Fetal Echocardiography

Indications for fetal echocardiography:

At 11-14 weeks

  • Nuchal translucency ≥ 3.5 mm
  • Suspected cardiac abnormality during ultrasound examination
  • Previous history of a child / children with severe cardiac damage (eg large vessel translocation, hypoplastic left heart syndrome)
  • All women at risk ≥ 1: 300 (at 12 weeks) without further prenatal control (eg CVS)

At 20-24 weeks

  • Suspected cardiac abnormality during ultrasound examination
  • Increased nuchal translucency (over 95th position) or tricuspid valve reflux at 11-13 weeks
  • Reverse flow into the ductus venosus at 11-13 weeks
  • Fetal hydrops
  • Monochorionic twin pregnancies
  • Family history (mother, father, child / fetus) with congenital heart disease
  • Genetic anomaly history
  • Congenital infections
  • Exposure to known teratogenic substances during pregnancy
  • Insulin-dependent diabetic mother
  • Epileptic mother in anti-epileptic treatment
  • Anti-Ro, anti-La antibodies (collagen diseases)

Early diagnosis and detection of pregnant women with high risk for congenital heart disease is an important advance in the field of prenatal diagnosis.

Congenital heart disease is present at about 8-9 among 1,000 births. It is still one of the most serious abnormalities in the fetus and therefore their prenatal identification makes it possible to have better counseling for the couple and significantly improves the perinatal outcome.

Which are the most common congenital heart diseases?

  • Ventricular septal defects (3.5 in 1000 births)
  • Atrial septal Defects
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis
  • Stenosis of the aorta
  • Aortic valve stenosis
  • Fallot’s Tetralogy
  • Great Arteries translocation
  • Ebstein anomaly
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Common arterial trunk
  • Congenital tumors of the heart
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Arrhythmias
  • Double right ventricular outflow (0.15 to 1,000 births)

What are the risk factors for maternal and fetal congenital heart diseases?

Maternal risk factors

  • Family history of congenital heart disease
  • Metabolic disorders (eg diabetes)
  • Exposure to teratogenic substances
  • IVF
  • Obesity

Fetal status factors

  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Extracardial structural abnormalities (10-20%)
  • Fetal cardiac arrhythmia (1%)
  • Cardiac abnormality suspected of routine ultrasound scan (50%)
  • Increased nuchal translucency (> 3.5mm)
  • Monochorionic twins
Our Centre collaborates with a specialized cardiologist for referral, further counseling and evaluation of incidents.

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