Chandler mother battles heart condition while delivering twins before Mother’s Day

Maria Sibajene was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called pericarditis which can cause problems for pregnant women if left untreated.
Published: May. 13, 2023 at 10:15 PM MST
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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A pregnancy checkup took a turn in Chandler. “It was really scary but I was more concerned with what does this mean for the babies,” said Maria Sibajene.

Back in February, Sibajene was pregnant with twins and went to the doctor to check on them. At the time, she had some chest pain but thought it was because of the pregnancy. “I thought I was in the bed too long, you know something regular and simple.” At this visit, doctors noticed a major problem, not with unborn twins but with Sibajene herself. “We did see there was a fair amount of fluid and we were trying to figure out how to transfer her to get care and figure out the best treatment for her,” said Dr. Rachel Bond, a cardiologist with Dignity Health.

Dr. Bond said Sibajene was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called pericarditis which, if left untreated, can cause problems, especially for someone who is pregnant. “It felt like when you are underwater and you need to come up for air but I couldn’t come up for air I couldn’t breathe well,” said Sibajene as she described what the condition was like.

Dr. Bond said pericarditis typically forms following a viral infection which, in Sibajene’s case, she contracted COVID-19 back in November. “Sometimes with COVID-19 like any viral infection is that the lining around the heart, the heart is actually in a sack of layered material called the pericardium. Sometimes that lining can become inflamed,” said Dr. Bond.

Thanks to a team of doctors, Sibjene was able to get treated and deliver her two healthy babies just in time for Mother’s Day. “Take your health seriously and look for things that could come as complications because for me because at three months I was running marathons and didn’t expect I would get a heart problem.”

Sibajene thanks the doctors for saving her life as well as her daughters because going to check on them is what helped doctors catch this early.

Symptoms of pericarditis include chest pain, shortness of breath while lying down, and pounding heartbeat.