carry it between their belt and the small of their back. A wire binding allows the book to lay flat on a table.

The larger version (7 inches by 10.5 inches) has a little bit different content that the smaller version. The Large format contains a section of “abandoned” heart surgeries – the Classic Glenn Shunt and the Waterston Shunt are two examples. Other than that, the two books have the same content.It also has a wire binding.

You can purchase the Guide here. Both versions are available, but do not let the need for a purchase order scare you (or the $200 minimum order for a purchase order, either!) This company sells a lot of items to doctors offices and hospitals, situations where a purchase order is needed. But they also sell retail, and have no problem sending you one copy of anything. Apparently they recognize the fact that there are a lot of non medical people who need information about Heart Defects. (Good for them!)

They also sell The Illustrated Guide to Adult Congenital Heart Disease. A friend tells me this book is very informative, but I have never seen a copy, so I can’t recommend it.

But I have used the CHD Guide, and I highly recommend that book!

Eli and Me

February 16, 2009

Good news from Lisa, who’s son Eli had surgery on Monday, February 9: Eli is doing great! Surgeons closed his ASD, resceted a “blob” of extra tissue near the Pulmonary Artery, and then performed the Bi-directional Glenn. Everything went well and Eli was discharged three days later! (And I get to tell you again that the drawing on the Glenn Operation page is not the Bi-directional Glenn… it’s the Unidirectional Glenn, sometimes called the Classic Glenn. It’s the operation that I have!)

February 9 is going to be your second birthday, Eli. Trust me on this one, I know. Because I’m coming up on my second birthday:  On February 17, 1967, I had my first heart surgery.

“He’s down to hours,” Cardiologist Richard Rowe told my parents that Friday night. “We need to go to surgery right now.” Afterwards I was in the hospital three weeks; Eli only had to stay three days. Three days – times sure have changed!

You probably won’t see a post on my second birthday, since I’m traveling. I’ll be heading to Atlanta, where on Wednesday morning my Cardiologist will put his stethoscope to my chest and hear that Classic Glenn Shunt just chuggin’ along.

So Happy (second) Birthday, Eli! And I hope you have many, many more!

Your buddy;

The Funky Heart

My Glenn Shunt is worth more on eBay!

October 13, 2008

Yeah, you read that right. My Glenn Shunt would bring a higher price on eBay! Yours? Not so much. I have a classic vintage model, so the price would be higher!

I’m kidding with you, obviously. If you happen to need a Glenn Shunt (or any other heart operation) then the true cost is out of your reach; it’s priceless.

The Glenn Shunt is one of the oldest heart operations around. It was first described in 1951, and Dr. William Glenn of Yale University first reported performing the procedure successfully in 1958. Since he was the first person to routinely have success, the operation bears his name. (If you or someone you know has a Glenn shunt, please click THIS LINK and download and read the PDF file. There is a lot of important information here that you need to know!)

When I tell people I have a Glenn Shunt, the ones who know what I’m talking about will nod their heads knowingly. Most of the time, though, they are still wrong. My Glenn was done in 1967, and I am a proud owner of a Classic Glenn Shunt. Most of the Glenns done today are the Bidirectional Glenn Shunt.

So what’s the difference? Before you describe the Glenn, it helps to have a diagram to help you visualize it. Click HERE for a useful diagram of the heart.

In the Classic Glenn, the Superior Vena Cava (The large vessel that leads into the Right Atrium) is closed near the Right Atrium (usually, it is not cut, but rather sewn closed.) The Pulmonary Artery (the “T” shaped blood vessel that runs under the “loop” formed by the Aorta) is also cut… the right branch of the Pulmonary Artery is disconnected. The hole left by cutting the right branch of the Artery is sewn closed, and then the right branch is connected to the side of the Superior Vena Cava.  By doing this, the Right Atrium is completely removed from the blood flow. Blood coming to the heart through the Superior Vena Cava now goes directly to the Right Lung, and flows back to the Left Atrium normally. Then it goes through the Left Ventricle and back out to the body.

The Bidirectional Glenn was invented, surprisingly, in 1966. While it was around when I had my Classic Glenn in 1967, my operation was the fifth Glenn Shunt (of any kind) that had been performed at Johns Hopkins; so it is a safe assumption that the surgeons weren’t prepared to try the new version just yet. In fact, the Bidirectional Glenn really came into its own in the 1980’s, when it became the second step in the three operation Norwood Procedure used to combat Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).  It’s also part of the Fontan Procedure, sometimes performed as a seperate operation as part of a Staged Fontan.  The biggest difference in the two operations is that in the Classic Glenn, the Superior Vena Cava is completely cut and sewn into the right branch of the Pulmonary Artery. In the Bidirectional Glenn the Pulmonary Artery is not cut, which allows blood flow to both lungs.

It’s important for someone with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) to know what “version” of an operation they have had. For years, I told doctors “I have a Glenn Shunt,” not knowing that the operation had been changed. After I had told a new doctor that I had a Glenn Shunt, he slapped my X-Ray on the lightboard, took a long pause, and finally said “I don’t know what the hell this is, but it ain’t no Glenn Shunt.” Only after the head of the Cardiology Department came in and said “I haven’t seen one of those in a while!” did I realize that simply saying “Glenn Shunt” wasn’t good enough. Thankfully that snafu occured during a routine office visit and not a crisis visit to an Emergency Department.