Hadassah Ein Herem Hospital. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90) Hadassah Ein Herem Hospital. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
Hadassah Ein Herem Hospital

A subsequent CT scan of Nofer Barak’s lungs confirmed multiple blood clots and elevated pressure in her pulmonary arteries.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

A quick-thinking midwife saved the life of a mother who was unknowingly suffering from a potentially fatal combination of an acute blood clot and congenital heart defect.

Nofer Barak, 28, arrived at the Assuta Ashdod Public Hospital to deliver her second child, expecting a routine birth. Despite a normal pregnancy and regular prenatal check-ups, Nofer faced an unexpected and life-threatening complication shortly after giving birth to a girl.

“After the delivery, Nofer suddenly developed shortness of breath and a dry cough,” recalled Tal Ben Valid, the midwife responsible for Nofer’s care. “Her pulse was racing, and her blood pressure plummeted. Something in my gut told me this was not just post-birth fatigue. I knew we had to act fast.”

Tal promptly called for a comprehensive medical evaluation, which proved to be life-saving.

The medical team, including cardiologists, was mobilized immediately. Initial ultrasound examinations indicated normal cardiac function, but further investigation revealed a blood clot in the great vein of the abdomen and a congenital heart defect known as Patent Foramen Ovale.

PFO is characterized by a small, flap-like opening between the right and left atria of the heart that fails to properly close.

“The blood clot had traveled through her heart and lodged in her lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. If it had passed through the PFO, it could have reached her brain, leading to a potentially fatal stroke,” explained Dr. Eyal Ben Asa, director of Assuta’s catheterization unit.

A subsequent CT scan of Nofer’s lungs confirmed multiple blood clots and elevated pressure in her pulmonary arteries. She was swiftly transferred to the cardiac intensive care unit, where her condition was stabilized.

“We advised Nofer to undergo a catheterization procedure to close the PFO, reducing the risk of future blood clots reaching her brain. Without this intervention, her risk of a stroke, especially during future pregnancies, was significantly high,” Ben Asa said.

Once stabilized, Nofer underwent the catheterization procedure. Using advanced ultrasound technology, Ben Asa performed the minimally invasive surgery under local anesthesia. The operation was successful, and Nofer was discharged the next day.

A few days after the procedure, an emotional Nofer returned to the hospital to thank the team who saved her life.

“I am immensely grateful to Assuta Ashdod Hospital for their swift and professional treatment. Thank you for saving my life,” Nofer told the medical team.

Said Ben Valid, “Seeing Nofer healthy and stable today, knowing that our quick actions made a difference, is incredibly fulfilling. We’re looking forward to seeing her again, hopefully under happier circumstances.”

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