Story by: Norton Children’s on May 8, 2023
Our team of pediatric cardiologists who specialize in fetal heart abnormalities are ready to care for you and your baby, from before their birth into adulthood.
A specialized ultrasound, known as a fetal echocardiogram, can detect a myriad of fetal heart abnormalities well before your baby is born. This type of scan is available at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.
A fetal heart condition may be detected as early as a 20-week anatomy scan. If a fetal heart abnormality is suspected during a routine ultrasound, a fetal echocardiogram will be scheduled with a specialist. Other reasons you may be scheduled for a fetal echocardiogram include: abnormalities in your baby’s heart rate or rhythm, family history of congenital heart disease, genetic diagnosis, or other abnormalities on ultrasound.
Nearly 1 in 100 children is born with a heart defect. The fetal echocardiogram is used to detect those heart defects that may change your baby’s delivery plan, require surgery, or require follow up with an outpatient cardiologist. The sooner a fetal heart abnormality is detected, the better the outcome for your baby’s health and the more time to help you “Meet the Team” and plan for your baby’s arrival.
“The discovery of a congenital heart condition may sound scary, but it does not always mean it is life-threatening,” said Allison K. Black, M.D., fetal cardiologist/pediatric cardiologist with Norton Children’s Heart Institute. “Detecting your baby’s condition early allows our team to begin developing a care plan immediately, to monitor your baby’s health in utero, and to have a team of specialists ready to follow a specialized birth plan as soon as your baby is born.”
Our specialists are prepared to treat a full range of congenital heart defects and abnormalities, including:
Adult congenital heart disease
Aortic valve disease
Atrial septal defect
Atrioventricular canal defect
Coarctation of the aorta
Complex single ventricle anomalies
Congenital heart disease
Double-outlet right ventricle
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
Interrupted aortic arch
Patent ductus arteriosus
Patent foramen ovale
Tetralogy of Fallot
Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR)
Transposition of the great arteries
Ventricular septal defect