Andrew Says Goodbye to His Ventilator (Part II)

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Andrew_2In August 2013, we published Rehab at Home: Weaning Andrew off the Vent about Andrew, 2, who was working with his physicians, nurses, and parents to breathe independently without a ventilator. Born at 26 weeks, Andrew was diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension and chronic lung disease.

Today, this happy, handsome toddler is completely weaned off the ventilator and working toward his ultimate goal: decannulation, which is the process of removing a tracheostomy tube.

Weaning off the Vent

Last fall, Andrew participated in an overnight sleep study and echocardiogram to determine if he was ready to wean off the vent completely. The results of both studies showed Andrew’s pulmonary hypertension was stable and his family received approval to remove their son’s vent from their home.

Andrew_3At that same time, Andrew’s pulmonary hypertension medications (with the exception of his inhaler) were discontinued and he started using a smaller trach size, a common step toward decannulation.

“Needless to say, Andrew ended last year on a fantastic note,” Andrew’s mom, Jennifer beamed.

Developmental Milestones

Andrew’s parents continue to see marked improvements in Andrew’s development with the help of weekly physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Jennifer is delighted with Andrew’s progress as she says, “Andrew acts just like any other two year old now.”

In addition to mastering the skill of walking, Andrew started eating by mouth and wears a Passy Muir® valve over his trach tube, as tolerated. The speaking valve allows him to vocalize words. “Dada” is one of his favorite new words.

Andrew’s trach isn’t slowing him down one bit!

Andrew_1Transition to Preschool

In a few months (when he turns three), Andrew’s parents will prepare him for another milestone — preschool!

“We are excited for him to socialize with other kids.”

Like all moms, Jennifer confesses that she is, “A little nervous too.”

With all Andrew has accomplished so far, preschool should be a breeze!

Andrew and his family have much to celebrate and look forward to in 2014.

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