Pulmonary Vascular Disease & Cardiovascular Disease Network


Cardiovascular Medicine & Surgery Section

Emerging role of cardiopulmonary obstetric critical care

Despite being a developed country, maternal morbidity and mortality rates in some counties in the United States mirror that of third world countries, with 23.8 women dying per 100,000 live births (Hoyert DL, Miniño AM. Maternal mortality in the United States. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 69 no 2. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2020). The care of this vulnerable population testifies to the quality of care provided across the country. Some of these poor outcomes are directly attributed to in-hospital deaths due to preexisting or newly discovered heart or lung diseases, such as valvular heart diseases, cardiomyopathies, pulmonary arterial hypertension, eclampsia, or other etiologies. With the development of advanced heart and lung programs across the nation capable of providing mechanical circulatory support and extracorporeal life support, we believe that incorporating a heart-lung-OB team approach to high-risk cases can identify knowledge gaps early and predict and prevent maternal complications.

In this proposed model, patients funnel to the hub facility to be cared for by a team of intensive care physicians, advanced heart failure physicians, cardiovascular and obstetric anesthesiologists, and maternal/fetal medicine physicians, with the potential addition of an adult ECMO team member.

A team huddle, using a virtual platform, would be organized by a designated OB coordinator at the patient’s admission with follow-up huddles every 2 to 3 days, to ensure the team stays engaged through delivery into the postpartum period. Value could be added with subsequent cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation. With an emphasis on shared decision making, we can make it a national priority to save every woman during the birthing process.

Bindu Akkanti, MD, FCCP, Member-at-Large

Mark Warner, MD, FCCP, Member-at-Large

Next Article: