The presence of a problem with baby’s heart can be an indicator of other structural or chromosomal abnormalities

Fetal Echo

fetal-echo-1

The presence of a problem with baby’s heart can be an indicator of other structural or chromosomal abnormalities

Common problems which can show on the fetal echo scan are:

  • Major structural abnormalities of the heart where chambers or vessels have not formed properly;
  • Major structural abnormalities of the heart where chambers or vessels are not connected properly;
  • Significant holes in the heart;
  • Significant abnormalities of the heart valves.

Routine ultrasound scans of your baby’s heart at 20 weeks may only pick up around 25% of defects depending on the skill of the operator and number of views of the heart which are looked at.

A specialist dedicated to looking at the heart structure and major vessels within and around the heart. A detailed scan like this can detect up to 75% of all heart defects. They can also provide you with much more information regarding a heart problem if it detected and treatment options that may be available .

When is it done

Ideally performed when you are between 18 and 22 weeks in pregnancy, although in certain conditions it can be performed earlier in the pregnancy to detect problems sooner. The fetal echo heart scan is performed by our in-house fetal cardiac specialist in Dwarka, Delhi.
Dr. (Maj) Harshita is a Consultant in an experienced radiologist and has undergone extensive training in the diagnosis of babies with heart problems before they are born

Why arrange a fetal echo scan?

  • Someone in the family was born with a heart defect:

    - Currently in the NHS routine detailed Fetal echoes are only offered if you, the baby’s father or another child you have had a heart problem in childhood and have required surgery or an interventional procedure.

  • Having diabetes can increase the risk of a heart problem in baby:

    - Currently in the NHS routine detailed Fetal echoes are only offered if your diabetes exists before you were pregnant and it was poorly controlled at the time of conception.

  • You take certain drugs that can increase the risk of heart problems.
  • Increased Nuchal translucency (NT). A heart defect is a possible cause of the increased NT.
  • Suspected problem identified during your routine 18 – 20 week scan.
  • High risk twin/multiple pregnancy.
  • IVF pregnancy..

What do we check for on an echocardiogram scan?

Although many structural problems can be seen during the routine anomaly ultrasound scan, some heart abnormalities cannot be picked up. The fetal echo heart scan is performed using ultrasound including pulse wave and colour Doppler techniques.

Our specialist will be able to see how the blood is flowing through your baby’s heart chambers, as well as the arteries and veins which carry blood towards and away from the heart around the body. The speed of blood flow can also be measured. This information allows the specialist to detect any narrowing of the arteries and see if any valve problems are present, such as not opening or shutting normally.

Dr Harshita Surange,
Director Diagnostic and imaging center,
Sec 7 Dwarka Delhi

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