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Prenatal Heart Care Lets Kids Reach for the Stars

 Mary Donofrio

Mary Donofrio, M.D., an international expert in prenatal cardiology, focuses on detecting heart conditions in babies before they are born. She’s been at it since 1995. Early detection can lead to early diagnosis and treatment and prevent a child from developing a congenital heart disease. “I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says, referring to her job as medical director of the Prenatal Cardiology Program at Children’s National Hospital.

Patient families are grateful. “Dr. Donofrio is an extraordinary doctor. She was really there for us through all the bumps that happen when your child is very, very sick. She has a lot of experience and knew what my son was going to go through even before it happened” says one mom, a doctor herself.

“Kids are amazing human beings,” says Dr. Donofrio. “I love impacting a child from before birth, changing their life and watching them grow.” She successfully leads teams of cardiologists, intensivists, obstetricians, neonatologists and other specialists to care for children with special hearts at birth.

In 2014, Dr. Donofrio authored the first set of clinical guidelines for the evolving specialty of prenatal cardiology. She travels the world teaching these protocols to other professionals where children and families can benefit from her expertise and receive world-class care.

She says, “We want all of our kids to reach their full potential and be stars ― healthy and thriving in every way.”