Fetal Cardiology

Diagnosing heart problems before birth helps ensure your baby gets the most effective treatment early. When there’s concern of a congenital heart defect (a condition diagnosed at or before birth) or heart rhythm abnormality, the fetal cardiology program at Fetal Care Center Dallas supports the baby’s heart health and provides the parents peace of mind as they prepare for the baby’s arrival.

Fetal Cardiology at Fetal Care Center Dallas offers:

  • Expert evaluation and diagnosis of fetal heart abnormalities using advanced and specialized ultrasound imaging of the heart
  • A detailed explanation of your baby’s diagnosis and treatment options
  • Personalized delivery planning with access to our comprehensive services and resources available through Medical City Healthcare
  • The skill and expertise of physicians and staff who are knowledgeable and widely experienced in all types of congenital heart conditions and arrhythmias

Heartfelt Care for Mom and Baby

If a heart defect is detected during pregnancy, you will have a team of experienced maternal, perinatal and neonatal physicians by your side every step of the way to provide compassionate and comprehensive fetal cardiac care for you and your baby. Our multispecialty practice of physicians perform evaluations for suspected cardiac anomalies or high-risk pregnancies. Conditions we treat include:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Abnormal fetal heart rhythms
  • Cardiac function abnormalities or conditions resulting in heart failure

What Is a Fetal Echocardiogram?

A fetal echocardiogram (or “echo”) is a more sophisticated version of the ultrasound you normally get during pregnancy. This procedure provides detailed images of your baby’s heart while in utero.

Fetal echos allow physicians to see the structure of your baby’s heart, as well as how well his or her heart is functioning. During the procedure, images of your baby’s heart chambers, valves and blood vessels are taken. The blood flow throughout the heart and blood vessels is also assessed.

Your obstetrician may recommend a fetal echo if he or she suspects there’s a problem with your baby’s heart, or if there is a family history of congenital heart defects. Fetal echocardiograms may be considered in the following circumstances:

  • Abnormal general fetal ultrasound suggesting heart disease, or abnormal heart observed during a routine OB exam
  • Family history of single gene disorders or congenital heart disease
  • Extracardiac defects (Birth defects seen in other areas of your baby)
  • Known or suspected genetic abnormality
  • Exposure to certain medicines or chemicals during pregnancy
  • Maternal disease, such as diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), and collagen, vascular and autoimmune disease
  • IVF pregnancy
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
  • Certain infections during pregnancy like rubella (German measles)
  • Fetal hydrops
  • Increased first trimester Nuchal translucency

The Fetal Care Center Dallas Difference

We bring together decades of expertise in pediatric cardiology, pediatric cardiac intensive care and pediatric congenital heart surgery, achieving outstanding surgical outcomes for patients that surpass national standards. It is a comprehensive program dedicated to the care of congenital heart defects.

What You Can Expect with Our Fetal Cardiology Program

If a heart defect is found, you and your physician specialist will discuss the diagnosis and its implications for your pregnancy and delivery. Together, along with your primary care physician, we will determine an appropriate treatment plan for your baby.

We may advise that you undergo genetic testing if you have a family history of congenital heart disease, or your baby is identified as having a genetic or chromosomal abnormality.

You may be scheduled for ongoing fetal stress tests and more frequent appointments with your obstetrician and other members of our fetal cardiology program as you get closer to your delivery date.

You may be prescribed safe medications to take during your pregnancy to aid in the treatment of the condition.

During your pregnancy, you may meet with an anesthesiologist, nurses and/or a social worker, as well as other specialists, if and when you need them. We coordinate your care to help ensure the multiple specialists you see have timely and consistent access to your test results and images.

At the Heart of Breakthrough Research

Our maternal, perinatal and neonatal experts never miss a beat when it comes to improving patient outcomes and advancing the science of fetal cardiology. Our research includes common and complex fetal cardiac issues as well as other medical concerns that impact the fetal cardiovascular system. Through our research efforts, we are gaining insight into the causes of fetal cardiac conditions and developing treatment strategies that take the most precious of hearts to heart.