When it comes to pregnancy, there is hard, painful labor. And then there is whatMaria Luz-Duran of Hun tington Park recently went through.
In the wee hours of Dec. 21, Luz-Duran, 36, underwent angioplasty--major heart surgery in which doctors use wires and balloons to burst through blocked artery passages. The surgery went well.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday January 15, 1995 Home Edition City Times Page 4 Zones Desk 2 inches; 67 words Type of Material: Correction
Rare birth--A story Jan. 1 incorrectly reported the roles of the doctors involved in the rare birth of a baby to a woman undergoing major heart surgery at Lynwood's St. Francis Medical Center. Dr. Anthony Ogundipe delivered the baby; Dr. Richard Seidman performed the heart surgery. Dr. Anne Billingsley, medical director of cardiac surgery, did not direct the heart surgery. In addition, the baby's weight at birth was incorrect. Andres Rosales weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces.
But doctors weren't quite finished.
The same morning, near the end of the delicate operation in the hospital's heart surgery room, Luz-Duran, in her eighth month of pregnancy, also gave birth to a baby boy.
Both she and her son--the newly christened and quite healthy Andres Rosales--survived in what doctors have called a miracle.
"The whole operating room was in tears by the end," said Dr. Anne Billingsley, medical director of cardiac surgery at Lynwood's St. Francis Medical Center. Angioplasty combined with giving birth, though not unheard of in the annals of medicine, is extremely rare, she said. "It was all really pretty miraculous."
Billingsley, who directed the surgery, said the saga began in October when Luz-Duran--then 20 weeks pregnant--came to St. Francis complaining of chest pains.
Doctors performed angioplasty for the first time in an effort to blast away blockage of a major artery surrounding the heart. They inserted wires and a balloon in a leg vein, then used the balloon to open up vessels to the heart.
The operation was successful, and Luz-Duran was released with hopes that the rest of her pregnancy would proceed without problems.
"I thought that was the end of it," said Luz-Duran, resting at her Huntington Park home. But several weeks later, she said, "I woke up at 2 in the morning and knew I had to go back to the hospital."
Once there, Luz-Duran, who works at an Inglewood factory assembling videocassettes, was told that she would have to undergo more surgery. Blockage of one of the arteries that run along the surface of her heart had recurred.
Luz-Duran was moved to the hospital's heart surgery ward, a sterile stretch of rooms never punctured by a newborn baby's cries. The doctors' initial strategy was to clear her artery and let the pregnancy continue, as they had done in October.
The procedure was going as planned until doctors noticed the baby's heart rate was dropping. Doctors knew pregnancy was not a risk factor for Luz-Duran's angioplasty, but it now appeared that the procedure was endangering the unborn child.
"We decided this was the time to deliver the baby," said Dr. Richard Seidman, who performed the delivery.
Andres Rosales, weighing 4 pounds, 8 ounces, was delivered prematurely by Cesarean section.
"Even though he was born a month early, he's doing fine," Billingsley said.
Luz-Duran doesn't yet know when she'll return to work, she said. For now, the mother of three is concentrating on gathering enough strength to climb a flight of stairs.
Just to be safe, Andres has remained in the newborn ward at St. Francis. Doctors were to have released him to his mother later this week.