“Heart Healthy Moms” Clinic to Monitor Pregnancy-induced Severe Heart Failure

March 21, 2023

DETROIT (March 21, 2023) – Like any expectant mother, Ashley Lobocki’s mind was on diapers, bottles and her new baby in the months leading up to her delivery—not heart failure. But that’s exactly the life-threatening diagnosis she received during pregnancy while working as a cardiac-trained trauma nurse at Henry Ford Hospital. She experienced weight loss, heartrate irregularities and found herself easily winded before learning something was dangerously wrong.

“I wanted my baby to be born healthy. It was my first pregnancy, and I wanted that glowing, loving first experience. The happiness, the joy,” said Lobocki, a 38-year-old mom from Highland. “They didn’t know if I would live, and I wasn’t ready to die. I’m still fighting all these years later.”

Lobocki was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy, a pregnancy-related heart failure condition. It’s one of the life-threatening pregnancy-induced health issues women experience, but they often don’t know they’re even at risk. While postpartum complications and hemorrhaging are on the decline, heart disease numbers are going up, according to Ryhm Radjef M.D., director of Henry Ford Health’s Women’s Heart and Cardio-Obstetric program.

“When you look at why women are dying, the number one cause is cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Radjef. “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says cardiovascular disease is now the leading cause of death in pregnant and postpartum women, but it’s not talked about widely enough. We need to change that.”

The symptoms to look for, according to Dr. Radjef, are worsening fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty lying flat, waking up at night short of breath, leg swelling, excessive weight gain, heart racing, dizziness or fainting.

To help patients like Lobocki and work to combat the alarming trends, Henry Ford Health recently launched the “Heart Healthy Moms” clinic, founded and led by Dr. Radjef. The cardiovascular clinic provides a new and modified postpartum heart program, focusing on remote blood pressure monitoring, for patients diagnosed with hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.  

“We hope to increase awareness on modifiable risk factors, help our patients maintain healthy blood pressure after pregnancy, improve follow up and early recognition of heart disease, and provide high quality care to eventually improve maternal outcomes for women with cardiovascular risk factors,” said Dr. Radjef.

The innovative clinic also aims to focus on disparities in health care for women at high risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality that exist in the community. “Heart Healthy Moms” is made possible in part by a Michigan Health Endowment Fund $100,000 grant, with more funding resources expected in the future.

Located inside the state-of-the-art, preventive cardiology facility at the Henry Ford Medical Center – Second Avenue in Detroit, the clinic tele-monitors blood pressure and other clinical parameters in at-risk, post-partum patients from Detroit and surrounding communities. Hypertensive disorders during pregnancy are reportedly the leading cause of maternal mortality in the U.S. and found to be associated with higher risks of cardiovascular disease in the future, including heart attacks and stroke.

Referrals and appointments for preconception counseling, high-risk pregnancy or post-partum program are available through Henry Ford Cardio-Obstetrics.

According to previous studies, there are significant shortcomings in blood pressure management after pregnancy, but telehealth and remote monitoring have shown promise as effective, feasible and efficient methods, for early identification and management of blood pressure and related cardiovascular disorders.

“Two years ago, the CDC released data on maternal mortality in the U.S. and unfortunately we are the country with the highest rate of maternal mortality in all developed nations,” said Dr. Radjef, referencing the 2021 CDC report.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, according to the World Health Organization, including in the United States.

Lobocki’s experience with heart failure during pregnancy changed her life, and she now looks for any opportunity to empower and educate others about the risks. She supports the new clinic that aims to help women like her. 

“Women are very busy and wear a lot of hats. We are caretakers of others and don’t always pay attention to our own health,” she said.



 Visit henryford.com/services/cardiology/women/heart-healthy-moms or call 313-916-2737 and ask for the "Heart Healthy Moms" program.

To learn more about Ashley Lobocki’ s story, visit henryford.com/services/advanced-heart-failure/patient-stories/ashley.


MEDIA CONTACT: Sal Giacona / sgiacon1@hfhs.org / 313-421-9108



Serving communities across Michigan and beyond, Henry Ford Health is committed to partnering with patients and members along their entire health journey. Henry Ford Health provides a full continuum of services – from primary and preventative care, to complex and specialty care, health insurance, a full suite of home health offerings, virtual care, pharmacy, eye care and other healthcare retail.

It is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, recognized for clinical excellence in cancer care, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and sports medicine, and multi-organ transplants. Consistently ranked among the top five NIH-funded institutions in Michigan, Henry Ford Health engages in more than 2,000 research projects annually. Equally committed to educating the next generation of health professionals, Henry Ford Health trains more than 4,000 medical students, residents, and fellows every year across 50+ accredited programs.

With more than 33,000 valued team members, Henry Ford Health is also among Michigan’s largest and most diverse employers, including nearly 6,000 physicians and researchers from the Henry Ford Medical Group, Henry Ford Physician Network and Jackson Health Network.

The health system is led by President and CEO Robert G. Riney and serves a growing number of customers across 250+ locations throughout Michigan including five acute care hospitals, two destination facilities for complex cancer and orthopedics and sports medicine care, a behavioral health facility, primary care, and urgent care centers.


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