Study shows new moms’ mortality rate improves

A study just out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a decrease in maternal death rates for the first time in four years. 

The nationwide improvement comes as Northside Hospital has taken steps to improve the problem in Georgia. 

At Northside — whose Atlanta hospital sees more deliveries each year than any other hospital in the U.S. — physicians in the Northside Hospital Heart Institute have begun working with obstetricians to help provide care to pregnant women who have cardiac issues or develop them during pregnancy. 

Dr. Michele Voeltz, a cardiologist with the Northside Hospital Heart Institute, said she thinks there are a number of factors behind the CDC study’s findings, and that the “significant increase” in the rate of maternal mortality from mid-2020 through early 2022 may be at least in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the illness’ complications on pregnant women. 

“At the same time,” she said, “tremendous focus has been placed upon reduction of maternal mortality on all levels, from the individual provider to the federal government.” 

The report showed a national maternal mortality rate of 22.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2022, compared to 32.9 a year earlier. 

“We are likely seeing the benefits of systems of care, awareness of the impact of conscious and subconscious bias and the focus on reduction of disparities, and the formation of task forces and working groups,” Dr. Voeltz said. 

She said Northside created a multidisciplinary care team that integrated obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, anesthesiology, cardiology and critical care medicine physicians. 

“We also have continued to develop a strong ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) program with a team that is prepared to care for the very sickest patients during pregnancy, delivery and the fourth trimester,” Dr. Voeltz said. 

“I believe that these efforts will lead to a continued reduction in maternal mortality rates in Georgia as well as the United States. Although we still have a long distance to cover, I have the utmost faith in our ability to improve outcomes in one of our most vulnerable patient populations.” 

Learn about the cardio-obstetric program at Northside.


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Dr. Michele D. Voeltz picture

Dr. Michele D. Voeltz

Specialties: Interventional Cardiology, Cardiology

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Dr. Michele D. Voeltz is a board-certified physician in internal medicine, cardiology and interventional cardiology. She specializes in complex coronary intervention, multi-vessel stenting and mechanical circulatory support.

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