A North Texas First: Aortic Balloon Saves the Life of Mother and Baby During C-Section

Providers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas saved a woman and her baby’s life in the first regional use of aortic balloon catheter in an OB-GYN case.

When a woman’s placenta is positioned low in the uterus and near a C-section scar, a condition called placenta accreta where the placenta eats its way through the uterus and attached to another organ is more likely. This condition causes the mortality rate for baby’s to jump to six or seven percent when delivered via C-section, according to Dr. Robert Cohen, an OB-GYN on the medical staff of Presbyterian. One in 277 pregnancies result in the condition today.

The balloon device was originally developed for the battlefield, stabilizing soldiers by stopping blood loss, but the version used at Presbyterian is smaller with fewer complications.

In the case of Sunnee “Bee” Freebairn’s, the placenta had attached to the bladder and developed blood vessels that could risk catastrophic blood loss during the C-section. The aortic balloon catheter was used successfully before the C-section to reduce blood loss, and both mom and baby are doing well.