A heart full of love: Mother gets her valve opened to deliver healthy baby

Loydi Lopez with her son Derek

An Amityville woman who needed medical intervention 20 weeks into her pregnancy because of a heart problem met Friday during an emotional event at North Shore University Hospital with some of the physicians who helped to save the lives of both her and her baby.

Loydi Lopez, 31, developed complications when she was about 20 weeks pregnant with her son, Derek. The boy was born on Sept. 24 and appeared with his mother at the event.

Ms. Lopez was suffering from severe mitral valve stenosis, or an extreme narrowing of one of her heart valves. When women are pregnant, there is an increase in the amount of blood flowing through their bodies to provide for their babies. Ms. Lopez’s heart was quickly becoming unable to manage this increased blood flow; she was very tired and was having great difficulty breathing. Her heart rate was irregular and dangerously fast. That’s when physicians from North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) and Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan stepped in, repaired Ms. Lopez’s heart and allowed her to safely carry her pregnancy to full term.

 “We knew when Ms. Lopez came to us that we needed to do something and quickly or she and her baby’s health would be in danger,” saidBurton Rochelson, MD, chief of maternal-fetal medicine for the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Carlos Ruiz, MD, director of the structural and congenital heart disease program at Lenox Hill Hospital, teamed with Donna Marchant, MD, director of the cardiac fellowship program at NSUH, to treat Ms. Lopez’s heart issue. Ms. Lopez had a balloon inserted into her mitral valve to expand it; this was a non-surgical procedure. Dr. Rochelson and his team monitored the baby’s health before and afterward.

“We are so grateful to see Loydi and her baby so healthy,” Dr. Marchant said. “She is already making so much progress and she will be able to better take care of her children and resume her daily activities.”

Ms. Lopez said through an interpreter that she was so grateful that she and Derek, with the help of North Shore-LIJ Health System physicians, were able to get through this situation in a healthy manner.

“I was confident in God and the doctors here,” Ms. Lopez said. “My youngest child wanted a younger brother to play with and I’m looking forward to seeing all of my children together -- happy and healthy.”

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