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October 2008 Issue

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UC Docs Simultaneously Perform C-Section, Triple Bypass to Save Mother and Baby

Published October 2008

Before sunrise on Aug. 16, Misty Walterman, 26, woke from her sleep with unusual and unfamiliar discomfort.

Walterman, who was 35 weeks pregnant at the time, had never experienced chest pain before and was growing increasingly alarmed as the pain intensified.

“I began to feel short of breath,” she says.

Now, fearing for her health as well as for the health of her unborn baby, Walterman rushed to the emergency room at University Hospital (UH).

Upon arrival, Walterman was quickly evaluated and then taken to the obstetrics unit where a team of doctors and clinicians assessed the condition of her unborn baby.

After evaluating the baby’s health and determining the child’s stable condition, she was taken to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) where subsequent tests revealed that the young woman suffered a heart attack.

“There is no history of heart problems in my immediate family,” she says, noting she was surprised and frightened to learn the diagnosis.

Her doctors in the CICU informed her that she would need immediate triple bypass surgery to save her life. Just as the course of action had been decided, a further complication developed: She began experiencing strong contractions.

Under the care and guidance of Neal Weintraub, MD, chief of the division of cardiovascular diseases at UC and UH, Walterman was rushed to the operating room to prepare for what Weintraub calls, “a once in a lifetime procedure.”

Six multidisciplinary teams of doctors, surgeons and specialists worked in unison to save not one, but two lives that morning. The specially organized team was set to perform triple-bypass surgery while simultaneously delivering Walterman’s premature baby via Caesarean section.

Nearly 10 days after the remarkable operation,Walterman and her seven-pound baby girl, Haley, were making a speedy recovery.

“I am looking forward to returning home and introducing my baby girl to her 7-year-old brother,” she says.

The young mother credits the staff of University Hospital and UC for making the right decisions to ensure that she and her daughter have a bright future ahead of them.

She is also comforted to know that during her surgery, her medical teamthought to save vital stem cells from her umbilical cord, which could be used to treat her heart in the future and ensure its health.

“The doctors and nurses of this hospital have been wonderful to me; I don’t know where I would be without them,” she says.

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