Who needs a detailed fetal echocardiogram?
Some pregnant women are at increased risk of giving birth to a baby with congenital heart disease. They should be considered for referral for a specialized fetal echocardiogram. Indications include the following: • a family history of congenital heart disease — the risk if a previous child has congenital heart disease is about 1/50, and is about 1/10 to 1/20 if the parent has congenital heart disease • an abnormal fetal heart rhythm • fetal heart abnormalities detected during a routine pregnancy ultrasound scan • abnormality of another major organ system • insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes mellitus • exposure to some drugs in early pregnancy, for example, some anti-epileptic drugs can damage the developing heart • abnormal amniocentesis When can a fetal echocardiogram be performed? The heart motion can be seen from about six weeks of gestation. However, details of heart structure cannot be seen until • 14 weeks gestation using scanning through the vagina. • 18 weeks gestation using