Status: 9.5/10. Another evaluation day at Hopkins, but feeling rather good. 

Events:  The usual blood drawing for another battery of tests, a baseline history and physical from the physician assistant who’ll be following me in the hospital, and then on to a heart scan.  The purpose of the scan was to get an assessment of my heart’s pumping ability, which is measured as its “ejection fraction,” a measure of how much oxygen-carrying blood can be ejected into the circulation.  By comparing how much blood is in the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) before and after contraction they come up with a percentage of how much gets swished out.  

It’s accomplished with what’s called a MUGA (Multi Gated Acquisition) scan.  After taking a small vial of your blood, they mix it with a radioactive isotope (technetium-99m) and let it sit for about 30 minutes as the isotope is taken up into the blood cells.  Then they inject the now radioactive tracer back into you, and with a camera (really a digital Geiger counter) they can see the blood circulate throughout your body.  In this case, they focus in on the heart.  And by also attaching an EKG they can time when your heart contracts and grab the right series of snapshots.  They let me view the scan afterwards, and my ejection fraction was normal.  The scan gives about as much radiation as 500 chest x-rays, but with all the CT scans, fluoroscopy, and other x-rays I’ve had, I’m probably glowing at night now anyway. 

Comments: Terry, my donor brother, is coming in this weekend, he’ll have his own evaluation on Monday – they’re just as interested in his health as mine.  We hope you all have a good weekend with family and friends.  We’ll pop up again on Monday.  




8 Responses to “”

  1. Andrea Tuttle Says:

    Thanks again for the education Bruce, and very timely too. Today was the first time I heard the term “ejection fraction” used in terms of one of our patients. I’m concerned about how my mind works these days, I was afraid to ask what it meant. I wondered if it had to do with something a little more intimate.

  2. Hopie Says:

    Enjoy each other and test good, Terry!
    Love, Mom

  3. wendy Says:

    I think you should start a monopoly or risk game between you and Terry and Lisa, since it’s going to be a long time waiting and doesn’t require much brain power or stamina.

    Here’s to the power of genetics.. long live your “Genes”!! Thanks to EFB.

    love, wendy

  4. joel steinberg Says:

    Margaret had a MUGA scan before starting her treatments. Adriamycin and Taxol can both affect the myocardium, even after treatments are over. I think they do the scan simply to have a “normal” baseline study available in case problems develop later. My sense is that a diminished ejection fraction wouldn’t deter the oncologists from pumping in the poisons. Judging from Margaret’s daily one-hour power walks, I don’t think she has had any adverse effects. You press on. We think of you and talk about you every day. Joel and Margaret

  5. Susan Bies Says:

    Bruce, In addition to “changing medicine one doctor at a time”‘ you are changing your friends and family one blog entry at a time. Your blogs not only inform us and connect us to you, but they also never fail to challenge us to think about things differently. I find myself stopping to reflect after I read your blog. Inspired by your words, it may mean I approach others differently, it may mean I show my appreciation for the kindness of others more fully, it may mean that I make room to view the world through someone else’s eyes – – in essence, you challenge me to live my life in the most authentic way possible, you challenge me through your personal example. And Lisa, not sure there are words to capture how special you are. fondly, susan

  6. Andie Levinson Mendelson Says:


  7. Joe Robertson Says:

    Bruce, I just want you to know that your French friends are thinking of you with lots of love and hope. We are so glad to hear (or rather, read) that your body is in good shape for the transplant. You are so lucky to have a brother who is both willing and able to donate his marrow – and all of your friends are grateful to him!

    We also want Lisa to know how much we are thinking of her at this time. I agree with you: having Lisa in your camp is the best thing you could hope for! Claire, Antoine, Catherine and of course I send both of you our love.


  8. Judi Golding-Baker Says:

    Thinking of you and Lisa and the kids…and Terry…sending all my love and more to the real A-Team! Press on…kick butt!!!

    Love you

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