NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pregnancy can bring with it many health risks for women. One common problem? Blood clots that can lodge in the lungs.
Those so-called pulmonary emboli can be fatal – but treating them can be dangerous or lethal to the fetus.
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As TV 10-55’s Katie McGee reports, this was the crisis for New Jersey resident Catherine Rodriguez.
Eight months pregnant with her daughter Zamyiah, Rodriguez came close to drying one cold day in February.
She passed out after she began having difficulty breathing. At the hospital, doctors discovered she had two massive blood clots in her lungs.
Catherine’s doctor, Dr. Andrew Novick of Jersey City Medical Center, said there was a 40 percent chance that she wouldn’t make it – and the baby, would die as well.
The usual treatment for a pulmonary embolisms is large doses of TPA, a clot-busting drug – but there was a strong chance TPA would be lethal to the baby, as well.
So doctors decided to try a new cloth busting device, called Ekos. They threaded a long, thin catheter up from Catherine’s groin and right into the clots in her lungs. The catheter delivers the standard clot-busting drug. The difference is a dozen tiny ultrasound antennas that use high-frequency sound waves to force the drug deep into the clot, dissolving it.
Plus, the ultrasound meant Dr. Novick could use a much lower dose of TPA.
Ten weeks later, Catherine came back to the Jersey City Medical Center to deliver little Zamyiah.
To hear the full story, watch Katie McGee’s report below.