Women's and Family Health

Fetal echocardiography

Congenital heart disease is one of the most common congenital malformations and early diagnosis can mean early intervention and better survival for the fetus and/or newborn.
Cardiac assessment in utero, i.e. during pregnancy, carried out by a Pediatric Cardiologist, has specific indications, although it can be carried out by any woman/couple who wishes to have this additional assessment.
Fetal echocardiography can diagnose major congenital heart defects, which have a high morbidity and mortality rate. However, it cannot exclude some heart diseases that can only be diagnosed in the post-natal period, i.e. after birth.
The ideal age for a fetal echocardiogram is between 20 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, although in specific situations it can be carried out at other weeks of gestation.
The diagnosis of congenital heart disease during pregnancy allows the parents to be counseled, the situation to be clarified in terms of prognosis and referral to the health service with the best conditions for delivery and perinatal care for the newborn, as well as to referral services for pediatric cardiac surgery.

In addition to referral by obstetrics in the event of suspected congenital heart disease, other situations should be subject to a fetal echocardiogram:

Maternal situations: non-gestational diabetes, phenylketonuria, rheumatological diseases such as lupus, use of risky medicines or drugs such as anticonvulsants, lithium, isotretinoin, etc.

Family situations: family history of cardiac malformations, specific risk of cardiac malformation in the fetus

Fetal situations: suspicion of congenital heart disease during obstetric assessment, diagnosis of another non-cardiac congenital malformation, arrhythmias in the fetus, enlarged nuchal translucency, etc.

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