Patient Story

Saint Luke’s Heart Disease in Pregnancy Program Wins Emily’s Heart

“I give God the credit for my blessing of good health and for allowing me to connect with a great team of doctors.” - Emily Lane

Emily Lane wholeheartedly believes Saint Luke’s Heart Disease in Pregnancy Program (HDPP) is one of the best decisions for her heart health.

In 1987, Emily was born with congenital heart disease, an uncommon condition that affects nearly 1% of births each year in the United States. She was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a well known combination of four heart issues that cause a critical reduction in blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs and a Ventricular Septal Defect, a hole in the two bottom chambers. As a result, one-year-old Emily had to undergo open heart surgery to correct these defects and allow normal childhood development.

As an adult, Emily didn’t know there were specialists that knew how to properly monitor and treat her condition. In 2016, her son’s pediatrician referred her to Anthony Magalski MD, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, a world-class comprehensive heart and vascular care center located in Kansas City.

“I was feeling a little nervous before my appointment,” Emily said. “I wasn’t sure what condition my heart was in, and I was worried to find out.”

“Fortunately, when Emily began seeing us her condition was stable, and she was asymptomatic which is an important determinant on how she would do with the stressors of pregnancy,” said Magalski.

Dr. Magalski registered Emily in the HDPP, which is a system of care that provides heart patients with a highly specialized, multidisciplinary team of cardiologists and Saint Luke’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center (MFM) physicians.

“We work very hard to streamline our communication between the team members, so that we are all on the same page in understanding the plan for each unique patient,” said Karen Florio, DO, Maternal and Fetal Medicine Specialist. “We think that by working together in the same clinic visit to ensure the health of both mom and baby, our outcomes have improved dramatically compared to functioning as individual doctors at separate visits. We are one of the only combined groups like this in the nation and we think this type of model will help to improve outcomes in all women.”

Emily receives regular visits with examinations, echocardiograms, and cardiac MRI to be certain her heart function stays strong during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and after pregnancy.

“Before I came to Saint Luke’s, I wondered how my condition would affect my future,” said Emily. “Having my own team of cardio and MFM physicians has made a huge difference for me because I can trust their professional guidance.”

Today, Emily has successfully and safely delivered the latter two of her three children at Saint Luke’s East Hospital, and feels her Saint Luke’s heart and pregnancy team made the process as smooth as possible.

“She continues to do extremely well, having just delivered her third child without complications related to her heart condition,” said Magalski.

“My care team has given me peace of mind because I feel confident that they are doing the best they can for me,” said Emily. “I give God the credit for my blessing of good health and for allowing me to connect with a great team of doctors.”

“We are and will continue to monitor her heart with imaging and stress tests,” said Magalski.

“We are so proud of the way Emily is progressing through her pregnancy,” said Florio. “Both her and her baby are healthy, and we will work very hard to ensure it stays that way.”

The HDPP has served over 1,000 women with various heart conditions across the Midwest. Learn more about Saint Luke’s Heart Disease for Pregnancy Program.