Antenatal Cardiology Clinic
Obstetric Cardiology Clinic
At the LGI site, we run a fortnightly combined obstetric cardiac clinic for women with cardiac disease, overseen by a team of cardiology, obstetric and anaesthetic consultants with a specialist interest in cardiac disease in pregnancy.
Improved care of children with congenital heart disease over the last three decades has resulted in increasing numbers of women reaching child bearing age in good health and, just like other women, these women may wish to have children. Pregnancy puts extra demands on a woman’s heart and whilst most women with congenital heart disease are able to cope well with this, specialist care or advice may be needed.
As a general rule women with heart disease resulting NYHA (New York Heart Association) Class 1 or 2 type function can cope with pregnancy well and expect a vaginal delivery. Women with Class 3 or 4 type function may have a more problematic course and usually require most specialised input. Examples of women we see include those with a history of cardiac surgery, known valvular disease, Marfan’s syndrome, previous or current cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias and ischaemic heart disease, although this list is not exhaustive. Regardless of the NYHA classification or underlying condition we welcome enquiries from around the Yorkshire region and if necessary will arrange to see women in our combined cardiology clinic.
Some women with heart problems in pregnancy will need specialist care during delivery whether this is occurs vaginally or through caesarean section. As a result one of the purposes of a woman's visit to the Leeds combined cardiac antenatal clinic is to make a clear plan for how and where delivery should take place. Often this is perfectly safe in a woman's local maternity unit, but sometimes, particularly when cardiac assessment suggests that an elective caesarean section is necessary this will need to take place in the Leeds General Infirmary (partly for our experience with anaesthesia in such cases and partly due to the presence of the regional cardiac intensive care unit). In such circumstances women may be admitted to the ward before their planned surgery date for individualised assessment. On the day of the Caesarean, the woman is transferred to the delivery suite theatre during the morning, a partner or friend may accompany them. Following the caesarean patients are kept temporarily on the delivery suite high dependency unit before transfer back to the ward with their baby. Most women who have an uncomplicated caesarean can expect to stay in hospital 2-3 days following surgery before being discharged home.
Babies with heart problems
Women with congenital heart problems are at increased risk of having babies with heart problems, and although the majority of fetal heart problems we see are not in conjunction with maternal heart problems. Finding out that your baby has a heart problem is always very distressing for a prospective parent and despite improvements in ultrasound technology it is often difficult to give a precise idea of how well the babies heart will function until it is born. Further details can be found here http://leedscongenitalhearts.com/fetal