Barnes-Jewish Hospital | Washington University Physicians
NEW LIFE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

NEW LIFE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

BY Pam McGrath

In mid-March 2020, Marta Perez, MD, left her Florida-based private practice in obstetrics and gynecology to return to Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Perez had completed her obstetrics and gynecology residence at those institutions, and now her husband, Michael Chomat, MD, was finishing a pediatric cardiology fellowship at the School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and about to begin a pediatric intensive care fellowship.

Perez welcomed the move because it provided her with the opportunity to change the focus of her career. Rather than continuing in private practice, she wanted to return to academic medicine and focus exclusively on obstetrics. Now, working as an academic laborist, she serves as a hospital-based obstetrician who helps women deliver their babies and teaches residents and medical students about obstetrics.

Two factors in the timing of the move to St. Louis would prove to be extraordinary—for the world and for Perez. First, by early spring 2020, the scope and severity of a new coronavirus became evident worldwide, resulting in a pandemic. And second, Perez had learned she was pregnant with her first child, about to face many of the challenges and uncertainties her pregnant patients were facing.

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SIMPLIFYING POSTPARTUM CARE

SIMPLIFYING POSTPARTUM CARE

By Jen A. Miller

When a new mother with high blood pressure is sent home with her newborn, she leaves the hospital with instructions to return—or visit her doctor—for a blood pressure check within the first 72 hours after discharge from the hospital. And she must repeat that visit seven to 10 days later.

Some pregnant women have high blood pressure, or hypertension, at the time of conception; others may develop it during pregnancy as a symptom of preeclampsia or eclampsia. In any case, it’s vital for these women to continue to monitor blood pressure after labor and delivery. Left unchecked, high blood pressure can cause headache, fluid retention and nausea, as well as organ damage, stroke and worse. Worldwide, hypertension is the second leading cause of maternal mortality, according to the World Health Organization.

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FOR MOMS, OXYGEN DURING CHILDBIRTH OFTEN IS UNNECESSARY

FOR MOMS, OXYGEN DURING CHILDBIRTH OFTEN IS UNNECESSARY

BY Kristina Sauerwein

Babies who suffer oxygen deficiencies during birth are at risk of brain damage that can lead to developmental delays, cerebral palsy and even death. To prevent this, most women in labor undergo continuous monitoring of the baby’s heart rate and receive supplemental oxygen if the heart rate is abnormal, with the thought that this common practice increases oxygen delivery to the baby. However, there is conflicting evidence about whether this long-recommended practice improves infant health.

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ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH: CLEARING AMYLOID PLAQUES IN THE BRAIN

ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH: CLEARING AMYLOID PLAQUES IN THE BRAIN

BY TAMARA BHANDARI

As people age, a normal brain protein known as amyloid beta often starts to collect into harmful amyloid plaques in the brain. Such plaques can be the first step on the path to Alzheimer’s dementia. When they form around blood vessels in the brain, a condition known as cerebral amyloid angiopathy, the plaques also raise the risk of strokes.

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OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA: DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA: DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

BY PAM MCGRATH

People diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, experience frequent disruptions of breathing while asleep. Those disruptions can range in frequency from five times in an hour for mild sleep apnea to 30 times or more for severe sleep apnea. In other words, a person with severe OSA stops and starts breathing at least every two minutes within an hour.

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