MITERA: Advanced radiation-free catheterization method performed on pregnant patient

Radiation-free MRI-guided cardiac catheterization was successfully performed recently on a pregnant woman at MITERA Hospital. It was the first time the method was used on a pregnant patient, reliably securing the maintenance of the pregnancy and the safety of both the mother and the fetus.

Specifically, the patient was 10 weeks pregnant when she presented with suspicion of congenital heart disease and recently detected pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs, which can pose a threat to the life of the patient). To assess whether it would be safe for the patient to continue the pregnancy, it was necessary to perform cardiac catheterization with the use of ionizing radiation. However, due to the early phase of the pregnancy, which was still in the organogenesis stage, catheterization with the use of radiation was seriously contraindicated due to its potential harmful effects on the fetus.  Therefore, it was decided that the catheterization be performed with simultaneous MRI imaging (MRI-guided).

The procedure was performed in the MITERA Hospital MRI Department during the 14th week of pregnancy by a team of specialists, composed of Ms Aphrodite Tzifa, Ms Dimitra Longitsi (Radiologist) and Mr Konstantinos Patris (Anesthesiologist).

The Director of the MITERA Children’s Hospital Pediatric Cardiology Clinic, Ms Aphrodite Tzifa,
Pediatric & Adult Congenital Heart Disease Cardiologist with previous experience in MRI-guided cardiac catheterization abroad, noted,
“Exclusively MRI-guided cardiac catheterization can only be performed in a handful of very specialized centers globally. The method we implemented in the specially set-up room at MITERA Hospital produced a successful outcome, since it was established that there was no irreversible damage to the lungs and, therefore, it was deemed safe for the patient to continue her pregnancy. The mother’s heart disease will be treated with invasive cardiac catheterization at a later date.”