Sunday, November 21, 2010

Feeding Intolerance or Bacterial Overgrowth in the Small Bowel ???

So for the past week we have been entertaining the idea that Kaitlyn may have a bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine. It might explain the bloating that we have had, the gas and intolerance in feeds! However, I don't think it explains the gastroparesis and duodenal paralysis, the low to no bowel sounds and the fact that she still has barium throughout her intestine two weeks after surgery!! Our surgeon thinks the bacterial overgrowth may be what's causing the feeding intolerance. He has consulted GI and they have decided that they will treat Kaitlyn for bacterial overgrowth, as there is no way to really accurately test for bacterial overgrowth. The best way to tell if bacteria is causing her feeding intolerance is to treat for bacterial overgrowth and then try to feed her again. GI has recommended an antibiotic to be given through Kaitlyn's J-tube (treat the infection directly!) and has placed her back on Cisapride (motility med.)!

We were also having issues with low grade fevers and off and on fevers! We cultured EVERYTHING!! All cultures came back negative....except low growth yeast from her throat! (Guess that might explain the THICK white quarter sized plugs we have been pulling out on the end of our 12Fr catheters!!! YUCK!! Kaitlyn had a few days before we started treating for bacterial overgrowth that she was feeling miserable. She was not sleeping, she had the fevers, she was whining almost continuously, and sometimes was even crying!! We couldn't find anything wrong. In the meantime we kept watching her haemoglobin levels get worse and worse! She was really anemic!! We decided to do a transfusion of packed red cells! About half way through the transfusion Kaitlyn stopped whining and went to bed really well (she actually went to SLEEP)!! Then the next thing we notice is her fever is gone...and doesn't return!! The next day she was acting like normal Kaitlyn again (just a little tired from missing so much sleep the past few days)!

Because of the fevers and the no sleeping and crying Infectious Disease ordered a CT scan to rule out any inflammation/infection in the small bowel or other organs that we have been unable to see with other diagnostic imaging. The CT scan was clear, but did show us that both hips are dislocated. This is quite common with SMA, particularly the weaker children/adults. No intervetion is typically needed as there is just no muscle there to support the joint! We did have proper x-rays done of her hips to document the bones as they are right now!

Here's the journal of our past week:

November 16

What a rough couple of days! Kaitlyn has been unable to rest...and I mean NO restful sleep for almost three days! She has been crying a LOT, fussy and just NOT herself. Her hemoglobin finally dropped to 68 and our pediatrician called it....she's not making enough new blood! We had to give her a transfusion of red blood last night. What a difference it made in her sleep. She went to bed around 10pm and is still sleeping now at 8am!! I got my Kaitlyn back :) She is now exhibiting some discomfort when we touch her belly and x-rays are clear, ultrasounds are clear, all cultures sent are clear and her tummy is still soft!!! Today we are having a CT scan to rule out anything minute we might be missing!!! I almost hope they find something (something fixable!!!!!!). This "not knowing" what's going on, not understanding why she is not tolerating any feeds is driving me NUTS!! We are also working towards getting the paperwork started for home TPN!! This process apparently is supposed to take several months!!! Owen's Birthday was on Sunday! My big guy is 6 years old now :) He is the bestest of all big brothers and we are so proud of him!!!

November 18

Kaitlyn is a different kid since her blood transfusion two nights ago!! The fussies have stopped, the fevers have stopped, the really high blood pressures have stopped and blood pressure is stabilizing!! Her HR has gone down 30 bpm and she is sleeping peacefully through the night again :) CT scan was abnormalities. Heamoglobin is up to 117 from 68! Kaitlyn is chronically anemic, we almost never see normal haemoglobin values :)

GI has decided to put Kaitlyn back on Cisapride and begin treating with antifungals/antibiotics for a possible bacterial overgrowth in her small bowel! This is our last effort to get her gut working. In the meantime we have started the process to get home TPN!! Apparently the longest part of the process to get home is the training involved to teach the families how to run the TPN at home!!! Can you see me rolling my eyes folks!!!!! If Kaitlyn's issue is bacterial overgrowth it might not look so good for enteral feeds...but we will be giving it our best shot!

