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Specialized Care Essential for Women With Congenital Heart Disease Undergoing Pregnancy
Date:2/27/2008

Heart Disease and Pregnancy Program at Northwestern Memorial Provides Multidisciplinary Care to Support Safe Pregnancies for Mom and Baby

CHICAGO, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Due to advances in the treatment of children with congenital heart defects (CHD), more women with CHD are reaching adulthood and opting to have children. Often considered too risky, pregnancy among these women is becoming increasingly common thanks to advances in medicine and specialized care.

The Heart Disease and Pregnancy Program at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital takes a multidisciplinary approach to care for women with heart defects and heart disease by bringing together specialists from maternal fetal medicine, reproductive genetics, anesthesia and cardiology to offer preconception counseling and care for expectant mothers with CHD. Created by Northwestern Memorial Cardiologist Marla Mendelson, MD some 20 years ago, the Heart Disease and Pregnancy program has followed more than 2,000 women with various types of heart disease and congenital defects through their pregnancies since the program's inception.

"Our goal is a successful outcome for both mother and baby," says Mendelson, who also is director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute's Center for Women's Cardiovascular Health. "That's why it is imperative that all women with CHD or some form of heart disease who are of childbearing age and are contemplating pregnancy receive a complete preconception evaluation prior to becoming pregnant. Intervention before pregnancy significantly improves the chances of having an uncomplicated pregnancy and a safe delivery."

During pregnancy, changes occur in the mother's circulatory system, most of which are expected and normal. But in a woman with heart disease, these changes must be monitored carefully as they may become problematical. Pregnancy requires a mother's circulatory system to provide additional blood
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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