Dr. Lam recalls the geographical areas patients travel from to go to the Banner Maternal-Fetal Center and shares the fetal conditions commonly treated.
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Well, as maternal-fetal medicine specialists that practice here at Banner Good Samaritan, the main area that we draw, the majority of our patients are here in the greater Phoenix area and surrounding cities, for example, Chandler, Gilbert, down to Tucson. However, we do get a lot of patients that come from up north as far as Chinle and White River. Sometimes we’ll also get patients that are transported to us from Southern Utah or from the border of California and Arizona, as well as from West Texas. As a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, we treat both mom and baby. So mothers with specific medical problems that may complicate the pregnancy are the types of patients that we will see. The most common conditions being things such as pre-eclampsia, diabetes, mothers who are what we call advanced maternal age may have certain conditions that are brought on by their stage in life that may complicate the pregnancy, for example autoimmune diseases such as lupus or kidney disease. So anything that basically might impinge upon a mother’s health and therefore, impinge upon the pregnancy we will see as maternal-fetal medicine specialist. In our specialty, one of the great things is that we also work with two patients concurrently – mother and baby, and my area within the fetal therapy is where we focus on babies that have conditions in-utero, whether they are physical or immunologic or something like, that that can interfere with their existence, both in-utero and therefore shorten their time to develop and may lead to complications because of a pre-term delivery. So for example, conditions that we treat specifically here at the maternal-fetal center are things called RH, or maternal alloimmunization, so basically mom develops an antibody to certain aspects on the baby’s blood cells and can therefore kill off the baby’s cells and cause them to be severely anemic. We deal with babies that have obstructions in their urinary tract systems or if their chests fill with fluid called pleural effusions, we will see them and sometimes put in shunts to help drain those issues. One of the newest procedures that my partner and I have brought here to Banner Good Samaritan is in-utero laser ablation for twin-to-twin transfusion. Twin-to-twin transfusion is a special type of twinning whereby the babies are connected through blood vessels in their placenta and therefore one baby ends up transfusing blood or donating its blood to its partner, so one baby becomes small and anemic and the other baby becomes very big and overly filled with fluid, and as a result, if it’s left untreated it becomes more and more severe, there’s up to over 50% chance that one baby can die, and if one baby dies, then there’s greater than 50% chance its partner will die. So intervening in that sort of situation becomes very important in trying to help salvage births from that sort of situation.