November 19

Kaitlyn was in such a good mood today :) Laughing and playing her funny little games! She had her nurse in stitches..hehehe. Update: Hypertension diagnosis is official! Renin levels came back twice the normal values!! We have doubled her dose of Blood Pressure med and her BP seems to have stabilized over the past couple of days. She will remain on BP meds for the rest of her life. CT scan showed dislocated hips :( We knew the left was out. They do not seem to be causing her any discomfort on a regular basis at this time!

We have started an antibiotic through her J tube to fight the possible bacterial overgrowth! We have also restarted the Cisapride (motility med.) for what GI calls the "what can it hurt....and if it helps even 10%"!! We are giving this stomach one last chance and we are putting everything we've got into it!! She is on half vivonex/half pedialyte mix and is running at 10cc per hour. So far she is looking pretty good! We are definitely getting more by way of residuals, but they are clear (for the most part) and only slightly tinted yellow/green!! Do I dare to say that the belly might actually look a wee bit less distended tonight?? SHHHHH...don't tell her I said that!!!

TPN....UGH....TPN! What a HUGE hassle!!! There is a special TPN board in which a handful of people sit in specialized positions?? One of the main decision makers for the home TPN process is away on sabbatical until January! The nurse specialist (also highly important for the home TPN process) is away on vacation!!! She won't be available for a meeting to even discuss the option of Home TPN until Decemeber 8!!! So if the belly doesn't work, then we are stuck here until after the 8th of December! We are doing everything else we can in the meantime! We will be trained on how to run TPN at home. We will be practising accessing Kaitlyn's port and disconnecting and connecting lines! We have done everything already that we need to know except for the changing of the actual needle in her port!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

G-J Tube Surgery

Kaitlyn had her G-J tube surgery Nov. 3. She had to be intubated as the surgeon had to place a scope to help him guide the new tube into place. She had to have her G-tube stoma stretched to take a larger G-J tube. Our surgeon then placed the J-tube and advanced the tube well into the small bowel. Everything went so smoothly! The biggest hitch about the surgery itself was that the anesthetist knocked out one of her front teeth :( They took Kaitlyn to PICU after surgery for recovery. This way Tim and I have access to her immediately after surgery....and she is where she needs to be in case of complications. But, like a trooper, she pulled through surgery yet again with flying colors and extubated to her own vent as soon as they were happy with the placement of the J-tube and that there were no perforations, etc. She did so well we were back up to our room in PMU two hours after she was extubated!!

Other than being in a little discomfort from all the air they pumped her full doing the surgery, Kaitlyn's surgical recovery was quick! She was pretty much recovered by the third day post surgery. We started pedialyte at 5 mls per hour through her J-tube and ran that for 24 hours. The next day we tried half pedialyte/half double diluted vivonex and ran that mix at a rate of 5 mls per hour. She seemed to tolerate both the formula mix and the rate really well. We then worked her up to a rate of 15mls per hour and that's when her tummy started to bloat a bit. We held the rate at 15mls for a good 18 hours. We then slowly worked her up to 25mls per hour and that's when we started seeing some bigger residuals coming back in her tummy. We have even seen some creamy residuals very reminiscent of formula backing up into the stomach!!

Since our admission to hospital Kaitlyn has also been diagnosed with high blood pressure and is now on medication for hypertension. We have to check her blood pressure several times a day and dose her with a hypertensive med. if her BP gets too high! She has had pressures as high as 140/100 and continuously over 120/90 until we started blood pressure meds. We have been treating her for high blood pressure anytime her systolic pressure is over 120 up to every six hours. The doctors believe that Kaitlyn has hypertension because she is a chronically vented kid. Chronically ventilated kids can sometimes have hormonal imbalances and in Kaitlyn's case this seems to be true. We are awaiting some test results that should confirm our doctor's suspicions.

