Heart-transplant patient has twins

Jerusalem woman is first in Israel and fifth in the world.

July 26, 2010 02:08
1 minute read.
Cute baby

cute baby 311. (photo credit: courtesy)


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A 33-year-old woman from the Jerusalem area became the first person in Israel – and just the fifth in the world – to give birth to twins after previously undergoing a heart transplant.

The woman, who is from a nationalreligious background and insisted on having children even though it posed a risk to her life and could have harmed the fetuses, was treated before and during pregnancy at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. She delivered her baby girls at Hadassah University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus on Sunday.

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Prof. Jacob “Jay” Lavee, head of Sheba’s transplant unit, told The Jerusalem Post that the pregnancy had been risky not because of the woman’s heart – which she received four years ago – but because the high doses of immune suppression drugs she’s needed had to be lowered to the point where they did not harm the fetuses.

The dosage was adjusted by Sheba heart transplant clinic director Dr. Yedael Har-Zahav two months before the woman became pregnant, and she was closely monitored throughout.

“We had to walk the fine line not to give her too little immune suppressants and not too much to endanger the twins,” said Lavee. “We really discourage women from getting pregnant after undergoing a heart transplant, but she was determined. If she wants more [children], we would try to discourage her, but we would help her if she insisted.”

The new mother, a teacher who has been active in encouraging organ donations, underwent a cesarean section at Hadassah. The babies weighed 1.5 and 2 kilos at delivery and were in good condition.

Two of the four previous cases of heart transplant patients giving birth to twins were in the US, with one in France and another in Italy. Lavee said his Sheba team carefully studied the medical literature to determine how much immune-suppressant drugs their patient required.

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