Heart: A History - A good read for us Valvers

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ClickerTicker

Clickin and Tickin
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Jun 7, 2011
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Hampshire UK
I'm currently reading the above book and have found the sections on how the Heart Lung machine was developed fascinating. Early attempts, including using a live donor human as a sort of living heart lung machine, had very low success rates - but they ploughed on and ended up with a workable machine. Without them a lot of us would not be here.

This is the section on "Pump Head" (my wife has become very good at translating my own sometimes random speech into "what I meant to say"):

Today heart-lung machines are barely the size of a small refrigerator. Hospitals have full-time staff to operate them. Of course, there are still complications: blood cells get chewed up in the plastic and metal apparatus and patients suffer strokes. A small but significant number of patients have some degree of cognitive impairment afterward, such as memory and attention deficits and language problems, a condition known as “pump head,” which can persist years after surgery and in many cases is probably irreversible. The cause is unclear but may include tiny blood clots or bubbles, inadequate blood flow to the brain during surgery, the dislodgement of fatty material from the aorta, and brain inflammation. But despite these problems, the heart-lung machine has been indispensable for advancing the field of heart surgery over the past half century, saving countless lives. (from "Heart: A History: Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2019" by Sandeep Jauhar)

Not a huge amount of info on Pump Head around, it doesn't seem to be focused on very much, but this came up in a quick search:
Pumphead: Does the heart-lung machine have a dark side?

It's been over 20 years since my Mitral Valve Replacement, but my Pump Head is apparently still with me.
 

tom in MO

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Jan 17, 2012
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MO USA
Tom
How long is ‘time’?
Things got better within about 6 months, e.g. I could do simple math for the checkbook. It took about a 9 months before I stopped crying at movies and about a year before I stopped feeling I wanted to cry over some movies. I never cried before. I still got teary at weddings and funerals. Now I feel it more, but it's not disruptive and is controllable. I got in trouble with HR for being to emotional over problems (I am in the quality group) and successfully played the open heart surgery card.

However as a scientist, my metric of recovery was being able to do math in my head e.g. calculate a tip and add it to the bill. Something I could do since being a paperboy. That took ~5 years to get back. I am now ~10 years out and can do it but don't trust myself so I do it twice :) however I get it right the first time.
 

DebraB

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Jun 3, 2022
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This is so interesting. I have been feeling stupid for lack of a better term since my surgery. I'm glad to see it might just be that I'm a pumphead LOL
 

Abdulaziz

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May 1, 2021
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3
It is now more than 20 years since my mitral valve was replaced with a metallic valve of st Jude type. Thanks to God, I didn’t suffer from pumphead symptoms, but on 9th postop day I suffered from a sudden loss of outer half of the visual field of my left eye with headache that lasted 4 days then gradually faded away. i was seen by a neurologist who diagnosed my condition as migrain, I regained my normal vision after 7 days from the commencement of the presumed migrainous attack
 

ClickerTicker

Clickin and Tickin
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
18
Location
Hampshire UK
Does this help?

Postperfusion syndrome - Wikipedia


en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org

It certainly helps as I was not aware it was also called by that term - thanks!

Given that my MVR was over 20 years ago, it's inevitably becoming increasingly difficult to decide whether any current mental glitches are caused by Pump Head or the deterioration due to my age (and being rather too fond of the odd drink or three).
 
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