Here's a bit of a journal of the past few days:

November 3

Surgery was a little late today. Kaitlyn did great. Hopefully when we begin feeds in a couple of days the formula will flow in the right direction! She has some discomfort tonight, but overall not too bad. Her tummy is still pretty swollen. They knocked out one of her front teeth intubating her mouth is also a little sore!! Poor girl...and she had such a beautiful smile :(

November 6

Kaitlyn has fully recovered from surgery. We started feeds yesterday. Pedialyte running at 5mls per hour. Today we are running half pedialyte/half dd vivonex, also starting at 5 mls per hour. The directions from surgery are to go up by five every four hours! I think Tim and I may decide to up feeds a little more slowly... :) So far she seems to be tolerating the rate! Kaitlyn is still having issues with high blood pressure! She is now having to go on meds for hypertension.

November 8

We have started feeds. We have made it to 25 mls/hour of half vivonex-half pedialyte. But there is a lot of residual in her tummy! Not too sure if this is just "normal" for Kaitlyn, but it seems to me that we could run into problems if we are constantly dumping residuals from her tummy!! Perhaps we are just too anxious... to get home. Kaitlyn's tummy is nice and soft with each new increase, but her tummy is definitely bloated, compaired to her normal! She is not fussy, but she is flushing a lot the past few days. However, she is also on a number of new meds :/ Hopefully everything will sort itself out as we continue feeds!

November 13

Got to see our surgeon in a tuxedo tonight!!! I have no idea what function he was called out to to come consult our daughter....but THAT's dedication and true caring!! Kaitlyn is once again on full TPN! Yesterday and today she has been running a fever and ALL cultures are negative!! We cannot find infection reason for the fever! We did an x-ray of her abdomin this morning and her J-tube is in the right place, there is no abno...rmality to be found. However, since placing the j-tube we have been having a lot of bile back up into the stomach. When I say bile I do not mean lightly tinted greenish yellow secretions!!!! I mean thick dark brown-green, sometimes greenish-yellow, and sometimes VERY suspicious of creamy formula-like appearance!!

Yesterday and through last night Kaitlyn was getting more and more aggitated. She has not been sleeping well the past three days! Yesterday she was awake at 5:30 am, had a half hour nap in the afternoon and then stayed awake until 9:30pm! She then woke up at 12:00am until 2:00am and then woke up for the day at 6:00am!!! She was miserable ALL day today. She fussed and whimpered and even cried tears until this afternoon when she FINALLY had a three hour nap. We turned her feeds off at 9:00am this morning and they have been off since. Her tummy is quite distended and sore to the touch. Our surgeon is now thinking that she may have a bacterial overgrowth in her small bowel causing the bloating and discomfort. He wants to consult GI tomorrow and see what they think. The only other thing he is thinking is that this could just be an intolerance to gut feeds. Want to hear something crazy??? Kaitlyn's bowel still has barium dye in there from ten days ago when we had surgery!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bacteremia X 2 and GJ Surgery

Oh my dear! I didn't realize how long it has been since our last post! You guys must be bursting for news! I have been answering e-mails for those impatient for updates ;) Are we still in hospital you ask?? Yes, we are still here, with no discharge in sight yet! Kaitlyn is still on full TPN and is still NPO (nothing by mouth...or in Kaitlyn's case nothing going into her stomach!) not even oral meds! She has also not been getting even pedialyte through her tube, even though we know she can tolerate very small rates, as she does not need the extra fluids right now. Kaitlyn is getting over her second bout with bacteremia! We stopped the meds for the first round of bacteremia (infection in the blood) and we were waiting 48 hours to repeat the blood culture to make sure that we got all of the infection! Kaitlyn didn't even make it to 36 hours before spiking a fever and getting really sick agian! Bacteremia is NO fun! It slams one hard, especially one as weak as Kaitlyn.

