Team of doctors step up to help Mesa woman in need of urgent heart surgery

A Mesa woman is thanking her team of doctors after they came together to perform a successful heart surgery while she was pregnant.
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 4:32 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Mesa woman is thanking her team of doctors after they came together to perform a successful heart surgery while she was pregnant.

Any surgery can be risky during pregnancy, especially those involving the heart. Of all the complications that can arise in a pregnancy, needing an urgent heart procedure is one of the scariest. However, doctors say that heart disease is preventable if you take action.

“It was pretty scary; it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I supposed to do? Is the baby going to be okay?’” said Jocelyn Davis. She said what began as an easy pregnancy quickly took a turn. “When I was about 15 weeks pregnant, I fainted in my kitchen,” Davis said.

Doctors feared her heart was causing the problem, and a test revealed the answer. “They did an EKG. It was showing that my heart was pausing,” she said. Davis was diagnosed with an arrhythmia of the heart and quickly needed a pacemaker, a procedure risky for pregnant women. “Anesthesia in general while you’re pregnant and being under for so long obviously causes a great risk to her [the baby],” Davis said.

Dr. Rachel Bond, a cardiologist with Dignity Health, said they put together a team of doctors from cardiology to OBGYN care to discuss their options. “Although surgeries are not as often done during pregnancy, there are certain circumstances where they have to be done, and Jocelyn’s was one of them,” Dr. Bond said.

Ultimately, it was a decision Jocelyn didn’t take lightly. “They told me it’s necessary. It’s what’s best for you. If it was going to keep me safe and my baby safe, why not?” she said. “It was very much a relief to know that someone was strictly watching my monitor making sure nothing was wrong.”

The procedure proved to be a success. “They told me the ultrasound was okay, and she was going to be okay, kicking away, doing whatever she does,” Davis said. “It was very much a sigh of relief.”

Last April, Davis and her husband welcomed their daughter Melody. Now Davis and Dignity Health are working to encourage women to get routine heart health checks, especially if they’re pregnant. “Pregnancy is deemed a cardiac stress test. As a result, sometimes pregnancy can actually unmask underlying heart issues,” Davis said. She said her story proves that a simple checkup can save your life. “Knowing that my heart is okay makes things a lot easier for my family,” she said.

In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death among pregnant women. Click here for a list of signs and symptoms.