A Southern California First

A mother and her 25-week-old fetus are doing well after a team of physicians performed a successful in utero cardiac interventional procedure on the fetus at CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center late last month.

The minimally invasive procedure, known as a fetal aortic valvuloplasty, was a first for a Southern California hospital. Designed to treat a congenital heart defect known as critical aortic stenosis and evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome, doctors succeeded in using a tiny balloon to open the fetus’s narrow aortic valve in order to increase blood flow to the body, improve left heart function and promote normal left heart growth during the critical third trimester growing stage.

“Right now mom and baby are doing well,” says surgeon Ramen H. Chmait, M.D., director of Los Angeles Fetal Surgery at CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the USC Institute for Maternal-Fetal Health since 2006.  “We are optimistic that the baby’s heart will be much better off because of this procedure.”