There are no words that will take away the pain we feel in missing Ed. My hope in sharing this information is to help heal and answer any questions we may be left with from this traumatic event.
Ed was born with a congenital defect in his heart in the bicuspid valve and also in his aorta called Coarctation of the Aorta (see picture), At the age of 7, he underwent a valve replacement with the understanding at some point it would need to be replaced as well as repair to his aorta. Ed was proactive, sought out a phenomenal cardiologist at Mayo and has been monitoring his cardiac function for many years.
This past year, his cardiologist found this was the year surgery would need to be performed. Due to the severity of the situation and the love for Ed, his cardiologist felt surgery as soon as possible was the best plan.
On Wednesday May 4, 2016 Ed received a Bentall procedure (which includes a graft replacement over his aorta) bypass from his ascending aorta to descending hemishield, aortic valve replacement; mechanical mitral valve. Lots of medical terms, but essentially they fixed what needed to be fixed. Ed came out of surgery and began progressing through physical therapy and laughter, even joking he's just going to sit back have some pizza and watch movies with loved ones, perhaps even playing a prank on the therapists that he already did a somersault!
On Friday May 6, a sudden feeling overcame Ed and he felt unwell. It was at this time, there was either a disturbance in his heart rhythm or a leak in the graft that irritated his heart too much and Ed experienced a catastrophic cardiac event. CPR was performed, his graft separated and he lost a large volume of blood. Ed was taking to the operating room immediately, and was given prompt attention and surgery to repair any damage. He was placed on ECMO, which is a machine used outside the body to act like a heart and lungs to oxygenate blood and keep it pumping to allow his body to rest and recover. Ed seemed to be progressing well after this event. Surviving an event like this is unheard of. Ed showed, as always, he is a fighter.
On Saturday May 7, his heart was again irritated and went into a rhythm that needed to be fixed. Another trip to the operating room for Ed and he returned looking wonderful. I believe it was at this point a balloon was also inserted into his heart to help pump and give his heart a rest to recover. He was sedated and had some assistance to breathe as he was on heavy medication.
On Wednesday May 11, Ed suffered his third major cardiac event after initial surgery. The medical team continued to keep him pain free and allow his heart best possible chance at recovery.
On Friday May 13, a CT scan of his head was performed. It was devastating news to learn that his brain has suffered irreversible trauma.
On Saturday May 14, Ed continued to be on support for his heart (ECMO and an aortic balloon pump), but despite all interventions, died on his own terms and peacefully with family and friends by his side.