Today was my first day in the PICU for my shadowing experience--it was amazing! I obviously cannot go too into detail because of HIPPA violations and such, but I will give a bit of an overview where, fingers crossed, I'll be working! Shands has a 24 bed PICU, usually at least half of the beds are composed of heart patients because we have an outstanding congenital heart center. We are usually at census (which means we are at max capacity), which is a good thing and can be a bad thing.
Shands is a University hospital so we get a ton of cutting edge patients, which is amazing! I am someone who is constantly craving something new and challenging. Today I got to see both a Berlin Heart and an ECMO machine.
Basically a lay explanation for a Berlin Heart is an external heart, there are tubes implanted into the heart and then the blood circulated into both the pulmonary system and the circulatory system solely via this machine. This machine is a last resort, children who are put on this machine are done when their hearts are basically dead and the only other option is a transplant. The Berlin Heart gives them extra time, I think the longest we have had a kid on it stateside is just over a year. It is pretty fascinating.
The lay explanation of an ECMO machine is a heart-lung bypass. This machine provides both cardiac and respiratory support oxygen to patient's whose heart and lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can't function anymore (source). This is a machine that a patient can come off of unlike the Berlin Heart without a transplant.
Anyways, Phillip will call this blog "Science talk with Meghan." So there it is. :)
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