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Children's Hospital Foundation Heart Center

Fetal cardiology

Diagnosing and caring for congenital heart diseases

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 cares 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. By coordinating care, we can help create a better outcome for babies and families.

What is a fetal echocardiogram

Using state-of-the-art imaging through fetal echocardiogram – a special type of ultrasound that takes pictures of your baby’s heart – our fetal cardiologist conducts a comprehensive assessment of your baby’s health in utero. Ideally, we perform a fetal echocardiogram between 18 and 22 weeks of gestation. We’ll follow your baby closely through the remainder of your pregnancy and delivery.

Maternal, fetal and family history risk factors associated with congenital heart disease

Among the many reasons an expectant mom might be referred for a fetal echocardiogram include:

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 the baby’s sibling or parent

Why choose CHoR for your child's heart care?

One of the nation’s few pediatric cardiologists with advanced training to perform and interpret fetal cardiac ultrasounds is right here at CHoR. Our fetal cardiologist has a unique combination of skills in pediatrics, pediatric cardiology and advanced fetal imaging. This expertise ensures highly professional and comprehensive cardiac 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 might have a heart condition, our team works in unison to care for them through every stage – from diagnosis to delivery, and surgery when necessary.

Our heart care specialists provide comprehensive and ongoing follow-up care, helping patients thrive into adulthood.

Joanna Rosenthal
Joanna Rosenthal MD Cardiology, Fetal cardiology Read more
Scott Gullquist
Scott Gullquist MD Cardiology, Muscular Dystrophy Clinic, Fetal cardiology Read more
Uyen Truong
Uyen Truong MD Cardiology, Fetal cardiology Read more


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