Corrigan Minehan Heart Center
Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program
Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care
102 Endicott Street
Danvers, MA 01923
Mass General Waltham
52 2nd Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451
Explore This Treatment Program
The Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center provides personalized, expert care for people who are pregnant, or those who desire pregnancy (counseling before you become pregnant), who either have a pre-existing heart condition or are at high risk for developing one.
The goals of the program are to:
- Ensure the best possible pregnancy outcomes for birthing parents and babies
- Help people who are pregnant or have given birth maintain long-term cardiovascular health
- Educate the medical professional and patient community about cardiovascular health during pregnancy
- Support and pioneer new knowledge that betters the lives of people who are pregnant
The Importance of Cardiovascular Health During Pregnancy
It is important for patients who have pre-existing heart conditions, or are high risk for them, to seek specialized medical care when pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Pregnancy is a unique time in a birthing parent’s life during which the cardiovascular system is significantly altered. During pregnancy, blood volume increases, blood pressure falls, the blood thickens and the heart pumps 30-50% more blood a minute than what is typical. These changes persist after delivery.
Some heart conditions can pose a risk during pregnancy for both the birthing parent and the baby. Such conditions include:
- Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (high blood pressure, preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, gestational hypertension)
- Prior heart conditions that necessitated cardiovascular care
- Newly diagnosed heart condition during or after pregnancy
- Women previously treated with chemotherapy that impacts the heart (for example Adriamycin or chest radiation)
- Personal or family history of genetic heart conditions
Highest risk conditions include:
- Cardiomyopathy (weakened heart pump, example peripartum cardiomyopathy)
- Pulmonary hypertension (high pressure in lung arteries)
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Valve disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Aortic disease
- Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)
Complications that can result from cardiovascular disease during pregnancy include stroke, heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmia and heart valve complications.
Highest Quality Reproductive Care
Our program is committed to providing the highest quality reproductive care for all patients who desire pregnancy or need to consider pregnancy termination. Mass General along with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology reaffirms the commitment to continue to provide the full range of high-quality, compassionate, patient-centered reproductive care for our patients. Please see important updates to our Family Planning Program.
Care from a Multidisciplinary Team
Patients in the Mass General Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program are cared for by an integrative team of specialists that guide them every step of the way. Our cardiac specialists work closely with maternal-fetal medicine specialists, anesthesiologists and cardiac imaging specialists to guide patients through planning, pregnancy and delivery. But our focus is also on lifelong postpartum cardiac care. The Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program serves a bridge to long-term cardiovascular health.
Providers in our program also lead patient care in the:
- Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center, which offers lifelong care of adult patients with congenital heart disease, specializing in valve problems, heart failure, multidisciplinary surgery, arrhythmia and pregnancy
- Corrigan Minehan Women’s Heart Health Program, which is dedicated to preventing and detecting cardiac conditions in women of all ages
- Maternal Fetal Medicine Program, which delivers comprehensive obstetric care to families with complicated or high-risk pregnancies
- Obstetric Anesthesia Division, which provides comprehensive obstetric anesthesia services for patients 24 hours a day
What to Expect
Our doctors and staff provide individualized care and treatment plans for patients before, during and after pregnancy. After consultation, our team of doctors and nurses meet to comprehensively review an individual’s information and establish a detailed multidisciplinary labor and delivery plan and anticipate all possible care needs for both mothers and babies. Clinicians are experienced in a variety of cardiovascular treatment during pregnancy, and in some situations testing, such as ultrasounds and exercise tests, might be useful to inform a patient’s risk. Our team wants to make sure you feel comfortable and so we will guide you every step of the way to ensure your questions have been answered from the cardiology team, the maternal fetal medicine experts and obstetric anesthesiologists.
Ways We Support Our Patients
Our program is committed to educating the medical professional and patient community about cardiovascular health during pregnancy. There is an urgent need for increased awareness and knowledge about the cardiovascular impacts during pregnancy to turn the tides of maternal mortality in the United States.
Our program has held an annual education series for medical professional bringing together obstetricians, cardiologists and anesthesiologists to learn collaboratively about management of high risk cardiovascular conditions in pregnancy.
Our team’s research focusing on cardiovascular disease and pregnancy ensures that we are providing the latest in treatment options leading to the best possible outcomes for our patients. Learn more about the research interests of our team:
Doreen DeFaria Yeh, MD
Michael Honigberg, MD
Emily Lau, MD
Christopher Learn, MD
Amy A. Sarma, MD, MHS
- A clinical trial of virtual cardiac rehabilitation among patients with postpartum hypertension (NCT04998942) for which she is the principal investigator and received the 2020 Department of Medicine Innovation Grant.
- A multidisciplinary randomized control trial of a virtually delivered algorithm for postpartum hypertension management among patients with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, for which she is a co-investigator with Dr. Ilona Goldfarb (Maternal Fetal Medicine) and which is supported by the CRICO Patient Safety Award.
- A multi-site effort to develop the first U.S. based prospective registry of cardiovascular disease in pregnancy (the HOPE Study, in collaboration with Saint Luke’s Hospital).
- A study recently funded by the American Heart Association Go Red for Women (2022) Grant that will study the hypothesis that pregnancy unmasks both medical and health-related social risks that each contribute to hypertension and future cardiovascular disease in Black and Hispanic individuals of child-bearing age, for which she is a co-investigator, and which is led by Dr. Michael Honigberg.
Dr. Sarma is excited by the opportunities to advance the care of pregnant patients with cardiovascular disease through the multidisciplinary clinical program as well as collaborative research projects.
Nandita Scott, MD, FACC
Ada Stefanescu, MD, MSc, FACC
Malissa Wood, MD
- Bridging the Gap in Cardovascular Disease During Pregnancy (Video)
- Congenital Heart Disease, Pregnancy and the Challenges of Delivering Specialized Cardiac Care
- Review: Delivering Coordinated Cardio-obstetrics Care
- Pregnant Women with High-risk Cardiac Conditions Require Multidisiplinary Care
- Women's Heart Health & Effects on Pregnancy (Video)
- Ami Bhatt, MD (ACHD faculty)
- Malissa Wood, MD (Co-director of Women’s Heart Health Program)
- Christopher Learn, MD (ACHD faculty)
- Sarah Tsiaras, MD
- Nandita Scott, MD (Co-director of Women’s Heart Health Program)
- Michael Honigberg, MD
- Emily Lau, MD
- Ada Stefanescu, MD (ACHD faculty/Intervention)
- Mary Appleyard, RN
- Lauren McLaughlin, RN
- Sherrin Gallagher, NP
- Patricia Williams, NP
- Alexis Auger, NP
- Charlene O’Reilly, NP
- Kate Shepperd, PA
Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialists:
Courtney's Risk: Pregnancy & Heart Health
Courtney was treated at Massachusetts General Hospital at age 8 for cancer, but chemotherapy weakened her heart. She came to the Women's Heart Health Program, where Dr. Scott oversaw her two safe and successful pregnancies.
The Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program at Mass General provides personalized and exceptional multidisciplinary care for people who are pregnant, or those who desire pregnancy, with either congenital or acquired cardiac conditions.