PITTSBURGH, February 6, 2007 Stephen Emery, M.D., has joined the staff of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC of UPMC as clinical director of the hospitals new Center for Fetal Medicine and co-director of the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center at Magee in partnership with Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh. A specialist in fetal intervention, Dr. Emery also has been named assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He formerly served as co-founder and co-director of the Fetal Care Center at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and assistant professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Emery is focusing on the development of a program in fetal intervention at Magee, treating fetal abnormalities in the womb to minimize problems and aim for a healthier child at birth.
Using high-resolution ultrasound, we now are able to detect fetal anomalies earlier in pregnancy and with much greater accuracy, said Dr. Emery. When a problem is found, we can pull together an interdisciplinary team with pediatric specialists and others to establish a plan. This kind of cooperation increases expertise exponentially.
Since 1981, in-the-womb surgery has been used for a variety of conditions, including spina bifida, heart and circulatory problems, hernias, intestinal blockages, selected tumors and other malformations. Even so, such surgical intervention remains high risk for mother and baby. More recently, surgeons have used small needles and cameras to enter the womb and, sometimes, the fetus, to try to fix a developing problem. These minimally invasive techniques will likely be much less risky, Dr. Emery said.
These advances are a natural fit for Magee, Pittsburgh's premier maternity hospital, with its state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care unit and nearly 10,000 births a year, said W. Allen Hogge, M.D., chairman of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Pitt. We are excited to have a physician such as Dr. Emery with us, whose vision, expertise and enthusiasm will help us to build Magee's services even more for mothers and babies.
Dr. Emery praised his new colleagues at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Im an obstetrician, but my main relationships are with pediatric cardiologists, neurologists, radiologists and neurosurgeons, he said. It is at the boundaries between my specialty and theirs where innovation can take place.
Within the next six months, Magee physicians expect to perform such interventions as surgery for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a condition that sometimes develops between identical twins whose circulation is adversely affected through abnormal blood vessel connections in the placenta and umbilical cords. The syndrome, which is life threatening, may result in an imbalance of blood flow between the twins. Blocking these abnormal connections has been shown to improve pregnancy outcomes.
Dr. Emery's research is focused on minimally invasive in-utero repair of structural congenital heart defects. Were working closely with pediatric cardiologists to go to the next level of fetal surveillance beyond fetal heart rate, ultrasound and even color Doppler, said Dr. Emery, referring to a specialized ultrasound device. We can use tissue Doppler to look at the way the fetal heart wall moves and how well it can squeeze and pump. We want to be able to tell far in advance when a fetus is in trouble.
Any problems discovered such as a narrowed heart valve that reduces blood flow and affects normal cardiac development may be addressed earlier, while the fetus is still in the womb, to promote healthier newborns who need fewer medical treatments.
A native of Butler, Pa., Dr. Emery earned a bachelor of arts degree from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. He completed his medical degree at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. He served a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he also completed a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine and won numerous citations for excellence in teaching, research and academics.
Dr. Emery joined the Cleveland Clinic in 1997, where he was co-founder and co-director of the Fetal Care Center and director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Hillcrest Hospital. He is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine. In addition to the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Dr. Emery is a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.