Saint Luke’s Hospital Launches Specialized Program for Pregnant Women with Heart Disease

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Program one of few in the country to provide specialized coordinated heart disease/pregnancy care

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Dr. Karen Florio

This program offers our high-risk patients access to a highly specialized team both for mom and baby, and the opportunity to deliver knowing they have the highest level of care for both.

Saint Luke’s Hospital announced today the launch of the Saint Luke’s Heart Disease in Pregnancy Program designed to offer specialized care for pregnant women with heart disease. Combining the expertise of Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute cardiologists and Saint Luke’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center perinatologists, the program will offer coordinated pregnancy care for heart patients.

One of very few programs of its kind in the country, the Saint Luke’s Heart Disease in Pregnancy Program brings together a highly specialized multidisciplinary team to care for heart patients through all stages of their pregnancy, from pre-conception to delivery.

Clear communication and coordinated care is critical in high-risk pregnancies as women with heart disease have increased risks for preeclampsia, maternal hypertension, gestational diabetes, worsening heart failure and arrhythmia, and preterm delivery. In addition, babies born to mothers with heart disease are at an increased risk for low birth weight and higher NICU admission rates.

“Women with heart disease who become pregnant face a higher risk of complications,” said Laura Schmidt, M.D., cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. “By coordinating care between cardiology and maternal-fetal medicine, patients have the benefit of immediate communication within their care team. Additionally, the clinical team is better able to develop a tailored delivery plan, manage potential complications more quickly, and better coordinate all levels of care at each stage of the pregnancy.”

The Saint Luke’s Heart Disease in Pregnancy team includes:

  •     Board-certified, specialty-trained cardiologists
  •     Board-certified maternal-fetal medicine physicians who specialize in high-risk pregnancy
  •     Anesthesiologists
  •     Board-certified genetic counselors
  •     Nurse practitioners
  •     Registered nurses
  •     Sonographers

“Pregnancy can be a time not only filled with excitement but also apprehension, especially for high-risk mothers with heart disease,” said Karen Florio, D.O.,Saint Luke’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center physician. “This program offers our high-risk patients access to a highly specialized team both for mom and baby, and the opportunity to deliver knowing they have the highest level of care for both.”

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 20 cardiology programs in the country, and is the only facility in the region to provide the full range of cardiovascular services, from prevention to heart transplantation, including the Saint Luke’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program.

Additional information about the Saint Luke’s Heart Disease and Pregnancy Program can be found at http://www.saintlukeskc.org/heart-pregnancy

About Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute
Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, a member of Saint Luke’s Health System and a teaching affiliate of the University of Missouri–Kansas City, is one of the preeminent cardiovascular programs in the country. Its legacy of innovation began more than 25 years ago when it opened as the nation’s first heart hospital. Since then, the Heart Institute has earned a world-wide reputation for excellence in the treatment of heart disease, including interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, imaging, heart failure, transplant, heart disease prevention, women’s heart disease, electrophysiology, outcomes research, and health economics. With more than 50 full-time, board-certified cardiovascular specialists on staff, the Heart Institute offers one of the largest heart failure/heart transplant programs in the country, has the largest experience with transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the Midwest, and is a global teaching site for the newest approaches to opening challenging blocked arteries using minimally invasive techniques.

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Laurel Gifford
Saint Luke's Health System
+1 (816) 502-8532
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