Pregnant mother in third trimester receives life-saving surgery to treat severe brain bleed

(from left to right) Rosa Montesdeocapinos holding baby daughter Luciana, with cerebrovascular neurosurgeon Jason Ellis, MD.

This past October, Rosa Montesdeocapinos, 32, from Ridgewood, NY, was pregnant in her third trimester when she was suddenly overcome by a severe headache and had to be rushed to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn. 

Ms. Montesdeocapinos underwent an emergency brain scan which revealed extensive intracranial hemorrhage, commonly known as a brain bleed. 

Jason Ellis, MD, a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and Northwell Health’s Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, determined that Ms. Montesdeocapinos was at a high risk of sudden deterioration and needed further specialized care in a tertiary care facility. As a result of Wyckoff’s clinical affiliation with Northwell Health, she was immediately transferred to Lenox Hill Hospital’s neurosurgical intensive care unit (NSICU) under the care of Dr. Ellis.

“Ms. Montesdeocapinos was in a very dire situation from the brain bleed and the fact that she was also in her third trimester of pregnancy meant that two lives were at risk,” said Dr. Ellis. “The intracranial hemorrhage was located in the temporal lobe of the brain. The bleeding was so extensive that all of the fluid spaces of her brain—known as ventricles—were completely filled with blood. Given her young age and the pattern of hemorrhage, it was suspected that the brain bleed was caused by a blood vessel abnormality called an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Brain AVM’s have a tendency to rupture, particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy.”

Extensive multidisciplinary discussions between Lenox Hill’s neurosurgery cerebrovascular team -- including Dr. Ellis, David Langer, MD, and Rafael Ortiz, MD -- along with the hospital’s obstetrics team commenced. It was determined that Ms. Montesdeocapinos should undergo a cesarean section to deliver her baby prior to definitively addressing the brain AVM. On October 5th, a healthy baby girl named Luciana was born weighing 3 lbs 4 ounces.

The following day, Ms. Montesdeocapinos underwent an angiogram performed by Dr. Ortiz. The angiogram confirmed the presence of a complex AVM, which required microsurgical resection to completely treat. Dr. Ellis performed the six-hour surgery later that day.

“Through a very small corridor, we were able to gain access to the very deep and complicated network of blood vessels located in the temporal lobe of the brain,” said Dr. Ellis. “The AVM was successfully removed and Ms. Montesdeocapinos had an excellent recovery. She was able to be discharged home soon after surgery without any neurological deficits.”

At a recent follow-up visit, Dr. Ellis reported, “Both mother and baby are happy and healthy!” Dr. Ellis credits the multidisciplinary team and expert care Ms. Montesdeocapinos received at both Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and Lenox Hill Hospital for enabling such a great result to be achieved.


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About Lenox Hill Hospital
Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the nation’s top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 “high performing” designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to

About Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center is a 320-bed teaching hospital that offers a broad range of primary care and specialty services. The hospital operates a number of community-based health centers in Brooklyn and Queens.  Wyckoff’s mission is to provide Quality Health Care with Kindness.  Located on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, Wyckoff’s primary service area includes the Greater Bushwick Brooklyn area and the Greater Ridgewood Queens area.   Established in 1889, Wyckoff is an invaluable resource to its local neighborhoods, with more than 90,000 visits to its Emergency Department, over 140,000 visits to its outpatient clinic services, and 1,600 babies delivered every year.  

Michelle Stiles
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Barbara Osborn
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