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Cardiac First Trimester Imaging

The Prenatal Cardiology Program at Children’s National Hospital offers innovative and state-of-the-art care. With advancing technologies, imaging of the fetus has improved substantially in the past 5 years. With new ultrasound equipment that has very high resolution and techniques such as transvaginal ultrasound, the heart may be imaged as early as 11-12 weeks gestation. The pictures that can be obtained are limited, but in most cases it is anticipated that major heart abnormalities will be identified. This service is used as an adjunct to the standard fetal echocardiogram that is done at 18-20 weeks, though seeing the heart at this early stage may be extremely helpful to select families with an understanding that the diagnosis will need to be confirmed later in the pregnancy.

  • Indications for first trimester fetal echo
  • Increased nuchal translucency noted in the first trimester
  • Significant family history of CHD particularly complex heart disease in a previous child
  • Maternal lupus, particularly if a previous child developed complete heart block
Children's Team

Children's Team


 Mary Donofrio

Mary Donofrio

Medical Director, Prenatal Cardiology Program
Co-Director, Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Program
Advanced Imaging Cardiologist


Prenatal Cardiology Program

Children diagnosed with heart conditions before they are born receive comprehensive, expert care from our fetal cardiology specialists. Learn more about our Prenatal Cardiology Program.