Skip to contents
In This Issue:
Erin Cote-Hartford, right, her wife, Rachel Hartford, and son Aiden.
Early in her second pregnancy, Erin Cote-Hartford began to experience episodes of rapid heart beat and shortness of breath. She quickly recognized the signs of supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT, a rhythm disorder in which the heart beats faster than normal. She had also experienced the disorder when she was pregnant with her daughter, Abigail. Cote-Hartford immediately contacted her doctor, Katherine Economy, MD, of the Department of Gynecology and Center for Fetal Medicine, and one of three lead physicians for BWH’s new Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program.
"Dr. Economy put me in touch with a cardiologist at the Brigham," said Cote-Hartford, who, in addition to being a patient at BWH, is also a nurse on Tower 10BA. "I was first wary of going on medication because of the side effects it might have on the baby. But I was able to talk about the pros and cons with both doctors and decide on my next step."
Her experience is one of the many ways the new program draws upon BWH’s expertise in high-risk obstetrics and cardiovascular disease to create a comprehensive program to serve patients with cardiovascular disease in pregnancy. Through the program, high-risk patients receive integrated care before, during and after pregnancy with coordination of care across multiple specialists and sub-specialists
"Throughout Erin’s pregnancy, right up until her delivery, there were countless intimate communications between Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Cardiology," said Economy, who leads the program with Reena Pande, MD, and Anne Marie Valente, MD, both of the Cardiovascular Division. "We had constant contact, and when she had episodes of SVT, both teams were right there."
About a month before her due date, Cote-Hartford was hospitalized for previa, a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix.
"At this point, our coordinated care was even more essential, as Erin was a complicated patient from both a cardiovascular and obstetric standpoint," Economy said.
Cote-Hartford says that throughout all of the complications, the Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program was instrumental in making sure her SVT remained under control.
"A whole team would come see me every morning," Cote-Hartford said. "They would consult with Cardiology to make sure I was on the right medication and that it was preventing the arrhythmia."
Cote-Hartford delivered her son, Aiden Hartford, Jan. 18.
"Facing cardiovascular disease while pregnant is a scary thing for people to go through," Economy said. "Now, patients have a consistent portal to the resources they need, which is invaluable for both patients and providers."