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A likely first for a pregnant woman: New heart valve without surgery

An apparent medical first. Physicians at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in NJ—including STS member Dr.  Arthur Martella, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Lourdes—used a catheter to replace a failing mitral valve in a pregnant woman. The procedure took place in the 16th week of her pregnancy. Doctors could not wait too long, as the patient’s body would be producing more blood with every month to cope with the growing demands of pregnancy. «Without a new valve to handle the increased flow, the lives of the fetus and mother would be at risk,» said Dr. Martella. «By the time you get to that third trimester, she would be in heart failure.»

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