Considering the birth prevalence of congenital heart disease (9/1000 live births) and the total number growing more than 200,000 per year, knowing more about congenital heart disease is of utmost importance.
Fetal Echocardiogram is one such modernized diagnostic test performed to detect congenital heart disease.
- A small probe or a transducer is placed on the mother’s abdomen
- Ultrasonic waves from the probe go to the child’s heart reflecting proper images
- Takes around 40 to 90 min depending on the position of the fetus
- Focused only on heart anomalies
- Performed by a sonologist
- Studied by an electrophysiologist
- Congenital heart disease can be detected even before birth so that proper action can be taken to manage it.
Who should receive the scan?
Only the females whose routine ultrasound shows a deviation are guided to take the scans.
- Deviated routine scans with a structural anomaly.
- Deviated routine scans with possible arrhythmia.
- History of congenital heart disease in the family.
- Twin conception.
- If any chromosomal abnormality is detected.
- Additional fluid around fetal organs.
- Deviated routine scans with Multiple organ involvement.
- If a mother is on certain drugs like anti-epileptic, anti-depressant, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory (i.e. ibuprofen, indomethacin) or for acne.
- Alcohol or other ecstasy drug consumption by mother during pregnancy.
- Gestational Diabetes in Mother.
- Rubella in Mother.
- Other diseases like systemic lupus erythrometosis, etc.
The best Time for a Fetal Echocardiogram is Second Trimester – 18 to 24 weeks.
A sequence of events:
- Once the anomaly is detected in routine scans you are referred to a pediatric cardiologist
- Fetal echocardiogram study then takes place with the help of an electrophysiologist
- The type of defect and the step by step necessary care plan is framed and explained to the parents
- Further, consult with
- Fetal care coordinator,
- Genetic counselor, cardiac surgeon or
- An interventional cardiologist may have to be queued
The bigger question…Why the scans?
Mutations in the human body cannot be controlled, what can be controlled is that once the infant is in this world with a mutation, she can survive and be healthy again. That she can lead a normal routine life like other little ones. Timely detection provides a chance to ensure proper management and care.
Let’s give them this chance…
Dr. Hemant Madan (Prof), Director & Senior Consultant Cardiology – Adult, Cardiology – Paediatric, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi and Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram