Brennan Anderson

First post: Jun 13, 2021 Latest post: Jun 30, 2021
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Brennan's Story...

About 7 years ago or so we got our first trampoline.  When jumping, Brennan complained of his heart hurting to the point of crying. I thought he was just out of shape (HA!...nice mom) and not used to all that physical activity so my advice was that it would get easier, better, and he just needed to jump more often!  While I was kind of dismissive, I did mention this to his Nurse Practitioner when we went in for a well child check up.  She listened to his heart and asked if anyone had told us he had a heart murmur, to which we answered no.  She referred us on to pediatric cardiology to have it checked out.  We got connected to a pediatric cardiologist by the name of Dr. O'Leary who would come to Mayo in EC on occasion from Mayo in Rochester, MN.  We learned Brennan did not have a heart murmur, but instead had a biscuspid aortic valve with aortic enlargement.  A bicuspid aortic valve is an aortic valve that has two flaps or cusps instead of three.  This has caused a significant amount of backward flow of blood or regurgitation and has enlarged his aorta.  An enlarged aorta increases the risk of a tear in the lining of the aorta so Brennan was told he should not participate in any full contact sports for fear of what a blow to the chest could do.  A biscuspid aortic valve can be hereditary so we all went in for an EKG.  Brennan was the only one who has it.  They tell us it is a true blessing for this to be discovered as often times it goes undetected.  When you hear about those young athletes dropping dead  out on the football field they probably had something similar that had gone undetected.  So, we are so very thankful it was detected!

We have been doctoring through Mayo for many years and we knew at some point Brennan would need to have an open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve.  The hope was to get him to be close to an adult so they wouldn't have to replace a child's sized one that he would outgrow to then put in an adult sized one.  When we went to Rochester a few months ago for a day of appointments we were told, "The time has come."

There are a couple different options for Brennan.  The first option and the one we are hoping and praying for is the Ross Procedure.  This one is newer to the medical community.  They will go in and remove Brennan's bad aortic valve and replace the aortic valve with his pulmonary valve.  They will then replace his pulmonary valve with a cadaver valve.   The aortic valve is the valve that works the hardest in the body and because it does so much work it can't take someone else's valve.  The pulmonary valve does not have to work nearly as hard as the aortic valve so this one can handle a cadaver valve.  This surgery is a bit riskier as both of Brennan's valves will be operated on at the same time but it would NOT require him to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life and that would be a major bonus!

The second option is for Brennan to receive a mechanical valve.  This option is tried and true and they know exactly what they are doing with this procedure. However, this one would require Brennan to have to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life, which would come with many downfalls.

So, we are hoping and praying his pulmonary valve is healthy enough to take over the super important job of the aortic valve. 

We will be heading to Rochester on Sunday, June 13th. Starting at 7 AM on Monday we have a full day of appointments at Mayo Clinic and then on Tuesday we will be at St. Mary's Hospital for the surgery with Dr. Dearani and his team.  We were told to plan on being there for a week, give or take. 

 Please keep Brennan in your prayers...let's pray for a successful Ross procedure and a smooth recovery!!

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