What to Expect
Patients are typically evaluated as early as 18 weeks gestation and beyond, although sometimes sooner. Indications for fetal cardiology evaluation include suspected fetal heart disease, or a history that increases the risk of the fetus having a heart problem. There are many conditions associated with increased risk of heart disease; some of these include maternal diabetes, maternal lupus, family history of congenital heart disease and in vitro fertilization.
A dedicated Fetal Center nurse coordinator will contact the patient when the referral is received and the patient’s first visit will be scheduled and tailored to fit their specific needs. On the first visit, the patient will have a fetal echocardiogram performed by a fetal cardiac ultrasonographer supervised by a fetal cardiologist.
The fetal cardiologist and nurse coordinator will counsel the family regarding the findings. If heart disease is present, they will discuss the status of the fetus’ heart, go over potential interventions or treatments that may be needed pre or postnatally, and work with the maternal-fetal medicine specialist and/or the patient’s obstetrician to facilitate the best delivery plan for the infant with heart disease.
The scheduling team will then arrange further visits or tours for the patient as necessary.