Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's official, Bruschi is back

As I mentioned previously, I hope that Bruschi made the right decision for himself and his family. And if the reports are true, then the medical people have all agreed that he is cleared to play.

A couple of notes on what the doctors are saying. Teddy will be at a higher risk for having another stroke than other players on the field, but not because he's playing football. He's just at a higher risk because he already had one. According to all the medical people, his surgery was a success in blocking a small hole between the two upper chambers of the heart.

The specialists said the hole can allow small blood clots that would otherwise be absorbed in the lungs to pass from one chamber of the heart to another and then travel to the brain. There, clots that would be innocuous elsewhere in the body can become wedged in narrow vessels, blocking blood flow to a portion of the brain and causing a stroke.

From Kevin, M.D. a medical weblog: He underwent percutaneous repair at Massachusetts General Hospital, either with a Amplatzer PFO occluder or CardioSEAL/STARFlex (picture below) - most likely the latter since this is the preferred PFO occluder used at MGH.

The device is folded into a special catheter, inserted in a vein, moved into the heart and through the hole. The device is slowly pushed out of the delivery catheter, allowing each umbrella to open up and cover each side of the hole and close it. When the device is in proper position, it is released. The delivery catheter is then removed. The device remains in the heart and serves to close the hole.

After that, the heart grows around the device, effectively sealing the hole.

From Bruschi's interview yesterday:
How lucky do you feel to be able to play again?
There were times in my mind when I thought I was done. I thought I was done at times. C'mon, I can'’t see, I can barely walk. How am I going to be able to play football again? I'm just being honest with you here. That'’s the way I felt. So to come from there, all the way to where I am now –- to looking forward to getting all of the doctors to tell me the same thing, to being able to resume my career, to do what I love, I'’m very excited. If I could express to you what this means to me, I would. But I don'’t know if I really can. I'm sorry.

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