Mary Donofrio, MD Director, Fetal Heart Program

Awards and Recognition:


Languages Spoken

  • English


Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pediatrics/Pediatric Cardiology

National Provider ID: 1386704633



Mary T. Donofrio, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics and full-time attending in the Division of Cardiology at Children's National Health System. She is Director of the Fetal Heart Program and Critical Care Delivery Program, Director of the Advanced Cardiac Imaging Fellowship, and Co-director of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Program. Under her leadership, the Fetal Heart Program treats each fetus as an individual patient, and specialized care begins before birth. With her vision, she expanded the program to include the Washington, DC, region’s only Early Fetal Cardiac Imaging Program, where we can detect heart abnormalities in high-risk pregnancies in the first trimester, as early as 12 weeks gestation.

Dr. Donofrio specializes in fetal diagnosis and in-utero management of congenital heart disease, first trimester fetal cardiac imaging, fetal echocardiography, pediatric transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography, delivery room management and transitional care for complex disease, complex congenital heart disease management, and neurodevelopmental outcome assessment of children with congenital heart disease. She also plays a leadership role in our echocardiography laboratory and serves as director of the Advanced Cardiac Imaging fellowship.

Dr. Donofrio joined the staff at Children’s National after spending nine years at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, directing the echocardiography laboratory. She completed her cardiology fellowship training at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and performed advanced training in fetal echocardiography at Yale University. Dr. Donofrio is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Society of Echocardiography. She is a member of the American Pediatric Society and the Society for Pediatric Research.

Her research has focused on autoregulation of cerebral blood flow in fetuses with congenital heart disease and the effects the circulation has on neurodevelopmental outcome in congenital heart disease patients. She also has developed care protocols for delivery room management of neonates diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease in-utero. She is a national expert in the areas of fetal cardiology, echocardiology, and pediatric cardiology. Dr. Donofrio is on several journal editorial boards, research committees, and has published over 60 papers and abstracts, including the first published Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Fetal Cardiac Disease.

Dr. Donofrio see patients at the Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children's Medicine and Children's Outpatient Centers. She also collaborates with Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists in the community seeing families with them in their local offices. 

Dr. Donofrio is married and has two children. She grew up in Delaware and currently resides in Northern Virginia. Her interests include theater and music. 

Education & Training

Education & Training

  • Fellowship Program, Pediatric Cardiology, 1995
    Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Residency Program, Pediatrics, 1992
    Cornell New York Hospital
  • Internship Program, Pediatrics, 1990
    Cornell New York Hospital
  • MD, 1989
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • BA, 1985
    Johns Hopkins University
Patient Stories

Patient Stories: Mary Donofrio

Children's National Health System

Dylan C.'s Story

"The heart team at Children's National was excellent. We felt like we were in the right place and our son was in the right hands. There is no substitute for this . . . none."

Labor Day 2012

Whisper's Story

"I hope if anything, you find the positive in your situation and believe in your child's doctors and team at Children's National. They have been there for us through so much and we couldn't have asked for a better experience than we had during this life-changing event."

Ryan M

Ryan's Story

Ryan was born with a rare condition -- his heart developed outside his body. Find out how Children's doctors worked together to help Ryan thrive.

conjoined twins

Tyson and Tyler's Story

Before they had even entered the world, Children's National doctors had hatched a plan to safely deliver and then separate conjoined twins Tyson and Tyler.

Patient story

Alexis's Story

"She likes to show off her scar and tell whoever listens that Children's National fixed her heart."


Brayden's Story

"The world of congenital heart defects is scary, but to know that there are people like those at Children's National to help guide you along the way is very comforting."

toilet paper

Camdyn's Story

"The nurses, techs, and doctors at Children's National were absolutely amazing. They were always professional, compassionate, and kind. Each person there touched us in ways that are unimaginable."

Patient story

Austin's Story

"People always tell me 'You're so strong, I don't know how you got through it.' I like to say that you never know how strong you are or what you are capable of until you have no choice but to be strong." 

Patient story

Sarah's Story

"I know how difficult it is, when you don't have all the answers, and are not getting much sleep in the hospital with your child. I want to assure you that the answers will come."

Children's National Health System

Janaya's Story

"The one thing that helps is to talk about what you are feeling, cry if you need to, always be involved in your child's care, and ask questions if you don't understand."

Patient story

Charlotte L's Story

"She received her first open heart surgery at nine days old. She was there for two months and during that whole emotional experience, every nurse and doctor that we came into contact with was always caring and understanding."



Donofrio M

Fetal Risk-Assessment Protocol Developed at Children’s National Predicts Complications from Congenital Heart Disease at Birth

Mary T. Donofrio, MD, Director of the Fetal Heart Program and Critical Care Delivery Program at Children’s National, has published the conclusions of an eight-year study determining the accuracy of a delivery room risk-assessment ranking protocol for babies diagnosed in utero with congenital heart disease (CHD), in the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. 

Prenatal Care

Children's National Experts Discuss Importance of Fetal Cardiology Subspecialty to Fetal Medicine

Earlier this year, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a scientific statement on the diagnosis and treatment of fetal cardiac disease written by a team of cardiac and obstetrical experts with lead author, Mary T. Donofrio, MD, Director of the Fetal Heart Program and Medical Director of the Critical Care Delivery Program for the Fetal Medicine Institute at Children’s National Health System.

Research & Publications

Research & Publications

ACCFAHAAAP Recommendations for Training in Pediatric Cardiology Task Force 2 Pediatric Training Guidelines for Noninvasive Cardiac Imaging

(2005) Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Autoregulation of Cerebral Blood Flow in Fetuses with Congenital Heart Disease The Brain Sparing Effect A Multicenter Study

(2003) Pediatric Cardiology

Complete Heart Block Fetal Management Protocol Review of the Literature and Report of the Smallest Successful Pacemaker Implantation

(2004) Journal of Perinatology

Diagnosis and Management of Restricted or Closed Foramen Ovale in Fetuses with Congenital Heart Disease

(2004) American Journal of Cardiology

Fetal and Neonatal Arrhythmias Association with Maternal Diabetes and Neonatal Macrosomia

(2008) Journal of Perinatology

Impact of Congenital Heart Disease and Surgical Intervention on Neurodevelopment

(2009) Hemodynamics and Cardiology: Neonatal Questions and Controversies

Innovations in Fetal Cardiology Medical and Catheter Intervention Therapy

(2005) Heart Views

Pediatric Academic Society

(2008) Aorta Size Predicts Cerebral Oxygenation in HLHS Neonates: Pediatric Academic Society

Spectrum of Fetal Echocardiographic Findings in Fetuses of Women with Clinical or Serological Evidence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

(2008) Journal of Maternal Fetal Medicine

The HeartBrain Interaction in the Fetus Cerebrovascular Blood Flow in the Developing Human

(0001) Progress in Pediatric Cardiology

View publications on PubMed

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Camdyn's Story

toilet paper

"The nurses, techs, and doctors at Children's National were absolutely amazing. They were always professional, compassionate, and kind. Each person there touched us in ways that are unimaginable."

Read More of Camdyn's Story