Mert Ozan Bahtiyar, MD, director of the Yale Medicine Fetal Care Center, is an expert in diagnosing and treating complex abnormalities in babies before they are born. He delivers babies at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Dr. Bahtiyar’s primary research interests are ultrasound and fetal echocardiography, which uses sound waves to examine a developing baby’s cardiovascular system. He also focuses on invasive fetal therapy, including in utero surgery. He was part of the Yale team that performed—for the first time in the state—in utero laser therapy in pregnancies complicated by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a rare disorder that can affect identical twins who share a placenta.
Fetal therapy, or treating a baby’s abnormalities in utero through medication (given to the mother) or surgery, is a relatively new and rapidly advancing field. “I feel like we are making changes for patients, and it is very rare that you can make many changes in life,” Dr. Bahtiyar says. “I went into this field knowing that I could help people.”
While some abnormalities can be treated successfully, in other cases Dr. Bahtiyar prepares expectant parents for problems their child will face after birth. “Knowledge is power and the more you know, the better you can care for your baby,” he says. “At our Fetal Care Center, we offer a support group, which is key since women whose babies have significant anomalies are at a higher risk for anxiety and depression. Knowing our care coordinator and nurse, Diane Wall, is there for them makes a big difference.”
Dr. Bahtiyar is also an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology & reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine.