Mother and Child safe after Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

Doctors at BM Birla Heart Research Centre performed an Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery on a pregnant woman, a surgery performed in extremely rare cases only. Faced with a very complicated situation, the doctors, led by Dr Lalit Kapoor, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at BM Birla Heart Research Centre successfully completed the surgery saving both the mother and the child.

The patient, Mrs Soni Rai (name changed on ground of anonymity), came to BMBHRC in her second trimester in desperate need of a cardiac surgery. The patient complained of breathlessness and frequent blackouts. On diagnosis, the doctors realised that she required an Aortic Valve Replacement to save her and her child.

An Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery is a risky and complicated process on any individual. The complications, however, increase manifold in the case of a pregnant woman. In this case, the mother’s aortic valve was malfunctioning, which caused increased blood flow, resulting in the loss of consciousness. Left untreated, this would have resulted in a dire situation not just for the mother but the baby also.

During an open-heart valve surgery, the doctor makes a large incision in the chest. Blood is circulated outside of the body, through a machine, to add oxygen to it (cardiopulmonary bypass or heart-lung machine). The heart may be cooled to slow or stop the heartbeat, so that the heart is protected from damage while the surgery is done to replace the existing valve with an artificial one. The valve replacement is typically an open-heart surgery.

When the patient was taken in by the surgery team, the paediatric cardiology team was involved, monitoring the baby throughout the procedure. After the gruelling surgery, the mother was into recovery and the foetus was continuously monitored and evaluated.

“As doctors, we had to save the mother first, therefore, we decided to go ahead with the surgery. She would not have survived otherwise. Our main goal was to save Soni’s life”, said Dr Lalit Kapoor.

The surgery lasted for five hours, and within a month the mother was discharged. Soni is due for delivery in the end of April and is currently going through a healthy pregnancy.

By Dr. Lalit Kapoor

Department of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Cardiology, Department of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Department of Paediatric Cardiology