WellSpan Maternal-Fetal Medicine Expands

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wellspan Maternal-fetal Medicine (MFM) recently expanded to serve patients in Lancaster County and Franklin County. The Northern Lancaster County office is the first new service WellSpan has established in that area since completing its affiliation with Ephrata Community Hospital in October 2013. Additionally, in early 2013, WellSpan partnered with Summit Health to open the Chambersburg office.

Perinatologists Cynthia Anderson, MD; James T. Barber, DO; James Hole, DO; Mary Jo Johnson, MD; and Erik Smith, DO, partner with obstetricians in the Central Pennsylvania region to provide diagnostic and consultative services focused on high-risk obstetrics.

MFM specialists — also called perinatologists — are obstetricians who have the specific training and experience needed to perform complex diagnostic and therapeutic procedures during high-risk pregnancies. WellSpan specialists co-manage pregnancies complicated by fetal abnormalities, including growth disorders, inherited diseases and structural malformations, as well as maternal disorders, including diabetes, hypertensive disorders and other chronic medical diseases.

“There is a role for a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in most pregnancies,” explains Dr. Barber, OB/GYN, WellSpan Maternal-Fetal Medicine. “We partner with local obstetricians to perform targeted ultrasound screenings as early as 11–13 weeks into a pregnancy, as well as fetal cardiac ultrasounds. We also offer diagnostic genetic procedures, such as amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling and umbilical cord blood sampling.

“We monitor high-risk pregnancies in which the mother has special medical issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity,” he continues. “And we manage multiple births — twins, triplets, quads. These cases present unique medical challenges that require specialized care.”

In addition to the new locations, early last year WellSpan Maternal-Fetal Medicine began offering a higher level of MFM care — intrauterine fetal procedures that a patient would otherwise have to travel to Pittsburgh or Philadelphia to receive.

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), for example, is a rare complication of identical twins. The condition occurs when fetuses share a placenta. In TTTS, the placental connections do not correctly supply oxygen and nutrients to the fetuses and cause unequal blood flow between the twins. Without surgical intervention, the mortality rate for TTTS cases runs in the range of 80–90 percent, according to Dr. Barber.

“An MFM surgeon will attempt to correct this condition using fetoscopy, an intrauterine endoscopic procedure that allows the surgeon to close the shared vascular connections on the placenta, thereby giving each fetus separate placental circulation,” he explains.

“Having these new capabilities at WellSpan is a tremendous benefit to the patients in our region,” Dr. Barber concludes.

The expansion of WellSpan Maternal-Fetal Medicine underscores WellSpan’s commitment to serving the obstetric and perinatal needs of the region. WellSpan is committed to building and sustaining a regional MFM program that offers timely, coordinated transitions of care, as well as prompt communication with primary care providers regarding patient treatment and follow-up recommendations.

To learn more about WellSpan Maternal-Fetal Medicine, visit wellspan.org/wmg or call 717-851-2722 in York, 717-338-3292 in Gettysburg, 877-722-1757 in Chambersburg or 866-244-3492 in Ephrata.