Hope for pregnant women with heart disease

I just read this article and thought it was amazing. Often, women with pulmonary hypertension are advised not to get pregnant, and if they do get pregnant (or if they only find out that they have pulmonary hypertension while pregnant, which is unfortunately a common time for diagnosis), they are advised to undergo an abortion immediately. Why? Apparently after giving birth, the body can’t handle the fluid overload, so women frequently die. About 50-60% of women so affected die in the top health centers — with the best medicine and the best care, a greater than 50% mortality rate! Yet one doctor has a 0% mortality rate, out of 40 women. Doesn’t sound like coincidence to me!

The treatment sounds so simple, so obvious, when it’s explained: basically, since it’s the fluid overload with a term birth that overwhelms the heart and kills the woman, she is given a C-section at 35-36 weeks (less fluid build-up than at term), and then hospitalized for several days afterward while they draw fluid off with medicine and diuretics — nine liters — that’s almost two and a half gallons!

For many women with this condition, being advised to have an abortion is a horrendous decision — an unchoice. This doctor may give them hope.


3 Responses

  1. […] last article was pointed about how too often abortion is cited unnecessarily as an only option for a mother with […]

  2. I can remember my cardiologist’s nurse saying, “we’re not saying you have to terminate but you should strongly consider it.” then my cardiologist said plainly, “you could die!” after giving me my echo results. (I had a 40% ejection fraction, normal is 55-70%).

    I’m not dead. Oddly enough, I had a c-section at 35w5d and was fine following the surgery. I even walked out of the hospital two days later.

    I always wondered about the issue of blood loss during a c-section and it’s effect upon the heart. Thanks for posting this article!

    • I’m glad you and your baby are okay! Doctors do the best they can with the information they have. But it’s not a guarantee one way or another. I like to say, “That’s why they call it *practicing* medicine.” 🙂

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