Captain met with the heart specialist today at KU Med Center and was told his HCM condition is on the worse end of the scale. The genetic defect has caused his left ventrical to grow extra thick on the inside (not swelling per se) with cells that mimic scar tissue. This thickness creates higher pressure and loss of volume/flow. He also has some bundle branch blocks that are affecting him with irregular or faster heartbeats. The other symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and of course, possible sudden death. (Everyone has heard of the athletes who die suddenly*, because most people with HCM are not aware of their own condition.) The severity of symptoms will vary from person to person, so it will be important to have our children checked out soon for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. According to Aunt Charlotte, there are several men on the Kisker side of the family who died suddenly in their 50s including Gr. Elizabeth's grandfather, his brother, and a couple cousins.
For now, Captain is ready to be done with the 30-days of heart monitoring, especially because the four latex pads have irritated his skin to the point of bleeding. And the monitor bangs against his chest whenever he rolls over in his sleep... The only bad episode recorded by the monitor was on February 17, when Captain stood up suddenly to cheer at the hockey game and nearly fainted.
Dr. Mulhern is advising the implantation of a defibrillator (much like a pacemaker). He also put Captain on a prescription of beta blockers to thin his blood slightly (i.e. keep the heart from racing and getting out of control). We will go to the partner in the practice tomorrow to see about the surgery procedure. We were duly impressed with Mulhern and his staff and the hospital facility. Which was a reassurance in these uncertain times. Luckily, Captain has pushed back his starting date at Flight Safety International for another month to attend to these necessities.
*Quirky Facts: one basketball player with a defibrillator was denied a spot on the team at Wichita State, and another college Bball player had his defibrillator shock him during a game!