What patients and families need to know
Cardiac First Trimester Imaging
The Fetal Heart 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
Our heart care begins before babies are even born, in our dedicated Prenatal Cardiology Program, where we diagnose and even treat prenatal heart conditions.
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