March 22, 2012

First update

Today was Tim's first return visit to Children's.  The morning rush hour drive was less than pleasant, but overall it was a low stress visit.  Tim's exam was good today. His pacemaker is working well, and he's had no arrhythmias since he left the hospital. He's holding his own for now and we're just waiting.  He was officially listed for transplant last night, March 21.

The only real news today is that his blood tests came back highly sensitized, meaning that he's developed a lot of antibodies as a result of previous blood transfusions. This can make his chance of rejection hig...her, but the doctors have several ways to monitor and combat it. Right now, while he waits for transplant, he will have monthly IV infusions of immunoglobin therapy, which should help reduce his sensitivity. I found this blurb online at Cedars-Sinai Hospital's website which seems to explain it pretty well:

How IVIG Therapy Works

Immunoglobulins are proteins naturally produced within the body that are natural defenses against invading organisms. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy has been used for years to treat immune system disorders.

IVIG is a processed form of immunoglobulin. It is made from blood plasma. Immunoglobulin is injected into a vein to protect the patient from infection and immune diseases.

IVIG therapy reduces HLA sensitivity by adding helpful antibodies to the patient's bloodstream. This lowers the level of HLA antibodies and blocks their ability to attack a transplanted organ. IVIG therapy can be used successfully in both adults and children seeking transplants.

Unlike many anti-rejection therapies, IVIG does not suppress the entire immune system, but actually boosts the patient's protection against infection.

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