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Thursday, January 13, 2011

GI and Pulmonary Appointments

Charlotte has had a busy week. Yesterday she meet with the GI department at CHOP and today she had a follow up with the Pulmonologist, had a milk scan, and was evaluated for a sleep study. Phew. I don't know how she keeps up with herself... did that make sense? Must be the lack of sleep.


The GI suggestions depend a lot on the results from the milk scan. Charlotte's been having some problems with her feedings, and has a difficult time keeping her oxygen saturations up while sleeping.

I'm going to ramble here with a bit of an explanation, so those who want to can skip it.

When Charlotte had her g-tube placed, she also had a nissen fundoplication done as well. The nissen procedure takes the top of the stomach and wraps it around the esophagus, creating a valve that only allows things to come from the mouth into the stomach, and not allowing things from the stomach to flow up to the mouth. Vomiting, burping, spitting up, etc are not "possible" for Charlotte. {the quotes indicate that anything is possible in real life}. Since part of Charlotte's stomach is wrapped around the esophagus, there isn't as much space in her belly for food. So she can only take about 2 ounces of formula at once. (A 10 month old typically takes about 6 ounces at a time). So Charlotte gets 2 ounces 4 times a day, and then, to make up for the missing calories and fluid, she is fed continuously at night for ten hours. Charlotte has been having an increasingly difficult time with these nighttime feedings. She's been gagging and retching so much that she often turns blue, and cannot breathe, which tends to be an important thing to do. Luckily we have nursing and they have fancy things like ambu bags to keep her breathing.

So far, we've changed her fluid volume, spread her feedings out so they take longer (she's fed via a pump that feeds at a certain rate since she can't stretch her stomach fast enough to take all the volume at once), and added special bags that should help her vent (she can't burp, so the air has to be vented from her belly). So far we've seen some improvement, but not enough to be thrilled. Actually, not even enough to be comfortable with the current status quo.

The surgery team (who placed her g-tube and performed the fundoplication) and the GI team are currently suggesting that we change Charlotte to a GJ tube. Her current feeding tube feeds right into the stomach, while the GJ tube would feed into her stomach during the day, and into her intestines during her night time feedings. We're not totally on board with this suggestion, as we feel it takes care of her symptoms and doesn't address the problem behind it. Of course, that's a problem in and of itself, since we have NO idea what that problem actually is.

So we're waiting it out. We'll get the results from the milk maybe tomorrow, but probably next week. From this scan we'll find out if her stomach is emptying too fast (called dumping syndrome) or if it is emptying too slowly (called delayed gastric emptying). Either of these problems could causing the gagging/retching episodes that we have been witnessing. We'd treat dumping with fiber (tricky, huh?) and delayed gastric emptying would be treated with a motility agent (usually an antibiotic).

If it isn't one of those, it could be that her esophagus is narrowed. At that point, we'll work on treatments for that.

Clear as mud, eh?

Pulmonary wrap up will have to come in another post. But you knew that was going to happen, right?

1 comment:

  1. It sure is a good thing she's cute because Charlotte sure likes to keep people guessing and on their toes! I hope they can figure it all out and come up with a plan that everyone is on board with soon. I'm glad Charlotte has access to all of those crackerjack doctors at CHOP!