SO besides the second bacteremia what's been going on....we left off with Kaitlyn needing an NJ tube placed....

Here's a bit of a journal from the past week and a half:

October 20

Soooooo....we sent down a requisition today for Radiology to place an NJ tube in Kaitlyn and the radiologist sent up a refusal post hast!!!! The radiologist on duty currently is the radiologist that perforated Kaitlyn's bowel almost two years ago exactly! He is outright refusing to place an NJ tube in Kaitlyn even our surgeon has recommended the proceedure! The radiologist thinks she is at too high a risk of erosion or perforation of the bowel!! The poor guy is scarred for life because of what happened with Kaitlyn :( Our surgeon is on vacation until Monday, so I guess we will form Plan C at that point! Oh well, it gives us the weekend to go up on Kaitlyn's feeds very slowly and see if she can feed through her tummy! She's on IV Pantoprazole and IV Odansetron.
October 22
A full week on Cisapride.....and where are we... We are able to run pedialyte at 20 mls with zero residuals!! At 20 mls per hour of pedialyte plus her maintenance in TPN she was getting REALLY drooly. We decided to give her some formula yesterday. We double diluted some vivonex and mixed that half-and-half with pedialyte. This makes a 0.2 cal/ml solution!! We turned her rate back to 10mls per hour thinking she would have a harder time digesting the food versus pedialyte.....and her g...ut shut down again!!! UGH!! We had to leave her pump turned off all night last night. This morning we started our day with a fresh batch of half-n-half and started her rate at 2mls per hour. we upped her rate every couple of hours to 6mls per hour. Then we left her at 6mls for three or four hours, and then upped her to 8mls and she stopped digesting. This time there was a lot of green bile coming back. It seems like the Cisapride has worked to increase motility, but whether or not she will ever be able to tolerate rates sufficient to feed???? We have officially been at this for a month now!! We are ready to go home!  
Placing the NJ to test the lower bowel would be our preference (and truely the request of our surgeon). However, we will have to speak to our surgeon on Monday and re-evaluate our plan. He may be willing to place the J tube without the NJ. We just need to get home and are trying to work the best possible outcome for Kaitlyn at the same time.
October 24
Fourth day on half double-diluted formula and half pedialyte. We have been able to work Kaitlyn up to a rate of 7mls per hour. Every time we increase her rate to 8 mls per hour she backs up! Our surgeon and pediatrician will be back tomorrow. We will have to devise Plan C. In the meantime we have been dealing with a nasty thrush outbreak :( Kaitlyn's poor little mouth and throat are full of it! I have been suctioning a lot of thick white goop out of her throat! Poor girl has been asking for more vent time wonder! We have been using nystatin for the past three days and she is finally seeming a bit better today. Boy was she uncomfortable the past two days!! We have restarted her acidophillus today as her tummy is also bloated. It has been a month since she's had anything in her gut to digest! Now she is on her second round of IV antibiotics and her gut is probably stipped of any beneficial bacteria :( Hopefully the acidophillus will help if she can tolerate the additional fluid. Right now she is getting her acidophillus and her Cisapride orally and all other meds are being done IV! We are trying to give her gut the best chance we can!!! Just so ya's know....Enoxaparin injections SUCK!!! I will try to rememberto take some pictures of Kaitlyn's poor little legs when she wakes up from her nap. They are all bruised and ugly looking :( On the bright side....her port now all of a sudden gives blood back!!! It has been suggested that we have the Enoxaparin to thank for dissolving clots/fibrin from around the port allowing blood return :) This is very good news as it only took a few days for the blood to return. This could be an easy treatment for future clots/fibrin in her port!!
October 27
Kaitlyn's stomach has been completely shut down for the past two days :( She got a little distended and uncomfortable and then her tummy just decided to shut down again. For the past two days green/yellow bile has been accumulating in her tummy and she has gaggy spells that force us to aspirate her tummy and toss the bile!!! (AKA vomitting!!!). I know this story sounds all too familiar to some of you :( So what upset me today.....Our surgeon comes by today and I tell him our concerns about the bile/discomfort and intolerance to feeds. I told him we were frustrated about the green in her stomach (as it should NOT be there!!!!) and was wondering if there was another study or something we should be doing to figure out why her stomach keeps shutting down??? He said he wanted to do an upper GI with barium to see if there was any bowel blockage/adhesion (from scar tissue) or any other "reason" why food might not make it through the gut! I reminded him of the dye test that we had already done and he said that he would review that study as well as our x-rays to determine if there was ANYTHING they could attribute to blockage (partial or otherwise!).

