Sparsha Infertility Centre | Fetal Echo Cardiography

Fetal Eco Cardiography

Through our state-of-the-art equipment and the expert team of cardiologists, here at Sparsha, we provide the service of a prenatal diagnosis for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) which has been shown to have a significant impact on the management and outcomes.

A Fetal Echocardiography works in a similar manner to a traditional ultrasound and allows doctors to see and understand the structure and functioning of the fetus’s heart. This process is typically performed while in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy (around week 18-24).

Here, a sound wave is utilised to ‘echo’ off beats from the heart, post which a machine analyses the responses and helps create a visual representation of the heart’s interior. This sheds light on whether the same is functioning properly or not and also for important information about the same.
The flow of blood to and from the heart is also monitored and any abnormalities found, is checked for the flow or heartbeat.

Under what scenarios is fetal echocardiography used?

This process is only recommended if the patient’s OB-GYN felt that the previous test was inconclusive or an abnormal heartbeat might have been detected. For the majority of the scenarios and ultrasound should work just fine.
One might also need this test if:
  • The unborn child is open to a risk of heart problems or disorders
  • There is a genetic past of suffering from heart diseases
  • There has been a past incidence of your child having suffered from any heart conditions
  • there has been consumption of drugs, alcohol or any other such substance during the course of the pregnancy
  • Prescription drugs such as medication for epilepsy, acne etc has been consumed opening up possibilities of heart defects
  • The parents suffer from other medical symptoms such as rubella, diabetes of type 1, lupus etc
There might be certain OB-GYNs who perform this test, but ideally the same should be done by an experienced and practised ultrasound technician or an ultrasonographer. Once the test has been done, a cardiologist who has specialized knowledge of pediatric medications will check-up and review the results.

Is any preparation required for the procedure?

Unlike conventional prenatal ultrasounds, one does not require any preparation for this procedure (not even a full bladder). The time for the procedure can take from somewhere around 30 minutes to around 2 hours to perform to completion.

What occurs during the exam?

This is pretty similar to a routine checkup for a pregnancy ultrasound and can be done via 2 methods - First from the abdomen through something known as abdominal echocardiography, and second from the vagina known as transvaginal echocardiography.

What are the risks involved with this exam?

There are no known risks, as it depends on ultrasounds and on no form of radiation.

What do the results signify?

During follow up appointments with the doctor he discloses the findings from the test and if all is normal then that would mean that there are no cardiac abnormalities in the fetus.
Should there be an issue, such as structural defects, abnormalities in the rhythm or any other specific problems a high-level test or procedure would be suggested accordingly.
Resources or specialists for that case can also be reached out to and recommended for curing the unborn child’s conditions.
Echocardiography might also be required on more than one occasion, but it should be pointed out right from the get-go that very critical conditions, such as a hole in the heart might require much more advanced equipment since not everything can be checked up on via the echocardiography.
The doctors will explain as much as they can from the findings from the report.

Why is this test pertinent?

These results give much more clarity to the entire situation whether there are any risks to worry about or not. It also helps doctors plan if there are any safe keepings that would need to be pre-planned after the delivery of the child. It also opens doors to counselings and sound decisions.

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