Sunday, February 20, 2011

One Ventrical Heart

Posted by Jody at Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is a one-ventrical heart possible? If so, is it functional? Can a person survive with a one-ventrical heart?

These are all the questions I asked myself when I heard this term on the first day of rotation. I was in the PCTU (pediatric cardio/thoracic unit) at the University of Michigan Health System.

I must say the first couple of weeks I was quite lost. I wasn’t that familiar with the physiology of a normal heart, now I needed to learn the physiology of numerous congenital defects. Conditions such as tetrology of fallot (TOF), patent ductus arteriosus (PAD), transposition of the great vessels, hypoplastic right heart syndrome.

The first few weeks I spent most of my time learn various heart defects and how it affects the physiology and hemodynamics. Each morning I arrived at the hospital between 5-5:30am to work-up my patients. It was surprising how much could change over night. After working up my patients I would go to the bedside and look at medication drips and talk with the night nurses. Rounds typically started at 8am and go until roughly 11:30am. Then it was time to work-up my patients again and follow-up with any changes that occurred on rounds since discussion with my preceptor occurred from 3-5pm.

The goal of this rotation was not to master cardiology or pediatrics for that matter. This rotation taught you how to assess the patient, not just looking at the meds or lab values on the computer screen but going to the bedside to assess the patient and the entire clinical picture. I learned how to sift through all the information and determine what’s the most critical data. I understand the importance of staying active on rounds – always asking myself, why was it appropriate their was a change (or no change) in the drug therapy. This rotation taught me valuable skills and insight in how to manage patients in the clinical setting. I was hard work and long hours, but in the end well worth it.

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