Pregnant and a Brain Tumor: Scary Scenario Treated Artfully by Hadassah

Thursday, Oct 24 2019

When she was in her sixth month of pregnancy, a young mom-to-be realized something was wrong. At first, she thought her phone was broken because she couldn’t hear from her right ear. But when she changed ears, the sound was fine. Soon after, she began having terrible headaches. She went to a hospital near her home in the Tel Aviv area. 

“My life turned upside down when the CT results came through,” she says. “The doctors told me I had a tumor called a meningioma in my head. It was pressing against my brainstem.”

After two weeks of examinations, the doctors sent the woman home and told her to schedule surgery immediately after the birth of her baby. Her symptoms, however, got worse.  She became dizzy and her vision blurred. 

The doctors quickly arranged to transfer her to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, telling her that only Hadassah’s neurosurgeons could treat her.  

“Due to the pregnancy hormones in her system, the tumor grew rapidly,” explains senior Hadassah neurosurgeon Dr. Emil Margolin, “and we couldn’t wait until the birth. The pressure on the brain and stem could have done irreparable damage to her vision and hearing and even endangered the life of the fetus.” 

Hadassah convened a team of neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, gynecologists, and neonatologists, led by head of Neurosurgery Prof. Yigal Shoshan.

“Removing the tumor during pregnancy could have caused excessive bleeding because of the additional blood flow,” Dr. Margolin explained. “On the other hand, premature birth involves risks and possible complications for the newborn.” Ultimately, the multidisciplinary medical team decided to perform a cesarean delivery at week 30 and to examine the mother with a view to removing the tumor 10 days later. In the meantime, Hadassah staff placed the mother and fetus under round-the-clock observation.

“The cesarean section and subsequent tumor removal were very successful,” said Dr. Margolin. “The mother feels a lot better, and the baby boy is getting stronger every day. This was no ordinary case, and it presented us with dilemmas that required collaborative decision-making. Cooperation among the various hospital departments, a Hadassah hallmark, was excellent and, together with the family, we made the right decisions for mother and child.”

The mom adds, “Hadassah’s doctors and nurses involved me in the entire process, including the decision-making. I felt safe and calm. A big thank you to all the doctors who treated my baby and me. They saved us. I will be grateful for the rest of my life.”

Learn more about the Hadassah Medical Organization.

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