A mum-to-be’s life was saved after a blood clot was removed from her brain within hours of her suffering a stroke – just three days before giving birth to a healthy boy.
Jana Smith, 29, is only the third pregnant woman in the UK to undergo the pioneering treatment which saw a catheter inserted in her groin.
The method physically removes the clot and involves a catheter been fed up to her brain through the blood vessels – rather than using drugs, which could harm the baby.
Jana, who has now made a full recovery, had a healthy baby – Jonathan – by caesarean section three days later.
Jana was 39 weeks pregnant in the bathroom at her home in Sheffield. South Yorks., when she suddenly slid to the floor and was unable to get up.
Thankfully, Jana was in the middle of an online chat conversation with her husband Tom, who got worried when she stopped responding and rushed home to her rescue.
But she had already lost movement in the left side of her body, could not move her left arm or leg and her speech was very slurred.
She said: “I tried to grab onto different things like the edge of the bath to try and pull myself up, but I had no strength.
“I was very scared for the baby and didn’t care much about myself but kept hands on my belly trying to monitor baby’s movements.
“It still makes me very emotional.”
Heavily pregnant Jana was rushed to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where she was given an immediate CT scan.
This confirmed a clot in her brain and it was decided that the mechanical thrombectomy procedure would be the best treatment rather than the normal drugs-based methods.
Consultants inserted a catheter in Jana’s groin and fed it up to her brain, using X-rays to guide it.
The clot was then removed using suction in a procedure which took just 20 minutes.
A theatre was kept on standby in case an emergency caesarean was necessary.
Lead consultant Dr Nagaraja said: “The mechanical method enabled us to save Jana without using drugs which could have harmed her baby and enabled it to remain in the uterus.
“Within hours of the procedure, Jana had recovered significantly and regained most of her function.”
Jana said: “It was very scary and emotionally difficult for me and my husband because we’ve been waiting for this baby for some time.
“I had a miscarriage last year so little Jonny is our much-wanted rainbow baby.
“The fact they saved me so quickly and I made a full recovery means the world to us.”
She said: “He’s a healthy beautiful little boy with a big appetite and I’m able to fully take care of him.
“My left side is fully recovered now and I keep practising my fine motor skills on the baby clothes every day.
“When he’s old enough to understand it, we will tell him the story of what happened when he was born.”
Jana wants to use her experience to raise awareness of how important it is to act fast if you think someone is having a stroke.