Early Prenatal Detection

One out of every 125 infants are born with a congenital heart defect. Heart defects are among the most common birth defects and the leading cause of birth defect related deaths. However, in the recent years advances in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of congenital heart disease have lead to the dramatic improvement in the survival of children with serious heart defects.

Therefore, we are dedicated in the early prenatal detection of congenital heart disease. This allows for more careful planning of future care which can lead to a more successful outcome. After the fetal echocardiogram is completed, you will receive counseling from our cardiologists who will explain the results and implication of the findings.

Facts Regarding a Fetal Echocardiogram

  1. The most optimal time to perform a fetal echocardiogram is between 18 and 22 weeks gestation
  2. Indications for a fetal echocardiogram:
    • Family history of a congenital heart defect in the mother or previous children
    • Abnormal fetal heart rhythm
    • Fetal heart abnormalities detected during a routine pregnancy ultrasound scan by the obstetrician
    • Abnormality of another major organ system in the fetus
    • Maternal history of the following:
      • Diabetes mellitus or gestational diabetes
      • Autoimmune disorder
      • Phenyketonuria
      • Rubella, parvovirus, coxsackie or other viral exposure during pregnancy
      • Exposure to certain drugs in the first trimester of pregnancy such as seizure
        medications, alcohol, antidepressants, etc.
      • Known or suspicion of abnormal chromosomes or karyotype in the fetus
      • Known or suspicion of certain other genetic abnormalities in the fetus
  3. Fetus with certain rapid cardiac rhythms can be safely treated by administrating medications to the mother which can cause the placenta to prevent congestive heart failure in the fetus
  4. Given current technological advances, most types of major congenital heart defects can be detected

If the fetus has evidence of a congenital heart defect which will eventually require surgical intervention, you will be referred immediately to a congenital heart surgeon who will explain the surgical procedure(s) and discuss surgical outcomes.