Northside Hospital in Atlanta is developing and launching a new Fetal Therapy Program to treat some of Georgia’s sickest unborn babies.
Northside entered into an agreement this month with Texas Children's Fetal Center®, located within Texas Children's Pavilion for Women in Houston, to train Northside’s maternal-fetal medicine physicians on a procedure to treat twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Affecting 10 to 15 percent of identical twin pregnancies with a shared placenta, TTTS is a serious complication that, if left untreated, can result in the death of one or both of the babies in more than 90 percent of these pregnancies.
Intrauterine selective fetoscopic laser photocoagulation, or SFLP, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses laser energy to stop the abnormal blood vessel connections that cause twins to share a blood supply, sometimes disproportionately, and often halts the progression of TTTS. Currently, Georgia mothers requiring SFLP are transferred out of state during pregnancy for treatment as no doctors or hospitals in Georgia offer the procedure.
"This new fetal therapy program is the next step in the evolution of our care at Northside and to enhancing the services we already provide to our mothers and babies," said Dr. Kevin Gomez, Northside Hospital Center for Perinatal Medicine and Georgia Perinatal Consultants. “We're continuing to provide the highest quality maternity and newborn services to ensure the best possible clinical outcomes for high-risk and complicated pregnancies.”
For more than a generation, Northside Hospital in Atlanta has been the undisputed leader in maternity and newborn services, delivering more babies than any other single hospital in the United States. Physicians at Northside perform a variety of interventional and invasive fetal therapies. Melissa Sisson, Northside’s director of women’s services, said this latest initiative is an important expansion of a highly regarded perinatal program.
“Women who experience difficult or high-risk pregnancies often come to Northside Hospital because we are so well-equipped to support them,” said Sisson. “We have sophisticated early warning systems designed to manage maternal complications, and our staff is remarkable in the care they provide.”
“As one of the nation's leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormalities in unborn and newborn infants and one of only a few providers nationally of the full spectrum of fetal therapies, Texas Children’s Fetal Center is pleased to partner with Northside Hospital so women whose babies are affected by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome can get the care they need, closer to home,” said Dr. Michael Belfort, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital. “Our mission at Texas Children’s Fetal Center is to deliver the highest quality of care and patient satisfaction and we are delighted to help Northside Hospital establish this definitive program.”
Northside Hospital’s Fetal Therapy Program will be offered within its Atlanta-campus Women's Center. Northside hopes to have the program operational by late summer 2018.