5/29/2007 – More awesome news!


Hannah had another ECHO today, and they measured her shortening fraction at 21% and 22%. She was really fussy and squirmy, so they weren’t able to do any more measurements. The cardiologist said it was MUCH better than that! Her mitral valve (which separates the left ventricle from the left atrium) is now fully closing with NO leakage! (Before, since her heart was so dilated, the leaflets of the mitral valve weren’t touching, so blood was recirculating between her left ventricle and left atrium.) Her heart literally looked brand new. I’ve never seen it contract so well! PRAISE GOD!!!

The cardiologist feels so good about her function that he’s beginning to wean her off of some of the heart failure and maintenance medications! This is another BIG answered prayer! She’s completely off of Digoxin and Aspirin, and her Carvedilol and Enalapril dosages have been changed to once a day instead of twice a day. In another three weeks, she will be completely off of the Carvedilol and Enalapril. They will have to do some blood work in a few weeks to make sure she’s not showing any signs of side-effects of the Amiodarone (the main anti-arrhythmia medication she’s on).

It’s becoming pretty clear that the AET is what caused all this in the first place. Her cardiologist feels like the next appointment in six weeks will show even more improvement in ventricular function, even with the reduced treatment. Hannah was sent home with a Holter monitor, just to make sure the Amiodarone is doing its job and controlling the arrhythmia.

As I look back at our journey over the past six months, it is so obvious that God has completely healed Hannah’s heart. She IS such an awesome testimony of the power of the God we serve, that He IS still in the miracle business!

Update – 5/28/2007

Hannah is still doing great!  We have another cardiologist appointment this Tuesday.  She’ll be taking home another Holter monitor, which she always hates, but it’s been a while since they’ve done one and they need to make sure that her arrhythmia is still being controlled by the medication.  We are expecting to hear another incredible report on Tuesday!  Of course, we’ll post an update as soon as we get home.

As a follow up to our last update, I am more convinced than ever that this arrhythmia (AET) caused all this in the first place.  Most of the cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy I’ve read about that were caused by a viral infection resulted in a necessary heart transplant for the patient.  When we first arrived at Ochsner, everyone said that she needed a new heart, and that a transplant was almost inevitable.  I remember when Hannah was getting her heart cath, and they took those biopsies, how we prayed that it WAS a viral infection and not genetic.  Back then, we were unaware that she had an arrhythmia, and had no idea that an arrhythmia could cause Dilated Cardiomyopathy.  We were so shocked that the biopsy results came back negative for a viral infection, and almost disappointed because we had no idea what caused it.  God knew what He was doing!  In His perfect timing, everything has worked out and the pieces have fallen into place.  I asked Hannah’s cardiologist if he had looked at her EKG’s from Ochsner any more and if he saw any traces of AET.  He never noticed anything from those EKG’s.  I asked if the IV medications she was on back then could have been controlling the arrhythmia if it was present, and he replied that that is a definite possibility.

So for now, her medications will remain the same, and they will continue to monitor her heart for any signs of AET.  We are believing that they will see nothing but a PERFECT, SINUS RHYTHM.  After a while, they will begin to wean her from some of her other heart medications.  Eventually, we know that she won’t need to be on medication.  What a glorious day that will be!

5/1/2007 – AWESOME NEWS!

Today we received the best news of our lives!

Hannah had another cardiologist appointment today.  First of all, she has gained 5 ounces!  I could tell that she had “chunked out” a little bit even since Friday when Lori took her to Beaumont.  Originally her cardiologist was just going to increase the dosages of some of her medications and send us home with another Holter monitor.  After Lori expressed her disappointment with the Holter, he decided to do another ECHO to see what her heart was doing.

Hannah’s shortening fraction was measured at 25%!!!!!  THIS IS IN THE NORMAL RANGE!!!!!  (Normal shortening fraction is between 23% and 44%.)  Her entire heart is contracting exactly the way it should be, with every part moving!  Everyone in that office was screaming with excitement!  God continues to amaze us!  He is so faithful!  We knew there was a reason that we were back in the hospital in March, when Hannah was diagnosed with AET (ectopic atrial tachycardia).  We prayed and prayed that God would use the arrhythmia to help the doctors know how to treat her better, and that after the AET was under control she would get better FASTER.  That is EXACTLY what has begun to happen!

Her cardiologist said that improved heart function with improved rhythm control suggests that the AET caused the dilated cardiomyopathy in the first place.  This coincides with the biopsy results from Ochsner, but there are still some unknowns.  For instance, at Ochsner, they never saw any signs of arrhythmia in her EKG’s.

But you know what?  None of the “unknowns” matter.  What matters is what we DO know — that GOD is in control!  We give Him all the praise and glory for continuing to heal Hannah’s heart!  He continues to guide us and walk with us every step of this journey.  We know that ONE DAY, Hannah will not be on ANY medication, and HER HEART WILL BE COMPLETELY HEALED!  Please continue to pray for Hannah, praising God for what He has already done, and claiming that victory that we know has already been won!  This race isn’t over, but we’re much closer to the finish line!

This is BY FAR the best day of our lives (SO FAR)!!!