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A Conversion Experience

By Daniel Foster13 Sep 2023

Conversions come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they come with tinfoil hats, and we all roll our eyes. Other times, they come with new personal or moral awareness, and the rest of us applaud. But in the best of times, a conversion comes by saving a life, and it’s this last type in which we’re all so heavily invested, and the reason all surgeons do their grueling work, day-in and day-out.

The story below is true in all basic respects. One might say it is even “more true than normal,” because it is not a single tale of conversion, but many, composited.

But why would a thing like this happen again and again…?

* * *

The CABG surgery had proceeded as per usual, with the surgeon moving deftly, and occasionally making a quip to his nurses to keep the atmosphere relaxed.

I laid a hand on the Flowmeter I was about to demo. Everything was ready. The surgeon ordered the patient off-pump and said, “I’m ready to measure flow.” I pushed the Flowmeter forward and a nurse handed him the Flowprobe so he could take measurements of his new, painstakingly created grafts. It was the LIMA-LAD. And it was reading 4 mL/min.

He looked at the numbers on the screen and looked at the graft. “I think there’s something wrong with your machine,” he said.

This part was always a little uncomfortable, but I said, “Sir, I promise there isn’t.”

He measured a smaller graft, and it came back with 48 mL/min. He made a sound of satisfaction but then looked at the LIMA-LAD again, his brow wrinkled, and he remeasured it. Still 4 mL/min. The blood flow measurements had gone as smoothly and quickly as ever, taking a few seconds each. The problem wasn’t the use of the Flowmeter, but the near-absence of flow it was indicating.

“I don’t think it’s reading correctly,” he said again. “This graft looks good.”

I lifted my shoulders in a small shrug. “It’s just reporting the flow,” I said.

“Okay,” he acquiesced. “Give me a few minutes.”

It didn’t take long. As soon as he began checking the LIMA-LAD more closely, he paused. “Damn, I threw a stitch through the back wall,” he said. He ordered the patient on-pump again, then took apart the graft and re-connected it, then again ordered off-pump and slid the Flowprobe back onto the vessel. The graft was now flowing at 78 mL/min. The surgeon smiled.

As he finished closing the patient, he said “Thank you for coming, if you hadn’t been here, I would have closed without knowing there was a problem.”

A month later, I sat in his office, sipping hot coffee while cold rain pelted the windows. He tapped the side of his mug absently. “Since that case,” he said, “I’ve been thinking about how many times that might have happened before. I can’t always trust my eyes, it seems. I’ll be measuring flows from now on.”

I nodded, but didn’t reply.

* * *

It’s certainly worth one minute of your time to click here and see what Transonic can offer you, and maybe even to schedule your own ‘conversion’ experience. Just give us a quick call or email if you have questions. You might become a believer.

No tinfoil hat required.


Thanks for reading,

           Transonic Systems Inc.

                        The Measure of Better Results.