Fetal echocardiography is a detailed ultrasound examination of the fetal heart performed by specialist sonographers and in consultation with a paediatric cardiologist when needed. We use 2D images to examine the chambers and blood vessels of the heart; Doppler to check the valves; colour Doppler to examine the blood flow in the heart and blood vessels; 3D imaging to reconstruct multiple planes; and 4D imaging or cine looping to examine cardiac motion & function.
Heart abnormalities affect 1:100 babies. The vast majority of cardiac abnormalities (75%) can be detected at 20-22 weeks by sonographers trained in fetal cardiac scanning. We offer this scan as part of the routine 20-22 week scan, but especially recommend this scan for women with:
- a family history of heart abnormalities,
- previous baby affected by a heart abnormality,
- where increased nuchal translucency had been found at the 11-14 week scan.
- Maternal diabetes
- Fetal arrhythmia (abnormal cardiac rhythm)
- Maternal lupus
- A fetus with noncardiac abnormalities
- A fetus with a chromosomal abnormality