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Oh Baby, Interventional Radiology Makes Childbirth Safer
Date:3/10/2009

erus and to the baby's umbilical cord) grows or "invades" into the uterine wall. "Minimally invasive interventional radiology treatments -- that safely and immediately control bleeding and that may eliminate the need for a hysterectomy (or removal of the uterus) -- are absolutely making childbirth safer for women," said John R. Kachura, M.D., interventional radiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. "These women are scared; this is a very serious and dangerous condition. Before interventional radiology treatment was available, the placenta couldn't be delivered and women would have to have a hysterectomy or in some cases died," he added. Canadian interventional radiologists controlled excessive bleeding in women with a combination of balloon catheters inserted into uterine arteries predelivery (that could be inflated to control bleeding, if necessary) and uterine artery embolization after delivery (if the placenta could not be delivered).

C-section (or Cesarean section) is a common means of birthing today; it involves making a surgical incision in the mother's uterus to deliver the baby. Most C-sections are done when a vaginal delivery would put either the baby's or mother's health at risk. The rate of C-sections in the United States has risen greatly over the past decade, and, in 2005, 30 percent of all births were by C-section, according to recent statistics. Although generally a very safe procedure, complications of C-sections happen rarely and may include injuries to the blood vessels that can cause prolonged and sometimes life-threatening bleeding in the mother.

Typically, treatment options for this bleeding (or postpartum hemorrhage) included conservative management (careful observation with supportive care until the bleeding resolves) or taking the mother to surgery to find the bleeding vessel and stop the bleeding. In some cases, surgical control of bleeding might even require a hysterectomy. More recen
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SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology
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