About This Program

Overview

Our mission at the Fetal Cardiology Program is to provide expectant families with accurate information about their baby’s heart, and to guide mothers through their pregnancy with a caring and individualized approach. All of our fetal cardiologists have completed subspecialty training in fetal cardiology and cardiac imaging, and are board-certified pediatric cardiologists. Because of this, we are able to maintain continuity of care before and after birth. One of our strengths is that we serve multiple nurseries in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, and have working relationships with many of the obstetric and pediatric practices affiliated with local hospitals.

In some situations, providers in the Fetal Cardiology Program work closely with other departments within the Fetal Care Program to provide a multidisciplinary approach to care.

Expectant parents seeking evaluation may be referred for the following conditions:

  • Atrial septal defect
  • Atrioventricular canal defect
  • CHARGE syndrome
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • DiGeorge syndrome
  • Double inlet left ventricle
  • Double outlet right ventricle
  • Down syndrome (Trisomy 21)
  • Ebstein anomaly
  • Extracardiac abnormality
  • Family history of congenital heart disease
  • Fetal arrhythmias
  • Fetal cardiac tumors
  • Fetal chromosomal or genetic abnormality
  • Fetal hydrops or effusions
  • Fetal premature atrial contractions
  • Fetal premature ventricular contractions
  • Fetal supraventricular tachycardia
  • Heterotaxy syndrome
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Increased nuchal thickness
  • Maternal autoimmune disorder (for example Lupus or Sjogrens)
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Monochorionic twin gestation (identical twin pregnancy)
  • Noonan syndrome
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Pulmonary stenosis
  • Sacrococcygeal teratoma
  • Suspicion of congenital heart disease after an obstetric ultrasound
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Trisomy 13
  • Trisomy 18
  • Truncus arteriosus
  • Turner syndrome
  • Ventricular septal defect

About This Program

An evaluation in the Fetal Cardiology Program typically involves a fetal echocardiogram followed by a consultation with a fetal cardiology expert. A fetal echocardiogram is an ultrasound imaging study that specifically evaluates the baby’s heart. Depending on the reason for referral and the baby’s condition, the total visit time may vary from 30 minutes to over 1 hour.

The imaging process may begin with a sonographer (someone trained to take ultrasound images), followed by the fetal cardiologist. In some cases the cardiologist will perform the fetal echocardiogram without a sonographer. We use cardiac ultrasound equipment, which is similar technology as the ultrasound machines used during fetal obstetric imaging. We look at the heart in black and white (two dimensional imaging), and also use color Doppler imaging which evaluates blood flow through the heart.

Following the examination, you will meet with the cardiologist to discuss the results of the echocardiogram. After the appointment, the cardiologist writes a formal fetal echocardiogram report and a consultation note to outline what was found and discussed. This information is sent to the doctor that referred you.

You may access some of your medical records and communicate with your doctors in a secure environment through Patient Gateway.