Why the Doctor May Recommend Fetal Echocardiography
As mentioned before, fetal echo may be recommended when something shows up in the routine ultrasound. However, there are other cases when it is necessary:
- There is a family history of congenital heart defects, particularly when another child in the family has CHD, too.
- The mother is taking certain medication that increase the likelihood of the baby having a congenital anomaly.
- The mother has other health conditions, like diabetes, or acquired infections
- Substance abuse by the mother
- Other fetal screenings suggest a problem
- The baby is conceived using assisted reproductive technology
- The mother’s maternal age is advanced
Diagnosis After Childbirth
As mentioned earlier, about 30% of cases remain undiagnosed until after the baby is born.
After the baby’s birth, the doctor may suspect a congenital heart disease if they spot symptoms of a cardiac problem, particularly cyanosis or the bluish discoloration of the fingernails, skin, and lips. It is also a standard operating procedure to monitor the baby for other signs of heart problems.
Congenital heart defects can be detected while the baby is still in their mother’s womb. The most common procedure for diagnosis is fetal echocardiogram, which shows the view of the four chambers of the heart as well as the outflow tract.