Our surgeon comes back and tells us that he has reviewed our dye test and x-rays as well as talked to collegues and radiologists about Kaitlyn's condition. They seem to feel that because she is older now and more "robust"(????) and because they didn't see ANY scar tissue/adhesions/blockages to be concerned about they feel that she could tolerate having another GJ tube being placed. He is really concerned about putting her through another surgery, especially one that would be such high risk. I totally see his point....but on the other hand I am confused as to why he was so against having us place another GJ tube and now thinks that it is the lesser risk??? I hope he comes by tomorrow and explains everything to us!! It kind of makes me a little mad to be honest! If he had reviewed all the tests and done some consults before we discussed surgery in the beginning we could have placed a GJ tube by now and been closer to getting home!! He has also tentatively reserved surgery for Monday morning in case we need it!

We stopped the Vancomycin today for the blood infection. 48-72 hours should be enough to tell if the infection will come back. Let's hope this is the LAST blood infection we ever have!! She was pretty sick! After 48 hours we will repeat the blood cultures to make sure the infection is completely gone!

The only other thing going on the past two days has been a high blood pressure. We have had readings like 135/84, 124/88, 135/102, 140-102, 140-88 (normal blood pressure for a child Kaitlyn's age/height 92/52).....I guess I'm wondering if anyone else has seen this??? During these blood pressures Kaitlyn has been completely comfortable...either sleeping through the entire reading or awake and happy to talk to the "visiting" nurse :)

HR has been back to normal tonight and sats are perfect!! I hope this means tomorrow will be a better day for my girl :) Another interesting point....Kaitlyn had a routine needle change in her port today and the "fluke" blood return is still there!!! It appears as though the Enoxaparin injections have given us back our blood return in our port when two rounds of the TPA didn't work!!! :) I am happy as it is an easy thing for us to try the next time that Kaitlyn's port fails blood return!

October 29
ID doctors believe that the offending bacteria is in her line. There is not much hope to save this line. However, Kaitlyn has been rendered inaccessable for PICC lines and we have already had tw...o cut downs in her left arm. Both legs have been ruined by past blood clots, resulting in too many collaterals for line placement. We have only her right arm left for venous blood draws and emergency IV lines!! We are saving the jugulars for new lines! Right now we are waiting for Monday to place a GJ tube. We are hoping to get Kaitlyn up and running with the GJ as right now her only source of nutrition is TPN. Once she is on full feeds, then she will have had a good run on IV antibiotics. When we are able to stop the TPN it will make it much less likely that the bacteria will return to the blood. If it doesn't come back then we will leave the port and pray that the infection doesn't return if it's not being fed (with the TPN). If we stop the IV antibiotic and the infection returns then we will remove the port and place another when the time is right...ASAP.
November 1
No surgery today :( Our doctors forgot to hold the enoxaparin (Blood "thinner"). It needs to be held for 24 hours before surgery! Also Kaitlyn's pre-op blood work came back with haemoglobin of 75! Normal haemoglobin is 115-145. She would have had a blood transfusion before surgery. Lets hope the sample was just diluted with the extra fluids she has been getting. We have tentative surgery now for Wed.

Well that pretty much catches us up to date for now! Will try to do another post in a few days.