Hadassah

HMO Docs Perform Rare In-Utero Heart Surgery

Monday, Jul 10 2017

In a risky and delicate in-utero procedure performed for the first time in Israel, an interdisciplinary team of Hadassah Medical Organization doctors saved the life of a 28-week-old fetus with a severe heart defect. In a procedure similar to an adult catheterization, the aorta was widened. The team included Prof. Azaria Rein, director of the Pediatric Cardiology Department; Dr. Sagi Gavri, director of pediatric catheterization service; Dr. Yuval Gielchinsky, Head of the Department of Obstetrics Medicine in Ein Kerem; Prof. Simcha Yagel, Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr. Nili Yanai, obstetrician and gynecologist, and anesthesiologist Dr. Carolyn Weiniger. 

"The mother asked me for an opinion after she was suspected of developing a severe heart defect in her fetus," said Dr. Rein, a world-renowned expert on embryonic heart defects. "The diagnosis was a critical narrowing of the aortic valve, which is also accompanied by severe damage to the function of the left ventricle, which was barely able to contract and perform its function."

The parents knew that without treatment, the left ventricle would likely degenerate and not be able to transfer blood to the baby's body after birth. 

The couple chose the catheterization. "In the process of catheterization, under epidural anesthesia for the mother (and the anesthesia of the fetus as well, because we do not want him to feel pain), we inserted a very delicate needle through the mother's abdominal wall — directly to the left ventricle of the embryo's heart."

Dr. Gavri passed a narrow wire through the needle to the aorta, through the valve with a balloon that was inflated in order to enlarge the valve. 

Dr. Gielchinsky stresses that the complex and delicate action required maximum concentration and precision, since it is clear that any heart injury might lead to immediate death of the fetus.

This catheterization procedure, known medically as an in-utero balloon valvuloplasty, "is done in a few centers around the world, a few people have performed it. Of course there was great concern, but this case presented us with a medical challenge that needed to be dealt with in an unconventional way."

"The operation went through without complication," said Dr. Gavri. "Immediately after the operation we saw an improvement in blood flow through the valve".

The morning after the operation, the mother and the fetus were feeling well, and in a repeat fetal echocardiography, it appears that the function of the left ventricle in the fetal heart has improved significantly.

Said Dr. Gielchinsky: "We are in a new medical era in the field of embryology and cardiology, which offers not only diagnosis but also prenatal care, which is why it is important to refer pregnant women to embryonic heart. This is the first time that a team of experts in Israel has carried out the complex operation that carries an increased risk to the fetus, but we believe that its success will greatly improve its chances of a healthy and long life after birth."

Read about this surgery in Israel 21c.

Learn more about HMO’s groundbreaking medicine.

Comments

No comments yet.
First Name
Email
Comment
Enter this word:

Related Stories

alt_text

Monday, Dec 10 2018

A Nurses Council Celebration in Israel: The Milestone Mission

We were honored to meet so many dynamic Hadassah nurses, some longtime and some new members--all of us excited to be together to celebrate the 100th anniversaries of the Hadassah Medical Organization, the Henrietta Szold Hadasssah-Hebrew University Nursing School and HMO's Department of Ophthalmology. And Israel's 70th

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Dec 5 2018

Prof. Chowers’ Long and Meaningful Hadassah Connections

Sophie Szold, mother of Hadassah founder Henrietta, wept when she saw children with flies in their eyes on their maiden trip to pre-state Israel in 1909. Those children had trachoma, endemic in the Middle East in those days.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Dec 5 2018

Ending the Violence Against Women: Hadassah Staff Joins Nationwide Protests

On December 4, employees from both Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus rallied to end violence against women. “Together we will banish the darkness and return the light to all women,” read banners held by the participants.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Tuesday, Dec 4 2018

No Ovaries? Mystery Solved By Hadassah Endocrinologist

A few years ago, a mother brought her teenage daughter to see Prof. David Zangen, Director of Pediatric Endocrinology at the Hadassah Medical Organization.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More