Fetal echocardiography is a detailed ultrasound assessing the structure and function of the fetal heart prior to birth.
Reasons for fetal echocardiograpy include
- Suspected structural heart disease on routine screening
- Family history of congenital heart disease, chromosomal
abnormalities or cardiomyopathy in a first degree relative
- Fetal chromosomal abnormalities (including Down syndrome
and other trisomies)
- Extracardiac malformations (kidney, lung, gut and brain)
- Increased nuchal translucency on first trimester screening
- Maternal metabolic disorders including diabetes mellitus and
- Fetal arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm)
- Monochorionic (identical) twin pregnancies
- Maternal exposure to certain medications or viruses during
- Fetal hydrops (accumulation of fluid within body cavities)
A detailed fetal echocardiogram can identify normal cardiac structure from early in the second trimester (from approximately 14 weeks of pregnancy).