Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect, occurring in about 1 in 100 live births. Fortunately, today's technology allows medical professionals to identify many of these heart defects before birth.
Our fetal cardiology team specializes in caring for mothers with high-risk pregnancies and their babies, using advanced imaging to make an early and accurate diagnosis. Early detection enables the family and medical team to take necessary precautions and develop a care plan for delivery and care of the newborn. This coordinated care leads to a better outcome for the baby and entire family.
Using state-of-the-art imaging through fetal echocardiogram, our fetal cardiologist provides comprehensive assessment of the heart in utero. The ideal time to perform a fetal echocardiogram is between 18 and 22 weeks gestation, however they can be performed any time after 18 weeks. Our team will follow the baby closely throughout the pregnancy and delivery.
There are a number of reasons an expectant mom might be referred for a fetal echocardiogram including:
Maternal risk factors
- Certain medications taken during pregnancy
- Diabetes and other medical conditions, including lupus
- Exposure to certain viral infections
- Assistance with fertility
Fetal risk factors
- Suspected heart or rhythm abnormality on ultrasound
- Abnormal prenatal screening
- Non-cardiac abnormalities
- Suboptimal imaging of the heart
- Monochorionic twins (shared placenta)
Family history risk factors
- Congenital heart disease in a first degree relative (sibling or parent) of the baby
Why choose CHoR?
A limited number of pediatric cardiologists in the United States have advanced training to perform and interpret fetal cardiac ultrasounds. Our fetal cardiologist has a unique combination of training in pediatrics, pediatric cardiology and advanced fetal imaging. This expertise ensures highly professional and comprehensive care for babies with heart defects and many other congenital abnormalities.
Our multidisciplinary team includes specialists from cardiology, perinatal medicine, neonatology, critical care medicine, genetics and cardiothoracic surgery. When a family learns that their unborn baby may have a heart condition, this team works in unison to care for the family through every stage – from diagnosis to delivery and surgery when necessary. These specialists provide comprehensive and ongoing follow-up care, helping patients thrive into adulthood.
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